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‘Men with painted eyes’ cap glittering week

Mar 15th, 2012 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

SPARKLING EYES: Germaine Greer reacts with surpise after being glitter bombed this week. Photos: Alastair Reith

AFTER glitter-bombing Germaine Greer yesterday, transwomen today capped a week in the spotlight with a media conference in Wellington.

Three of the “men with painted eyes”, as Greer called them on Monday, today talked about their life experiences, and the difficulties they faced moving between genders.

Feminist writer Greer was ‘glitter bombed’ by queer activists during a book signing in Wellington’s Embassy Theatre on Wednesday.

The group responsible calls itself the Queer Avengers, and in a statement on their website they accuse Greer of promoting discrimination against transwomen.

A key figure in the feminist movements of the late 20th century, she became famous across the world after writing international best-seller ‘The Female Eunuch’ in 1970.

Greer is visiting Wellington as part of the New Zealand International Arts Festival’s Writers and Readers Week.

She spoke at the Town Hall on Monday night, addressing a range of topics from her criticisms of the modern tertiary education system to race relations in Australia.

After the event, Ms Greer defended her long-held position on the transgendered, arguing that as a woman she has no obligation to accept the use of that term to describe “men with painted eyes”.

“Why should I accept that person as a woman, when they know nothing about what it’s like,” she said.

Ms Greer went on to argue that if a white New Zealander claimed they were Maori, this would be rejected by the Maori community however strongly the Pakeha in question believed it to be true, and that she felt the same approach should be taken towards transwomen.

“If they want to paint their eyes, grow their hair long and wear pretty dresses, they can do that already,” she said.

The Queer Avengers are unimpressed.

“Transphobic feminism is so 20th century,” said spokesperson Stacey Nylund.

“It wasn’t okay then and it’s not okay now. Women’s liberation must mean the right to refuse imposed gender roles, to fight for diverse gender expression.”

Similar sentiments were expressed by queer activist Ian Andersen.

“In the 1970s a lot of women’s lib groups openly excluded queer and trans women, but as transwomen have gotten increasingly organised, that has become untenable. What’s amazing about Greer is that she still insists on not recognising transwomen.”

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is a Whitireia journalism student.
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3 comments
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  1. Yo Germaine, actually plenty of Pakeha identify with Maori culture and are accepted as “Maori” in principle by Maori, Because Maori know that to be Maori extends far beyond the colour of your skin or your genetics, it is the heart, mind and soul, the connection to this land and the caretaker role of it and whanau that makes up what being Maori is.
    But well done on showing your uneducated and slightly racist view on that one.

    Of course there will be Maori that disagree with the above statement and those that do agree.
    This is the beauty of humanity, the soul knows no outer shell, for you see with the cellular structure of Earth being finite, we were all something else at some stage many many times (scientific fact). This is our current structure but we have all been in each others shoes at one stage or another, so yes souls should seek recognition for equality.

  2. ““Why should I accept that person as a woman, when they know nothing about what it’s like,” she said.”

    Oh, the irony it burns. Some of us remember when Greer was routinely being told she knew nothing about what it was like to be a “real” woman because she’d never married, had children and (last time she was in New Zealand) was a vocal supporter of abortion rights. Now, it takes a viable uterus to be a real woman?

  3. Wow, this woman is really racist. She seems to have no understanding of Maori culture. Also, she just sounds mean. People who are trapped in the wrong body must go through hell – why make it harder for them?

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