The word ‘Gossip’ is from Old English- godsibb, from god and sibb, the term used for the godparents of one’s child or the parents of one’s godchild, generally very close friends.
The term originates from the event of the birth of a child which was exclusively attended by women.
But how did it gain a different meaning?
Well, in medieval times, a child’s birth was like a huge social event. During the labour pain, ‘godsibbs’ provided moral support to the mother. And this is how men started associating gossip with women.
Gossip was actually a bonding experience for all the women of the community but was perceived as ‘meaningless chatter’ by men. Over time, gossip came to mean talk of others.
Further tuned in to
That the ‘Scold’s Bridle’ was a gruesome mask used as punishment for “Rude, clamorous woman,” who were considered to be spending too much gossiping or quarrelling in Medieval times.
Even widows, old women, and those abandoned by their husbands were banished from ‘talking too much.’ Even comforting each other was seen as a waste of time.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, the concept of gossip as a negative thing associated with women strengthened even more.
Even today when women talk about anything, especially about other women, they are labelled as catty, bitchy, or spiteful.
But why is gossip seen as something negative?
Since women try to help each other out and protect each other from the potential threats from the patriarchal society, men have labelled it as ‘bitchy’ to turn women against each other.
In fact, a study by Megan Robbins shows that – 74.3% of all sampled gossip in the study was neutral, meaning not positively or negatively evaluative.
So, now that we know what gossip was intended to do- form a strong bond and help each other.
Let’s work towards spreading, the actual meaning of GOSSIP!