Actually, Gossiping Has Its Benefits. So Why Are Women Ridiculed for It?

Spoiler alert: it’s not because we are the only ones doing it

Katie Jgln
The Noösphere


Illustration by Adolf Hering for Die Gartenlaube (1892) via Wikimedia Commons

Today, the word ‘gossip’ largely carries a negative connotation.

It’s considered frivolous and borderline immoral talk, often involving the circulation of information that shouldn’t be circulated and that might not even be true.

Gossip is also traditionally thought of as something that mostly women do.

Last week, Pope Francis, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, allegedly scolded a group of young priests against ‘badmouthing’ in parishes and congregations because ‘gossip is a women’s thing.’ He then added, ‘we wear the trousers, we have to say things.’ (Well, you actually wear dresses, so by your own logic, you shouldn’t be saying things.) Just a few days before that, a Republican man who is now running for Senate in Minnesota complained in an interview that ‘women have become too mouthy.’

The idea that women talk more than men, particularly about silly and pointless stuff, is another common stereotype. It’s even embedded in linguistic expressions around the world. In German, there’s an expression that translates to ‘one man, one word — one woman, one dictionary.’ Meanwhile, in Japanese, there’s a saying, ‘where…