". . something odd is going on that no one can explain."
I can explain it Madeleine, with the human-evolutionary perspective I keep banging on about, but which you and your colleagues do not seem to have paid any attention to.
". . . women's identity has always been framed around relationships . ."
Not just women's identity. Our brains evolved to relate to and focus on our TRIBE (comprising just a few score closely related individuals, at the very most), which has been substituted and expropriated by the STATE (now comprising 60 million largely and increasingly unrelated individuals), with the MEDIA, for whom Madeline works, professionally engaged in competing for and focusing our attention on anything but our tribe, which is disparaged as ethnocentric and potentially "racist".