Arts and Entertainment

Madeleine St John, who died in 2006, was best known for her debut novel, The Women in Black (1993), and the Booker shortlisted The Essence of the Thing (1997).

Time to stop hating Barbie

TOMORROW IS Barbie's 40th birthday. You probably don't want to know that and, frankly, I wasn't all that thrilled when the Barbie News Desk at Mattel Toys rang me last autumn to prepare me for the big day. Since then there have been at least 10 calls and even an invitation to New York to attend the Barbie Women of Achievement Birthday Ball. Sadly, I had to miss that event, which I'm sure was very pink. But none of this explains why I am writing about Barbie today. I am doing this because when I mentioned the Barbie birthday hard-sell to people, their reactions were so fierce that you would think I was talking about something serious.

Letter: No male feminists

No male feminists

Books: Be brave, be different, be a woman

The Whole Woman by Germaine Greer Doubleday pounds 16.99

A tribute to the resilience of popular taste

The best news usually comes in the smallest typefaces. So one had to peer at the papers hard last week to learn that the Italian director Roberto Benigni's sharp comedy about the Holocaust, Life is Beautiful, was the most profitable film in America last year (the most profitable, note - not the highest earning, a crude yardstick that measures little more than marketing musclepower). Life is Beautiful was nowhere near king of the world in the gross sense - Titanic took a bloated $1.83bn. But according to the figures in Variety magazine Benigni's sweet slice of life-and-death raked in $140m at the box office, representing a handsome 15-fold return on its original pounds 9m budget.

Books: Courage to go with the flow of a novel kind: The Whole Woman by Germaine Greer Doubleday, pounds 16.99, 352pp

Melissa Benn finds that the eternal feminist has cut loose from despair and set sail for Utopia

Letter: Feminist shunned

Feminist shunned

You Ask The Questions: So, Germaine, since animals now have rights, how about men?

Germaine Greer's new book, The Whole Woman, which claims women have settled for a fake equality instead of true liberation, is published next week by Doubleday. Nearly 30 years after she wrote The Female Eunuch, she has been driven to write another feminist polemic by the complacency of a younger generation of women. We asked readers to submit their questions for Dr Greer.

Oh dear, Germaine

Natasha Walter, who has angered Dr Greer, responds to the veteran feminist's sad new book

Nerds love literature too, it seems

Anyone with the right equipment will tomorrow be able to read, on the BBC's website, the result of its month-long poll to identify the "greatest writer" of the millennium. For those with the wrong equipment - well, here is the news.

A woman behaving badly

When she was a lecturer, her dress style made Denise Van Outen look like a Puritan maid

Germaine smacks her sisters

THE MOTHER OF FEMINISM IS BACK AND THIS TIME IT'S PERSONAL

A Week in Books: Stop the capital depreciation

London's fictional fabric has fallen into disrepair

The sexiness of ideas

Suddenly people are queuing to see scientists, philosophers, writers. What's afoot?

Leading Article: Feminism is still a cause to fight for

GERMAINE GREER has got her bus pass. She turned 60 yesterday, which gives pause for thought to those for whom it was heaven to be young in the dawn of the sexual revolution. Time for yet another appraisal of what feminism has achieved, and whether there is still a battle to be fought? Hardly. It should be universally accepted that the women's movement has achieved a great deal: that young women today owe many of their freedoms and opportunities to the courage and spirit of Professor Greer and her contemporaries.

Historical Notes: From personal tragedy to new ways of living and old

MOTHERHOOD IS a theme that has, unsurprisingly, been tackled by some of the great feminists of the post- Enlightenment era. Several of these writers, such as Simone de Beauvoir and Germaine Greer, have written about the topic without being mothers themselves. This has lent their arguments an appealing sweep and didacticism but it has also placed more emphasis on rationality and free will than many mothers feel themselves to possess in real life.
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