Germaine Greer Wants YOUR Teddy!

Well, she doesn’t want it for herself; she simply wants to take it away from your child.
Germaine Greer, Angry Teddy Bear Hater
As she explains in her article in yesterday’s Guardian (titled Cuddly toys are ugly monstrosities – and it’s time we stopped our kids from fetishising them, I kid you not) she grew up without teddies, and just look how she turned out! Why, her interpersonal socialization skills are legendary.

Children haven’t always screamed themselves into conniptions if Teddy or Bunny or Cuddles got left behind. Nowadays, cutesy effigies of animals are apt to turn up almost anywhere; they gaze soulfully from car dashboards, loll in heaps on undergraduate beds, peep out of rucksacks and grace restaurant tables. Teddies and bunnies are taken into exams and sat on the desks, as if to be without them for three hours would induce hysteria and fainting spells. Soft toys are left along with the flowers at the scenes of fatalities. Wherever they are, they are truly hideous, beyond kitsch. By making our children fall in love with such ugliness, we are preparing them for a life without taste…

How to respond…and yes, she’s obviously hoping for a response; for someone so famously elitist, she is startlingly dependent on the masses, otherwise she’d have published that screed at Blogspot, not in the Guardian, or just done what most other people of such inclinations do: xerox a hundred copies at the drop-in centre and hand them out at intersections.

Manni Teddy by Gund

Well, I have puzzled and puzzed till my puzzler was sore, and I think I have come up with the proper response. My first, contrarian impulse was to suggest we pummel the bitter old weasel with an avalanche of sock monkeys and teddys whenever she appears in public.

My second, better suggestion is this: that, to save future generations from turning out the way Germaine Greer has, that we toddle ourselves off to the local toystore (or craft store, if you’re crafty) and purchase/make a stuffed toy, which we donate to a local children’s charity.

eg:

Any Children’s Hospital

Project NightNight

Artists Helping Children

Additional suggestions in the comments, plzthxkbai.

26 Responses to “Germaine Greer Wants YOUR Teddy!”

  1. judy August 28, 2007 at 10:10 am #

    Wow. I read the whole article, and i must say that Greer’s reliance on anecdotal evidence is remarkably unconvincing. She throws a little meaningless linguistic history in there, but her parting shot is about some guy on Big Brother, a television program not known for choosing the best and the brightest society has to offer.

    Her entire argument rests on a maladjusted, antisocial freak displaying himself on a reality TV show. Oh yeah, definitely cogent; i’m sold.

  2. archiearchive August 28, 2007 at 11:51 am #

    I have always horrified parents and puzzled young children by punching all soft toys on the nose! It is a great stress relief and helps me over my ewokphobia.

    Young children usually become quite interested in the nose-punching exersize and often join in. Very few parents invite me back. I am convinced that it is parents who need soft toys, not children.

  3. Nabushi August 28, 2007 at 12:23 pm #

    Honestly, out of all the horrible things out there that can hurt our children, now we’re expected to get all up in arms over stuffed animals? I don’t think so.

    Besides, when a child leaves a stuffed animal behind and it is Lost Forever, it is a Very Valuable Lesson.

    So obvious, but it must be said …

    Ms. Greer can stuff it.

  4. Twistie August 28, 2007 at 12:37 pm #

    Germaine Greer can have my beloved stuffed badger, Diggy, when she pries him from my cold, dead fingers.

    When my brother was in graduate school, he had a little plastic figure of a character from a series of comic books he loved. He began taking the figure into exams with him for luck. He did well. Soon others were borrowing Obelix for exam days…and why not? He got in no one’s way and gave students a boost of confidence.

    The history of humanity is littered with fetishistic items, and will be until we are not even a memory in the universe. It’s human nature to develop a fascination and deep connection to certain items. To give up the teddy bear is to give up a small slice of our humanity.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a stuffed badger to cuddle, and a couple other small stuffed critters to deliver to children who will love them.

    So there.

  5. J August 28, 2007 at 1:00 pm #

    She’s insane. And she can’t have my smokey the bear either…not even from my cold, dead fingers.

