A conversation I had with one of my Pleasure Principles Grads got me thinking...
When and why did gossip get such a bad reputation?
These are some things I still hear a lot...
"My husband wouldn't like me gossiping about our problems to my friends"
"You are the first person I have ever told about this…"
“I would never complain about my husband to my friends, I keep that to myself.”
For some reason, we have confused sharing our own stories, trials and accomplishments with other women with these negative words like “gossip”.
Today, "gossip" refers to talking or sharing information about someone who isn't present that may or may not be true. It usually refers to women. And it usually implies rumours being spread and negative bashing is taking place.
In fact, you can find many different numbers on the topic, but one study found that only 3-4% of the gossip data that was gathered was categorized as negative or malicious. So, this narrative that all gossip is mean and the women who participate are too is just simply false.
Where the term gossip really comes from is from birth. Midwives and birthing companions were reliant on connection and communication throughout the community. It was a matter of life and death, and a space where men were not welcome, where women came together to support and share. Then it evolved to represent close female friendships formed by being bonded with each other over experiences, such as childbirth.
It wasn't until the mid 1500s/early 1600s that gossip began to include the negative connotation it has today. You can find references to banning women from gathering, the (literal) witch hunts that ensued, suspicion of female friendships and punishments for women who participated. Some historians suggest that women got too self-reliant, and with the decline in social status of women, so began the vilification of female friendships and also gossip.
We still see the effects of that today. The idea that women have nothing better to do than sit around and gossip and talk bad about other women. Even though the data shows us otherwise.
The negative association with gossip is so strong in fact, that it keeps women from sharing, asking for help, venting to friends, and open up women to judgement rather than learning to understand each other and create community.
When did sharing and creating community with women become a bad thing?
Now, of course, I am not talking about spreading rumours and sh*t talking behind someone’s back. I am talking about sharing our own stories, the stories of our struggles and successes, the patterns of our families, the female condition. I am an advocate for lifting up each other’s voices and supporting each other. What I am not for is keeping our problems to ourselves, holding our husband’s/our own secrets and shame because it might make us look bad or hold someone else accountable for their actions.
Sharing your problems with a trusted group of friends is NOT a bad thing. Sometimes we need to vent, it builds community and connection and means you won't feel so lonely.
You'll probably discover that you're not the only one who hasn't had s*ex in a few months, or who is working through finding out your partner had an affair or addiction, or has a terribly difficult co-parenting relationship with your ex, and a number of other things you were told to keep quiet and be polite about to avoid embarrassing someone with your “gossip”.
No should suffer in silence. There is power and strength in community.
If you are looking to build a community of your own, we already have one. It’s called the Pleasure Mindset Bootcamp and there are 1000 women sharing their stories, overcoming challenges, and supporting each other through it. And none of it is gossip. Join us by clicking here!