The Social Sex
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The Social Sex : A History of Female Friendship

2.96 (130 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

From historian and acclaimed feminist author of How the French Invented Love and A History of the Wife comes this rich, multifaceted history of the evolution of female friendship.

In today's culture, the bonds of female friendship are taken as a given. But only a few centuries ago, the idea of female friendship was completely unacknowledged, even pooh-poohed. Only men, the reasoning went, had the emotional and intellectual depth to develop and sustain these meaningful relationships.

Surveying history, literature, philosophy, religion, and pop culture, acclaimed author and historian Marilyn Yalom and co-author Theresa Donovan Brown demonstrate how women were able to co-opt the public face of friendship throughout the years. Chronicling shifting attitudes toward friendship--both female and male--from the Bible and the Romans to the Enlightenment to the women's rights movements of the '60s up to Sex and the City and Bridesmaids, they reveal how the concept of female friendship has been inextricably linked to the larger social and cultural movements that have defined human history.

Armed with Yalom and Brown as our guides, we delve into the fascinating historical episodes and trends that illuminate the story of friendship between women: the literary salon as the original book club, the emergence of female professions and the working girl, the phenomenon of gossip, the advent of women's sports, and more.

Lively, informative, and richly detailed, The Social Sex is a revelatory cultural history.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 382 pages
  • 142 x 216 x 25mm | 295g
  • HARPER PERENNIAL
  • English
  • 0062265504
  • 9780062265500
  • 32,793

Review quote

"This sweeping, lighthearted, highly readable survey hints that beyond proximity, shared interests, and 'reciprocity, ' there is still some lovely mystery to what binds the 'noncarnal union of similar souls.'"--Publishers Weekly
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Back cover copy

In today's culture, the bonds of female friendship are taken as a given. But only a few centuries ago, the idea of female friendship was completely unacknowledged, even pooh-poohed. Dating back to the Greeks and the Romans, women were long considered "weaker" than men and constitutionally unsuited for friendship at the highest level. Only men, the reasoning went, had the emotional and intellectual depth to develop and sustain these meaningful relationships.

Surveying history, literature, philosophy, religion, and pop culture, acclaimed author Marilyn Yalom and coauthor Theresa Donovan Brown demonstrate how women were able to co-opt the public face of friendship throughout the years. Chronicling shifting attitudes toward friendship--both female and male--from the Bible and the Romans to the Enlightenment, to the women's rights movements of the 1960s up to Sex and the City and Broad City, they reveal how the concept of female friendship has been inextricably linked to the larger social and cultural movements that have defined human history.

With Yalom and Brown as our guides, we delve into the fascinating historical episodes and trends that illuminate the story of friendship between women: the literary salon as the original book club, the emergence of female professions and the working girl, the phenomenon of gossip, the advent of women's sports, and more.

Lively, informative, and richly detailed, The Social Sex is a revelatory cultural history.
show more

Rating details

130 ratings
2.96 out of 5 stars
5 11% (14)
4 16% (21)
3 41% (53)
2 24% (31)
1 8% (11)
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