Bearing in mind that platonic friendships between men and women are largely a modern phenomenon (courtly love was not platonic - it fed off repressed sexual desire), women have been dependant on each other for disinterested and equal emotional succour and social example for so long that the propensity to form strong and meaningful bonds with other women is probably inherited, either directly through our genes, or subconciously from our environment.

All-female relationships are those we have with our mothers, sisters, daughters and friends. They shape our lives and create our universe in ways that our romantic relatioships with men are incapable of doing. A woman cannot model herself entirely on men's example - the failures and inherited social problems of the brassy power suit era of the eighties bear witness to that. In order to develop a healthy psyche she needs the society and example of other women.

It is the premise of these "lesbian theorists" that these relationships, far from being only necessary, are the epitomal manifestation of femininity. They reject the belief that a woman can only come into her own in a mixed gender relationship involving penetrative sex and motherhood, and say that rather it is only away from the restrictions and pressures of the patriarchy that a woman can truly be herself to the best of her ability, and be happy.

I don't agree with this last assertion - I think people of both sexes are a necessary componenet in a well balanced life and society (yes, it's a bit obvious, but still). I do, however, acknowledge the fact that my bonds with my mother, sister and closest female friends are intransitory and monumentally influential. Like I told my best friend once, we spend our time with men, but we live our lives with women.