  6. Frontier Former Editor August 28, 2007 at 1:15 pm #

    Even better idea – pose and photograph a stuffed toy in her infamous folded position and send her several thousand (or million) e-mails of it.

  7. Jennifer in GA August 28, 2007 at 1:17 pm #

    *blows a giant raspberry in Ms. Greer’s general direction*

    I have two girls who have never had strong attachments with any of their stuffed toys. They like to play with them, yes, but never had to have certain one with them at all times.

    Two years ago, the three of us were in a serious car accident. I was hurt a lot worse than they were. In the ambulance, one of the EMTs gave them each a stuffed animal to hold onto. It provided them an enormous amount of comfort in a very scary time.

    In my opinion, Ms. Greer doesn’t know what she’s talking about. ;)

  8. Cat August 28, 2007 at 2:47 pm #

    This woman is clearly insane. When my brothers and I were growing up, my parents could not afford to buy us a lot of fancy, expensive toys. We didn’t have Big Wheels, Sit-n-Spins, Slip-n-Slides, or any of that sort of thing. We had to make do with not-very-pricey stuffed animals for the most part, some of which were even homemade. This forced us to be very creative in the way we played. We invented an entire play world and named it “Animal Kingdom.” Each stuffed animal had a name and its own distinct personality. We held annual elections for “King,” with an actual ballot box and paper ballots. One stuffed animal, one vote! (Although my older brother, being a bit wiser and more worldly, often took to stuffing the ballot box in favor of his Snoopy doll.) We held “animal church services” on Sundays. We held “school” for the “children,” with a small chalkboard and real “homework” assignments. In short, we had to use our heads and our creative instincts in order to entertain ourselves.

    You can’t get *that* from a Slip-n-Slide, my friends.

  9. The Charlotte Allen August 28, 2007 at 3:42 pm #

    Germaine Greer doesn’t even know her linguistic history very well–surprising for someone who claims to have a Ph.D. in English. Maybe the word “doll” didn’t exist until the 18th century–but that’s because there were other words that meant the same thing. In 14th-century England, the word for “little doll” was “popelote” (see Chaucer’s “Miller’s Tale”), a cognate of our modern word “puppet.” The word “popelot” derived from the Latin word for doll, “pupa”–sorry, Germaine, children in ancient Rome played with dolls, too! So did little ancient Egyptians, as this web article about children in ancient Egypt (based on the archaeological evidence found in tombs) tells us:

    “The kids had plenty of toys to play with, also. Rich kids, of course, had more types of toys and perhaps more time to play with them. Ragdolls, various kinds of balls of wood or leather, throwing sticks and painted wooden dolls with moveable arms and legs are some of the toys ancient Egyptian kids enjoyed.”

    Ragdolls. Sounds sort of like stuffed animals to me.

    Germaine Greer is an embittered old-school radical feminist whose 15 minutes of fame came and went nearly 40 years ago with the publication of her book “The Female Eunuch,” a condemnation of women who actually want to to get married and have children instead of joining politically correct feminist communes as Greer would like. “Baby Haters” is a great place to file Greer’s latest screed.

  10. raincoaster August 28, 2007 at 4:07 pm #

    Greer is not insane, she’s just malevolent. I do love the “Baby Haters” tag, which was the Manolo’s doing. Hopefully we won’t have too many entries.

    Archie, you are a twisted sod, but we love you for it. Keep your hands off my Polly dolly, damn you!

    My mother worked at Children’s Hospital in Vancouver for many years, and the importance of stuffed animals in such an environment cannot be overrated. Those kids have so few sources of comfort, particularly when they are without their parents for so much of the time, that it is cruel and bizarre to deny them this.

    Like I said, Greer grew up without stuffed toys, and just look how SHE turned out!

  11. Meg Q August 28, 2007 at 6:00 pm #

    Okay, Germaine, I don’t like the profusion of teeny stuffed animals all over the place any more than you do. I especially dislike seeing them in funeral arrangements and impromptu memorials. It simply lowers the tone of our society even further, adding to the infantilization and unseriousness of modern life. However, if that’s your issue, then you should tackle that (which would be a valid public argument), and not go on the warpath with a pseudo-academic polemic against everyones’ beloved Teddies and Poohs and Pandas and whatnot.

