Ever find yourself lured into the trap of gossiping about others behind their backs? According to a new book, your urge to over-share could be more than a guilty pastime.
In Duels and Duets, author John L. Locke, claims that the female desire to share information behind other people’s backs stems from an evolutionary need to protect her community.
“The word gossip has a pejorative sound to it, but with it, women are, in a sense, servicing the moral code of the community,” Locke told Salon.com.
“One study of gossip showed that gossipers were concerned about women who are bad housekeepers, and women who are bad mothers, and women who are promiscuous. Those things are all threats to each woman in a community; therefore they have every good reason to want to talk about those things.”
Locke also found a distinct difference between men and women when it comes to commenting on friends’ appearances, such as a fashion faux pas.
While men “duel” with each other and are more likely to insult their pals for their thinning hair line or awful outfit, “women would simply never, never do that,” says Locke.
Women are more inclined to comment to their friend about another person’s appearance behind their back, rather than to their face. This is what Locke calls ‘dueting’ and it helps women bond.
“When women are dueting and trading in intimate disclosures about themselves and their friends, they’re fortifying a relationship,” concludes Locke.