Perform a search for images portraying gossip, and you would be hard-pressed to find one of a group of men engaging in the practice. The overwhelming majority of them show women gossiping with each other. Every so often, you may find a woman gossiping to a man, but very rarely do you see the image of a man initiating the activity.
What does this say? We clearly associate this activity with one gender over the other. Why? Have we been socialized into this behavior, or is it as integral to our natural behavior as many would suggest?
I'm not buying into that... which brings us to our second principle of The Grown Woman's Oath.
I admit that gossip is pointless.
"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people." - Eleanor Roosevelt (a debated credit but I'm going with Eleanor)
Which mind do you have? Or are you just out of your mind?
Granted, this quote is a very pointed, but perhaps warranted, criticism of gossipers. I would soften it by saying that this does not mean a so-called small mind is incapable of expansion with a little self-awareness. Gossip is nothing more than a bad habit.
As adolescents, almost everyone talks about everyone else. It's pretty much a given as we each try to find our place in the world. We worry about how we fit in, and gossiping about someone who doesn't assures us of our superior position in the hierarchy. Gossip is a delusional form of power.
We would like to think that we outgrow teenage angst, but truth be told, many of our playground antics survive well into adulthood. Contrary to popular belief, maturity does not always come with age.
As adults, we still carry the weight of self-doubt -- which is common to the human experience. Compounded with the ongoing myth of competition, words uttered against the next woman may feel like supremacy for that moment.
Let's face it: The only time you have to feel like you have the upper hand is when you're already convinced of your own insignificance. When confident, you never have to tear down another woman to build yourself up. There's no need since you don't see yourself as being less than.
Some of us ladies do it, some of us don't, but the bottom line is that none of us benefit from it. Let's not feed into another stereotype by engaging in a vicious attempt to dismantle the reputation of our counterparts.
There will be times we come across a juicy tidbit (I mean, really juicy), but we need to ask ourselves what is gained by passing on that information. If the answer is a temporary surge of self-importance, don't bother. Remember, grown women make deliberate choices. Degrading another woman is not one of them.
And, just for the record, the biggest gossip I've ever known was a man -- but, whatever.