    However, if you really *are* against real stuffed animals per se, then I can only pity you.

  12. Meg Q August 28, 2007 at 6:02 pm #

    P.S. – Cat – I wish you’d lived on my street when I was a kid, instead of the girls who wanted to play “Charlie’s Angels” ALL THE TIME.

  13. brightfeather August 28, 2007 at 6:04 pm #

    I like sharing my teddy bears and bunnies with kids and their parents get off on the fact that I have them and will share them.

    Setting that aside, Germaine has totally lost it. There was nothing in her argument that was germane.

    I say we should pelt her with someone else’s dirty, used old stuffed toys until she comes to her senses.

  14. Icy August 28, 2007 at 7:31 pm #

    Poor Germaine is gradually getting more and more strange. I’m guessing she’s missing the spotlight. Did you read about her insulting Steve Irwin … after he died! There was outrage in Australia.

  15. Glinda August 28, 2007 at 7:44 pm #

    She seems a bit deranged, I must say.

  16. raincoaster August 28, 2007 at 9:03 pm #

    Icy, there are links to that whole demented storm in the post. Honestly, how can you NOT love Steve Irwin? It’s like a litmus test for what kind of human being you are.

  17. Roxy August 29, 2007 at 2:10 pm #

    Germaine Greer is little more than a bitter, mean-spirited old hag. She just wants to be sure more bitter, mean-spirited hateful children come along in her wake because she never had any.

    Germaine Greer is the real-life equivalent of Burgomeister Meisterburger! Those visitors who watched the Christmas specials in the early ’70′s will understand this one!

  18. Joan August 29, 2007 at 4:25 pm #

    You need an “I’m not making this up” category — that’s where this story belongs.

  19. raincoaster August 29, 2007 at 5:05 pm #

    That’s pretty much where ALL my stories belong, actually.

  20. Maggie August 29, 2007 at 6:16 pm #

    I love the Germaine! She is of course both right and wrong as usual. The reason I love her is that she won’t shut up, and middle aged women are supposed to shut up and be invisible in our society
    Stuffed toys are invaluable at times of stress for children and for doing unspeakable things to (my daughter’s bear currently has piercings and a bondage vest) However, when I see a twentysomething girls bed still covered in the stuffed toys that daddy bought her I see someone who won’t grow up and stop being daddy’s girl. Paula Yates (rest her soul) started the wearing of the age inappropriate t shirts (little miss) and today I see young women wearing the dressess more appropriate for the three year old ( smocks and skirts with Thomas the Tank engine on them). I still have my teddy but he is an antique Steiff bear from Germany, so that’s alright isn’t it Germaine?

    May she spout venom forever!

  21. Ninjarina August 30, 2007 at 1:13 pm #

    Germaine Greer is a bitter old coot and any educated opinion she might have is usually overshadowed and conflated by something so idiotic and/or radical that it robs her of any legitimacy.

    Maybe we should see how much she likes cuddling w/ a real bear instead of a stuffed one.

  22. Lilly Munster August 30, 2007 at 1:37 pm #

    Germain Greer..The Feminine MISTAKE!

    (With apologies to the late Betty Friedan)

  23. Lilly Munster August 30, 2007 at 1:54 pm #

    “Germaine” (typo)

  24. angie Cox August 30, 2007 at 5:04 pm #

    So Germaine is taking it out on stuffies now huh..obviously “evil” possibly the fact that the human race has made dolls etc for children out of any available material for thousands of years hasn’t dawned .I think she is bonkers she’ll probably love ‘em in a few years .The person who spotted the tendancy of Paula Yates to dress like a toddler and appeal to men who have a thing about Mary Poppins well done !

  25. raincoaster August 31, 2007 at 3:46 am #

    Hey, the woman has a column to fill! How’s she gonna do that if she has to make sense all the time, eh?

    I, too, find the overfetishization of stuffed animals to be both bizarre and an inadvertent character flag, but I’m highly in favour of it. I LIKE that immature people trumpet their immaturity to the skies. It saves me so much time talking to them!

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