Comic says crit­i­cism of Greer for com­ments is ‘dis­re­spect­ful’

Western Daily Press - - Cheltenham Literature Festival -

CO­ME­DIAN Jo Brand has de­fended con­tro­ver­sial writer Ger­maine Greer, de­scrib­ing her as “vir­tu­ally the mother of mod­ern fem­i­nism”.

Greer has been crit­i­cised re­cently for her con­tentious com­ments about rape.

Ear­lier this year, the au­thor of The Fe­male Eunuch equated rape to “bad sex” and then last month sparked out­rage by com­par­ing the trauma felt by vic­tims to her fear of spi­ders.

Brand, who was speak­ing at the Chel­tenham Lit­er­a­ture Fes­ti­val, said it was “dis­re­spect­ful” to the work Greer had done to fur­ther the cause of fem­i­nism for her to be crit­i­cised in the way she had.

The comic said types of fem­i­nism var­ied from one ex­treme to the other.

At one end of the spec­trum there is “your rad­i­cal, left wing, man-hat­ing les­bian fem­i­nist who wear dun­ga­rees and Doc Martens” and at the other “your busi­ness-suited, im­pec- ca­bly made-up, big-heeled fem­i­nist”, she said.

“I think there is a lot of fight­ing within fem­i­nism and fem­i­nists be­ing nasty to each other de­pend­ing on which camp they are in,” Brand said.

“I would rather it was a broad

church and I think we should be able to be adults and be able to in­cor­po­rate ev­ery­one in.

“I know some of the things Ger­maine Greer has done are slightly bonkers and off the wall, but the fact is Ger­maine Greer is vir­tu­ally the mother of mod­ern fem­i­nism.

“I think it is kind of dis­re­spect­ful and a phas­ing out of his­tory to treat her in the way they do.

“I un­der­stand why peo­ple feel the way they do be­cause she has said some quite out­ra­geous things, but to me we have to get around that and talk to her about it, not just shift her out the way and say she is not al­lowed to speak at any univer­sity. That’s pa­thetic to me, re­ally.”

Brand said she thought so­ci­ety had be­come nas­tier in re­cent years – and blamed re­al­ity TV shows.

She said: “I think younger peo­ple are nasty to each other and I think a lot of it is un­der the cover of ano- nymity. So you can be as nasty to some­one as you like, and I also think it is led by that sort of be­hav­iour be­ing dis­played on re­al­ity shows, for ex­am­ple, and peo­ple al­most mod­el­ling it.

“On Big Brother, for ex­am­ple, ev­ery­one knows it makes bet­ter telly to be nasty than it does to make ev­ery­one a cup of tea and say a poem to them. I just think it has sort of been made ac­cept­able in a way to be nasty.”

Last year, Brand won ap­plause for her understated re­buk­ing of an all­male panel dur­ing an episode of Have I Got News for You af­ter they seem­ingly did not take al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual ha­rass­ment se­ri­ously.

Asked why she said what she did, the comic replied: “I don’t re­ally know why I did it like that.

“Maybe I thought I’d get the point across bet­ter if I didn’t shout it at them.”

Co­me­dian Jo Brand

Pic­ture: Si­mon Ager

Gra­ham Nor­ton at Chel­tenham Lit­er­a­ture Fes­ti­val

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