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

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: Be brave, be different, be a woman

The Whole Woman by Germaine Greer Doubleday pounds 16.99

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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Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month