Martin Bond, I forgot to mention earlier that Camille Paglia is a complete idiot. She waxes nostalgic about the time when her Italian ancestors would take their washing to the stream with their female friends and make a picnic of it and laugh and sing over their laundry. Meanwhile, that’s not because washing clothing in a stream makes you want to sing and enjoy the company of your girlfriends. It’s because they were making the best of a world where they didn’t have any choices. Meanwhile, she’s living what is by traditional standards a man’s life of academia. She’s not washing her family’s clothes with her girlfriends or at all. She’s a complete hypocrite! What she’s describing is also a time when men and women weren’t allowed to be friends with each other for moral reasons. They didn’t have much choice but to keep to their own gender. That doesn’t make it a necessarily desirable thing.
Same sex friends and communities are valuable, but more important than that is that people be allowed to be who they actually are (not some prescribed role) and to do what makes them happy and fulfilled. What that is may be different for different people. Trying to pigeonhole people like that is not smart or enlightened.