Did you hear that so-and-so did something unpleasant and now they’re accused of something even worse? You didn’t?? Well, lean in and I’ll tell you what I know!
Gossip might have a lot more to it than we realize. In the past, it may have been traded like currency among women with no other social power. Historically, it was also used as a weapon by women to undermine one another. Doesn’t this sound familiar?
A professor at Brescia University College is embarking on a fascinating study of historical gossip. She’ll research lip service paid to rumours and secrets of 400 years ago, specifically by French women. In that country, females weren’t considered full citizens until they were given the right to vote in 1945. Let’s let that sink in for a moment. Only three-quarters of a century ago, women in France were finally made full citizens and allowed to vote. It’s no wonder women of today are so keenly aware of the rights we have and rise up to oppose any attempt to take some of them away.
Imagine life for a woman in the 1600s France. She couldn’t own property. She wasn’t a person in the eyes of the law. There was intense competition for a husband who would take care of her. No wonder she tried to undermine other women to make herself look like the better choice of a wife. It was a matter of survival.
Gossip is still used as a social currency and a weapon but now women and men are capable of opting out or ignoring it. We have other ways of raising our status, our votes count and our opinions matter. And we don’t need to undermine anyone to elevate ourselves.