Comic says criticism of Greer for comments is ‘disrespectful’
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
Graham Norton at Cheltenham Literature Festival