Germaine Greer: children “are owned like pets”

Australian-born British-resident public intellectual and retired academic Germaine Greer yesterday made a comment that may be seen as of benefit to intersex people during her address to the Festival of Dangerous Ideas in Sydney.

Germaine Greer speaks at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas, Sydney, October 4 2009.

Children are “the least free of all, and are owned like pets or slaves. They can be mutilated with impunity,” she said.

In our view, she is right. Intersex children are indeed mutilated with impunity all over the world and not just in Australia. So are female children who are not also intersex. We demand that all mutilation of children cease immediately.

Speaking under the banner that freedom is the most dangerous idea of all, Dr Greer said children are the least free of all, and are owned like pets or slaves. “They can be mutilated with impunity,” she said. “No baby asks to be circumcised, or baptised for that matter.”

“Parents do, as governments do, they invoke an outside threat to justify their own draconian control,” she said. “We don’t recognise protest in children… against the conditions in which they are being raised, against a culture that is deeply hostile to children and frightened of them. Now in case that sounds like one of my madder and more exaggerated sayings, just think about it.”

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