Girls & Gossip: Is Anything Secret?
Can you keep a secret? I can’t. With the ability to share salacious information within seconds, there is no doubt that girls are the worst culprits for idle petty gossip. What is more exciting than finding out a cheeky fact about a friend’s boyfriend or learning about an acquaintance’s secret fetish and then being able to share this delightful vocal treat with your own gossiping gang? You anticipate the eager faces and then you can feel the pride after you become the group’s favourite – the holder of new gossip. For female friendship groups, thriving on gossip is prevalent and very common, but why do girls love to gossip about other girls so much? And is this a problem in today’s society?
From high school ages, girls are renowned for their inability to keep a secret and their delight at imparting gossip to their friends. Social media plays a key role in modern day gossiping as information can be transferred quickly and secretly. In addition to sharing gossip online, social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram often become the source for new information to share. I know that it is very easy to find out a lot of information about someone from their online profile – even if it is very trivial facts and, quite often, fictions. These things then become twisted, changed and evolve into gossip – which is then readily shared between individuals. But why is this so interesting?
I think women are naturally nosy. In 2014 with access to other people’s lives through the internet it is more accepted to be curious about friend’s interests, life choices and relationships. Fifty years ago it was not a common thing to pry into other people’s lives as we do now and therefore it would often appear that today’s youth are more invasive when it comes to trying to gain information about other people’s lives. Viewing intimate pictures and learning about relationships from people you have only met once would probably seem strange to people over the age of 50. But really, in current times, if you have the information there to view, why not be nosy and have a look?
The problem with being able to so readily access other people’s intimate details is that ‘information’ often easily becomes salacious gossip. Details are exaggerated and as the story is told over and over, the facts become decidedly convoluted. Like in a game of Chinese Whispers, the gossip that surfaces at the end is not reminiscent of the facts you began with. Although I love chatting with my friends and more often than not end up sharing more than I should – not just about me, but about others too – I think the culture of gossiping is becoming more and more of a prevalent issue. In a society where everything is open to all, when will privacy return?
Privacy is a big issue when it comes to gossiping about friends. When you are sharing all their intimate details with an adoring audience, it is very difficult to think about the effects of your exciting recital. The main victims of girly gossip are the people who want to remain private and not have their secrets repeated to everyone within a ten mile radius. It is very difficult to strike a good balance. When you tell someone a secret you want to be sure they keep it to themselves, but will they? This introduces the idea of not just privacy, but trust too. If we are becoming a society which shares everything, what happens to trust?
As information turns decidedly public, gossiping is going to just intensify. Sharing secrets is both satisfying but also cruel. Having a gossip session between a few close friends is all well and good, but in 2014 it is difficult to draw an appropriate line between fair and unfair. With all your information open to all, how do you manage to keep your own secrets? Is there such a thing as a real true secret in a society full of openness and over sharing?