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The Social Sex: A History of Female…

The Social Sex: A History of Female Friendship

by Marilyn Yalom

Other authors: Theresa Donovan Brown

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I received this book from GoodReads in exchange for an honest review.

This is kind of a difficult book to rate. While the text is informative, the overall narrative feels as though it is lacking. Part of the issue is clearly a lack of historical texts to use in order to determine changes in female friendship. This is mostly a history of white middle class friendship with a brief look at various "other" friendships such as "Friendship in the Workplace, Third-World Style", an unfortunately flippant title. Again, this is partly due to the lack of documentation outside of the dominant group, but I think the missing pieces were crucial to this history.

The historical connections to feminism were interesting, especially the chunk of the book dedicated to Eleanor Roosevelt, but as a whole the book felt a bit dull. The text was broken up well into digestible pieces, but some areas were heavier than others, leaving some sections unsatisfying thin. The section on modern friendships was incredibly short with very little depth.

A decent book, but the lack of concentration in certain areas left me unsatisfied as a whole. ( )
  CareBear36 | Oct 6, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Yalom, Marilynprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brown, Theresa Donovansecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062265504, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 30 Jul 2015 20:48:45 -0400)

Examines the history of female friendship, looking at how women were once considered to be incapable of the highest forms of friendship, and how they were able to co-opt this relationship ideal for themselves over the years. --Publisher's description.… (more)

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