Read epub Surpassing the Love of Men: Romantic Friendship and Love Between Women from the Renaissance to the Present – Mariahilff.de

A classic of its kind, this fascinating cultural history draws on everything from private correspondence to pornography to explore five hundred years of friendship and love between women Surpassing the Love of Men throws a new light on shifting theories of female sexuality and the changing status of women over the centuries


10 thoughts on “Surpassing the Love of Men: Romantic Friendship and Love Between Women from the Renaissance to the Present

  1. Anna Anna says:

    I found this book wholly fascinating and compelling, yet sad It tells the story of love between women and how perceptions and prejudices have shaped it across the centuries As it was first published in 1981, the subtitle is no longer accurate The lesbian feminist movement of the 1970s is the last trend described and it is salutary to compare this to the situation today The book begins with the notion of romantic friendship , which reached its height of popularity in the 18th century Faderm I found this book wholly fascinating and compelling, yet sad It tells the story of love between women and how perceptions and prejudices have shaped it across the centuries As it was first published in 1981, the subtitle is no longer accurate The lesbian feminist movement of the 1970s is the last trend described and it is salutary to compare this to the situation today The book begins with the notion of romantic friendship , which reached its height of popularity in the 18th century Faderman s examination of romantic friendship demonstrates powerfully how changeable cultural norms are, in an area love and sex often blithely treated as immutable Certainly, you have the trend today of framing so called masculine and feminine behaviours as biologically fixed, as challenged in the excellent Delusions of Gender How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference A major theme that I felt ran through the book was how sexuality is currently seen as a matter of desire and attraction, rather than behaviour, whereas this has not always been the case Romantic friendships were a loving behaviour between women which did not tie them to a particular identity, sexual or otherwise In the 18th century, though, it was widely assumed that none of these romantic friendships could have a sexual aspect, as a women were assumed to have little or no libido, and b the men whose writings on the topic have survived did not know how two women could have sex There is thus a bittersweet tone to the initial chapters on romantic friendship Undoubtedly their bonds brought a lot of women much joy, companionship, and deep love, however this was within a deeply oppressive patriarchal society When it became possible for women to be financially independent from men, romantic friendships became suspect.Thus, the chapters on the 19th century are saddening, as they recount how romantic friendship became pathologised, exoticised, and condemned Women who had been happily emotionally involved with one another were now treated as sick, in need of psychotherapy, and a threat to family life the children society in general The sexologists, especially Freud, were at the vanguard of this In short, the patriarchy attempted to ruin the emotional bonds that women had developed in part as a way to survive misogyny Faderman examines the fictional depictions of women loving women by then labelled lesbianism that promulgated these negative ideas I was amused by her palpable scorn at the decadent movement s voyeuristic lesbian stereotyping For example, The emphasis in most of Verlaine s other lesbian poems, as in Baudelaire s, is on sex and sin but of course the women are always young and lovely and arousing as they shuffle off to hell In Faderman s opinion, only the feminist movement of the 1970s has been able to rehabilitate love between women I didn t previously understand what feminists of that decade meant by lesbian, as it seems to differ significantly from the assumed definition today Lesbian feminists of the 1970s apparently made a decision to focus their important emotional relationships which could be sexual but might not be on other women Their lesbianism is thus defined by choice and behaviour, whereas today it is assumed that a lesbian is a woman who is sexually attracted to other women whether she likes it or not In a way, this shifting definition powerfully demonstrates that in the 21st century, there is an assumption of compulsory sexuality Thus, behaviour is presumed to follow attraction Lesbians are women who are attracted to women and therefore have sex with them Whereas Faderman is at pains to point out that romantic friendships seems often to have been sensual, maybe even sexual, but that was by no means the most important thing about them Love today is so defined by sex All serious non familial relationships and emotional attachments are assumed to have a sexual component I seem to recall that Freud even claimed that all platonic friendships have sexual attraction buried at their core Freud has a lot to answer for, really Even as his theories have been academically discredited, their influence on Western popular culture continues Surpassing the Love of Men reminded me that as women in Europe and the US have gainedsexual freedom, this has brought new constraints and novel forms of sexism The idea of sexuality as being innate, something you re born with, counters homophobia by denying the possibility of medical rehabilitation On the other hand, it also tends to exclude the freedom to choose your sexual and emotional behaviours and aims to neatly categorise everyone I can imagine the hostile confusion that would result today if you came out as a lesbian, on the basis of not wanting emotional relationships with men whether or not you are attracted to them Women s bodies are still generally presumed to be sexually available to men Moreover, any attraction is generally assumed to be sexual, despite the asexual community s efforts at subdivision sexual romantic sensual elements, etc And as sexual attraction is treated as the most important and irresistible component of love, non sexual relationships are deemed unimportant This is why I felt a sense of loss when reading about romantic friendships I love my close female friends very much, however none of them are my girlfriend , so these relationships are trivialised In the media, there are very few depictions of female friendships that are recognisable to me Female characters in films and on TV are so often rivals for a man s interest, rather than having emotional attachments to one another Since the 18th century women s lives have improved immeasurably, but not without some losses We still live in a misogynistic world, though I m well aware that as a white, middle class woman I m insulated from the worst of it


  2. Erica Freeman Erica Freeman says:

    I read this in college, and even with my unreasonably long list of to reads, I can t wait to read it again Validating and fascinating Not just about lesbianism, but about intellectual, fraternal, and even sensual not necessarily sexual love, respect, and affections between women.


