25 November, 2005
The Beautiful Boy (2003) - Germaine Greer [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Germaine Greer (born January 29, 1939) is an Australian academic, writer, and broadcaster, who is widely regarded as one of the most significant feminist voices of the 20th century. A professor of English literature at the University of Warwick in England, and the author of several highly acclaimed books, Greer's ground-breaking The Female Eunuch became an international bestseller when it was published in 1970, turning Greer overnight into a household name, and bringing her both adulation and criticism. Her ideas have created controversy ever since.
--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germaine_Greer [Apr 2005]
Greer has made a career of the controversial polemic, most explosively in the 1970s with The Female Eunuch, brazenly arguing for women 's sexual liberation. Decades later, the Australian-born sensualist seeks to redress another wrong: heterosexual women's insensitivity to the boy as sexual object. Considering the utter fetishization of contemporary youth culture, it's difficult to sustain the argument that nubile lads are being neglected. But the present day isn't the volume's strength; the most modern icons include Elvis, Boy George, Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison and Robert Plant-nary a boy band member.
The more compelling passages investigate shifting representations in classical art-Cupid first depicted as sly aggressor, seducing his own mother, only to be desexualized in the more restrictive 19th century, conveniently cloaked by a drape or angel wing.
Except for a final chapter that glosses over the works of female artists, Greer hardly plunges into her initial aim "to advance women's reclamation of their capacity for and right to visual pleasure."
What does it mean for women to sexualize dewy, girlish boys created by male artists? To swoon over Caravaggio's provocative urchins, Michelangelo's languorous Dying Slave or Eakins's supple-skinned bathers? It's not clear, but then nuance has never really interested Greer.
Short on argument but long on lush reproductions of languid young men, the collection is better viewed than read. 200 color and b/w photographs and illustrations.