Passion for Friends: Toward a Philosophy of Female Affection

Passion for Friends: Toward a Philosophy of Female Affection

Passion for Friends: Toward a Philosophy of Female Affection

Passion for Friends: Toward a Philosophy of Female Affection

Synopsis

Janice Raymond offers a vision of female friendship that is as exhilarating as it is controversial. In this feminist classic, she explores the many manifestations of friendship between women including the ancient Greek hetairai, the sisterhood of mediaeval nuns and the marriage resisters of China. Thousands of women have created their own communities and destinies through friendship. She also examines the contemporary women's movement and its networks and friendships -- as well as the forces operating against friendship between women. A tough and clear-sighted analysis, and a book to read again and again.

Excerpt

In 1980 when I began writing A Passion for Friends, feminists were not talking much about women's friendships. It was almost as if we thought that feminism itself, automatically made us friends. This assumption, as many of us learned, was rather naive. Like others, feminists do not automatically become friends. Although feminists believed and stated that "the personal is political," conversely the political was not always personal — i.e., a sisterhood that was created in the struggle for women's liberation did not mean that feminists shared a common world beyond the struggle. We did not necessarily share a space where friendship could occur and thrive.

This reprinting of A Passion for Friends takes place on the fifteenth anniversary of its original publication in 1986. Many of the reasons why I wrote the book are still important today: the invisibility of a tradition of female friendship; the quest to unearth a history of women's friendship that would affirm that women "alone" (without men) are women together; the recognition that women have always been each other's best friends, supporters and benefactors without ignoring the obstacles placed in the way of women's continuing friendships with other women; and the possibilities generated by female friendship for a shared personal, social, political and economic future for women.

Another purpose in writing A Passion for Friends was to articulate a philosophy of female friendship. Historically, the philosophy of friendship has been characterized by lofty male-centered ideas, as expressed by the philosophers of male friendship such as Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Emerson and Montaigne. These ideas resonated in the realms of power and, in the Greek philosophical tradition, friendship became the basis of the state. Less known is that female friendship historically has invested women with personal and . . .

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