The Social Sex: A History of Female Friendship

This is an Archive of a Past Event

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 pooh­poohed. Only men, the reasoning went, had the necessary qualities to develop and sustain such meaningful relationships. Surveying history, literature, philosophy, religion, and pop culture, Clayman Senior Scholar Marilyn Yalom and Theresa Donovan Brown, who has a BA from Stanford and an MBA from UC Berkeley, demonstrate how women co-opted the public face of friendship. Their book, The Social Sex: A History  of Female Friendship, illuminates the story of women as friends throughout the ages: in medieval convents, in 17th and 18th century literary salons, in 19th century romantic relations, among early 20th century working girls, on today's internet, and more. Yalom and Brown will accompany their lecture with pictures that do not appear in the book.

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This event is sponsored by the Clayman Institute for Gender Research and the Stanford Humanities Center; co-sponsored by Faculty Women's Forum, Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Development & Diversity.