"Fascinating . . . The Social Sex is a paean to companionship. Share it with a bosom friend.” —NPR
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.
Marilyn Yalom was a former professor of French and a senior scholar at the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University. She was the author of widely acclaimed books such as A History of the Breast, A History of the Wife, Birth of the Chess Queen, and, most recently, How the French Invented Love. She lived in Palo Alto, California, with her husband, psychiatrist and author Irvin D. Yalom.