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Female bonding is the formation of a close personal relationship between women. Female bonding is a term that is used in ethology, social science, and in general usage to describe patterns of friendship, attachment, and cooperation in women; or in the case of ethology, associations between females of various species. The exact meaning of the term differs across contexts.
Furthermore, within the context of human relationships the definition and display of female bonding can be dependent on multiple factors such as age, sexual orientation, culture, race and marital status. For example, some studies have shown that there is relatively strong female bonding evidence which is shared among single women. It is evident that this particular cohort of women sees each other as lifelong confidants due to the absence of a lifelong commitment to a spouse. Along with this, the lack of commitment allows women to develop and maintain the strong ties between other single female friends.
Female bonding can be further explored within the human context of relationships within the family. For example, the positive mother-daughter ties which develop have been described to provide immense emotional, financial and instrumental support; indicating that female bonding is present. In an alternative study, a mother described her daughters as “more like sisters, communicating that equality…was an essential feature of their current relationships. They used the language of companionate ties…” (Allen, K.R., Blieszner, R., & Roberto, K.A., 2011, 1167)
In addition to mother-daughter ties, sibling ties can be carefully examined for further exemplification in female bonding. There is much evidence that sister-sister ties are the strongest ties that exist, out of the possible combinations of gendered sibling ties which are shared. In a recent study, an interviewee described her relationship shared with her sister as the most enduring and intimate of her life. (Wells, J., 2009, 1776). This further suggests the emotional sharing which is said to be the primary foundation on which female bonding is founded.
There has also been evidence within animal context regarding the genetic theory behind female bonding. A study that “investigated the social network structure of an embayment population of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops aduncus, … examined the impact of sex…in maintaining the cohesion of the social network.” (Wiszniewski, J., Lusseau, D., & Moller, L.M., 2010, 895). The results of this article prove that there was “greater influence on female[s] than on male social relationships, as association strength was positively correlated with genetic relatedness between females” (Wiszniewski, J., Lusseau, D., & Moller, L.M., 2010, 895).
- Female Bonding – theFreeDictionary.com
Allen, K.R., Blieszner, R., & Roberto, K.A.(2011). Perspectives on extended family and fictive kin in later years: Strategies and meanings of kin representation. Journal of Family Issues, 32(9), 1156 – 1177. Retrieved March 21, 2011, from ERIC database.
Wells, J., (2009). The Closeness of Sisters: Imagining Cassandra and Jane. The Closeness of Sisters: Imagining Cassandra and Jane. Persuasions: The Jane Austen Journal On-Line, 30(1), 1775 – 1817. Retrieved March 21, 2011, from MLA International Bibliography.
Wiszniewski, J., Lusseau, D., & Moller, L.M. (2010). Female bisexual kinship ties maintain social cohesion in dolphin network. Animal Behavior, 80(5), 895 – 904. Retrieved March 21, 2012, from ScienceDirect database.
- Greiner, Donald, J. (1993). Women Without Men: Female Bonding and the American Novel of the 1980s. University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 0-87249-884-0.
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