The bonding of women that is woman-loving, or Gyn/affection, is very different from male bonding. Male bonding has been the glue of male dominance. It has been based upon recognition of the difference men see between themselves and women, and is a form of the behaviour, masculinity, that creates and maintains male power… Male comradeship/bonding depends upon energy drained from women.

As Miriam released my hand I felt that she and Midwife Bell had returned to a more primitive world, where men never intruded and even their role in conception was unknown. Here the chain of life was mother to daughter, daughter to mother. Fathers and sons belonged in the shadows with the dogs and livestock, like the retriever growling at Midwife Bell’s unfamiliar car from the window of my neighbours’ living room.

Instead of saying that all gender is this or all gender id that, let’s recognize that the word gender has scores of meanings built into it. It’s an amalgamation of bodies, identities, and life experiences, subconscious urges, sensations, and behaviours, some of which develop organically, and others which are shaped by language and culture. Instead of saying that gender is any one single thing, let’s start describing it as a holistic experience.

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