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Do women really gossip more than men?

Women gossiping more than men is a social stereotype portrayed in movies, shows and books. A 2017 study from the Journal of Gender Studies found that, quantitatively speaking, women and men engage in the same amount of gossip, but the reason this stereotype may exist is because different genders gossip differently.

For example, women gossip more about social relationships and physical appearance than men.

This sentiment was echoed by Peggy Drexler, Ph.D., a research psychologist, assistant professor of psychology at Weill Medical College, Cornell University who said “the impact of gossip is uneven: Studies show that women use far more words during the day than men do, and, especially woman-to-woman, those words tend to be personal…

Women tend to bond over feelings, men tend to bond over activities—with limited intimacy. It’s no surprise that this difference in communication style translates to differences in how the genders gossip.”

For women, Gossip tends to be personal or relationship based, for men, gossip revolves more around status and loyalty to a group. Examples of how women tend to gossip include talking about celebrity divorces or how someone was rude in a meeting. Examples of how men tend to gossip include talking about people getting promotions or switching soccer teams- topics which aren't typically even thought of as gossip.

The other component of gender differences in gossip how it is used by each of the genders. Anti-social personality types who are male tend to get physically aggressive, while women with antisocial personalities tend to engage in manipulation and reputation tarnishing. It would make sense as people we are more attuned to women's gossip the way we are with men's physical aggression. Gossip for women is a weapon, and as a species wired to look for negativity for survival, it makes sense we notice gossip more in this gender.

In summary, despite the stereotype women gossip more, women gossip about the same, but women tend to use gossip more as a weapon which, being animals wired to look for negativity, is why we associate gossip more often with women.

Thank you for reading! Make sure to subscribe to my email list for next week’s post: Is gossip good for us?


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