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Gyn-affection in Literature Essay

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Updated: May 25th, 2019

There is no precise definition of such phenomenon as gyn-affection. In a few words, it can be defined as a friendship between women but certainly it would be a very simple derfinition.

Gyn-affection can mean passion that women feel for each other, this phenomenon can have a bit political context as well. Janice Raymond, a novelist, coined the term to illustrate a relationship, which includes not only fondness and affection, but also creates a sense of mutual empowerment among females (Jolene 2012, P.1).

Affection in this sense means the state of influencing, acting upon, moving, impressing, being influenced, being impressed, and acted upon by other women.

In her writings, Raymond says that women could liberate themselves only if they embraced a gyn-affective life and rejected most of the lies perpetuated against them.

Gyn-affection in “The Color Purple”

In her book “The Color Purple,” Alice Walker described how male African Americans in the mid 1900s oppressed their women (Walker 1982, p. 5). In this patriarchal society, most women were illiterate and continuously oppressed by men.

Using the female network, the author illustrated that through unity, strength and support, women could rise and ifght against their opressors. Gyn-affection in the book has been portrayed in different forms, particularly in motherly, sisterly and womanly ways.

For instance, the author referred to the relationship between Nettie and Celie as motherly (Walker 1982, p. 45). When Nettie’s mother died, Celie took care of Nettlie as if she was her own daughter. For the greater part of her life, Nettie saw love only from her sister and gave back love to her.

The sister’s motherly love was portrayed through Celie’s selfless sacrifices for her younger sister. Later on, the letters that Nettie wrote to her sister expressed in many ways her gratitude for Celie’s gift of survival.

Without one another, female characters in this novel would be less powerful. After Celie met Shug, a blues singer, she immediately developed a strong friendship with her (Walker 1982, p. 67). Through their intimate relationship, Shug instills self-confidence and self-esteem in her.

As a result, the author noted that Celie later on felt more comfortable and respected herself for the first time in her life. In addition, Celie developed very strong love for Shug because she helped her come into terms with herself.

Another woman who helped Celie realize the power of her voice was Sofia. Sofia, as Celie’s close friend, would not allow men to assert their dominance over her. Like Shug, Sofia taught Celie that she must stand up for herself or men would oppress her.

Afterwards, Celie learned to stand up for herself and eventually achieved happiness and respect. To assert the importance of gyn-affection, the author demonstrated that only women with independent economic position were able to stand up for themselves.

As such, she showed that women’s conditions can greatly improve if they unite and support each other.

Gyn-affection in other texts

Gyn-affection is depicted not only in “The Color Purple” but also in other feminist books. Many women activists have written numerous books dwelling on gyn-affection.

Among these books are “Handmaid’s Tale” and “A Passion for Friends.” In both novels, the protagonists are women who were oppressed and dominated by men. In both texts, women were affected by similar situations, but eventually managed to become stronger after interacting with other women.

In the “Handmaid’s Tale,” the author incorporated many feminist theories and frequently referred to female characters to emphasize the impact of gyn-affection. Offred, the narrator in the story, described her experience as a handmaid in a patriarchal society (Atwood 1986, p.15).

Offred with the help of her friend Moira finally became motivated and courageous. Just like in teh book of Alice Walker, women in the “Handmaid’s Tale” are forced to work together to get rid of the male oppressors.

Aunt Lydia claims that women in Gilead society could live free from rape, fear, and harm if they could only unite and build a unified female society (Atwood 1986, p. 23).

Another book that depicts the effectiveness of gyn-affection is “A Passion for Friends” written by Janice Raymond. In this book, Raymond affirmed the importance of female friendship (Raymond 1986, p. 9).

Like Alice Walker, the author illustrated that women could overcome all the obstacles in their way by acting as a team. Raymond saw the possibility of female friendship without boundaries.

Unlike other texts, “A Passion for Friends” states that women have been friends for decades and that their relationships have been distorted and destroyed by self-vested men.

Raymond still believes that despite enormous pressures put on women by men, women can collectively work together to eradicate these vices (Raymond 1986, p. 11).

In this regard, Raymond asserted that some women have always existed for women. Thus, she called women to identify such women and work together to attain their self-worth.

The three books showed the power of female friendship and various ways how women can survive in oppressive situations and resist men’s opprecise behaviour (Brien 2010, p. 34).

In addition, three authors showed that women should form strong units to prevail in male dominated societies (Brown & Root 1990, p. 78).


Atwood, M 1986, The handmaid’s tale, Houghton Mifflin, Boston.

Brien, E 2010, Women in the prose of María de Zayas, Tamesis, Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK.

Brown, L. S., & Root, M. P 1990, Diversity and complexity in feminist therapy.: Harrington Park Press, NewYork.

Jolene, R 2012, February 4, Gyn/affection and Dual Vision « smashesthep.smashesthep. Web.

Raymond, J. G 1986, A passion for friends: toward a philosophy of female affection.: Beacon Press, Boston.

Walker, A 1982,Thecolor purple: a novel.: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich New York.

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