  3. Melvina Melvina says:

    Very interesting I got impatient with some of the chapters it seemed repetitive at times As I read it, it becameclear to me that romantic friendships haven t gone away, they re just called something else In many of the examples, these women were not romantically involved with several friends, these were exclusive relationships These friendships involved two women who were totally in love with each other, or exclusively attached to one another The Boston marriages, for instance By Very interesting I got impatient with some of the chapters it seemed repetitive at times As I read it, it becameclear to me that romantic friendships haven t gone away, they re just called something else In many of the examples, these women were not romantically involved with several friends, these were exclusive relationships These friendships involved two women who were totally in love with each other, or exclusively attached to one another The Boston marriages, for instance By the end of the book, I was convinced there is no such thing as romantic friendships They are now just called same sex relationships or same sex marriage Our current culture doesn t have a problem with two women being exclusively attached to each other well, for the most part we ve come a long way, but it s still not perfect I love the history in this book and there were so many great examples of real women as well as literary characters I recommend it for the history AND the scholarship


  4. Terri Strange Terri Strange says:

    This book is full of much essential lesbian history as well as historical challenges to modern scientific theories about what causes women to love one another Faderman addresses many cases in Western European and American history of different understandings of love between women Essential for anyone trying to understand the feminist sex wars in a way that provides deep historical context.


  5. Linda Linda says:

    Lillian Faderman s book is a summary of society s views toward love between women over the last 400 years That s a rather ambitious project She s got a lot of ground to cover and covering that ground takes a while That can make the book a bit slow at times, but it s definitely a worthwhile read Much of the history she discussed was totally unknown to me and while dry, it was interesting.It seems likely that her goal for the book was to show that society didn t view love between women with th Lillian Faderman s book is a summary of society s views toward love between women over the last 400 years That s a rather ambitious project She s got a lot of ground to cover and covering that ground takes a while That can make the book a bit slow at times, but it s definitely a worthwhile read Much of the history she discussed was totally unknown to me and while dry, it was interesting.It seems likely that her goal for the book was to show that society didn t view love between women with through the same lens as many in society do today To summarize the book in a sentence or two is a disservice but Faderman argues that until the end of the 19th Century, society not only tolerated but encouraged love between women what was known as romantic friendship at least so long as the relationship wasn t perceived as sexual or neither woman was trying to either pass as a man or usurp a male role Only with the advent of psychiatry and the first studies of human behavior was a friendship between women that went beyond simple friendship seen as disordered.She uses letters and literature of the periods to make her case and also shows how the modern myth of the lesbian as a vampire like creature had it s origins in 17th Century French literature Given how little literature dealt with lesbian themes, these early works were often the basis or inspiration for much of what followed, even into 20th Century America.The modern debate about whether same sex love is genetic or caused by environment is also shown to be a debate that dates back to the early psychiatrists.If you want a book that provides some insight into how society came to be in it s current form, this is a good start down that path


  6. Alice Alice says:

    Even if you disagree with some of Faderman s 1981 conclusions especially aboutcontemporary events the section on feminism and women choosing to be lesbian as a feminist statement made me do some facepalming , the amount of research that went into this book PRE INTERNET, mind you is staggering.She traces the history of romantic friendship from the 1500s to the 1970s, and gives an excellent overview of lesbian literature while doing so She has stated in recent times that she regret Even if you disagree with some of Faderman s 1981 conclusions especially aboutcontemporary events the section on feminism and women choosing to be lesbian as a feminist statement made me do some facepalming , the amount of research that went into this book PRE INTERNET, mind you is staggering.She traces the history of romantic friendship from the 1500s to the 1970s, and gives an excellent overview of lesbian literature while doing so She has stated in recent times that she regrets the Anne Lister diaries not having come to light when she was writing this, but that is one missed example among tens that she did find.I read Diana Victrix by Florence Converse because of this book I knowabout Gertrude Stein I am looking forward to reading the poetry of Amy Lowell I m trying to get my hands on the letters of Geraldine Jewsbury and Jane Carlyle I ll be reading A Description of Millennium Hall, as well as Lesbia Brandon by Swinburne and Ormond by Charles Brockden Brown It s been a fantastic experience


  7. Freyja Vanadis Freyja Vanadis says:

    This book took me forever to read not only because it s long, but because it s full of too much information And while Faderman doesn t exactly use a dry style of writing she s very readable she does tend to repeat the same thing over and over and over She had countless examples of female couples through the centuries, who all did the same things and acted the same way Pretty soon they all blended together and I had a hard time keeping track of who s who It s like the people were all t This book took me forever to read not only because it s long, but because it s full of too much information And while Faderman doesn t exactly use a dry style of writing she s very readable she does tend to repeat the same thing over and over and over She had countless examples of female couples through the centuries, who all did the same things and acted the same way Pretty soon they all blended together and I had a hard time keeping track of who s who It s like the people were all the same, just the names changed


  8. catharine catharine says:

    Weighty, but a fascinating read on the history of relationships between women and,interestingly, the drastic changes in perception about physical and intense emotional interaction Within 20 years of 1900, having a close female friend as the center of your emotional life went from completely normal and expected, to being the sign of a diseased mind Amazing stuff it totally reframed Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, and My Antonio for me.


  9. ael ael says:

    I m getting really tired of Lillian Faderman s all lesbians are nice ladies who hold hands as they walk down the beach thing, also of the trans invisibility thing all inverts were just dykes really , but I know she s just coming from a certain generation That said, she certainly does churn out the easy reading dyke history tomes.


  10. Alex Alex says:

    THIS BOOK IS AMAZING THIS IS LITERALLY THE LESBIAN GOSPEL.