Ladies, do you remember your mother telling you that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything? And for good reason. In the past, a woman caught gossiping could be in peril.
Women have been demonized as gossips since the 16th century. At one point in London (1547), a proclamation was issued forbidding women to meet to babble and talk. Husbands were told to keep their wives at home.
The Scots, in 1567, went even farther to quell women’s voices. A bridle bit about two inches long and one inch wide, frequently studded with spikes, was inserted into the mouth and pressed down on the tongue. The device was locked onto the heads of female nags, scolds, and gossipers as well as those who were suspected of being witches.
In modern times, women are derided as gossipers, indicating that they have nothing better to do. In fact, if you Google ‘gossip pictures’, you will find the majority are of women. However, recent studies have shown that men and women gossip about the same amount. Just go to any small-town café or fast food establishment in the mornings, and you will see clusters of men drinking coffee and chatting. They apparently have nothing better to do, just like their female counterparts. Furthermore, women don’t participate in ‘tear down’ gossip any more than men.
Turns out new research has found that gossip is not so harmful as it is made out to be. Communicating can help build group cohesion and cooperation at work, strengthening social alliances. Also, it helps people keep track of what is going on.
Want to meet me for coffee later on? I’ve got some news to share!
https://time.com/5680457/why-do-people-gossip/ retrieved September 14, 2020
https://inthesetimes.com/article/the-subversive-feminist-power-of-gossip retrieved September 14, 2020.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/05/190503100814.htm retrieved September 15, 2020.
https://allthatsinteresting.com/scolds-bridle retrieved September 16, 2020.