Thursday, March 27, 2014

Is gossip really that bad?

About a month ago, I was randomly going through TedxTalks videos on Youtube, and I just listened to the various subjects that were tackled. But, out of the blue, I came upon a video called "The sociology of gossip" which is a talk by Elaine Lui on what gossip can teach us. I have to admit that the subject seemed uninteresting from the start, but i stayed because I had never in the world even considered that there could be a sociology of gossip! And then this woman started to talk, and she was smart and funny, and it all became so interesting that since then I've seen the video 4-5 times. 

What really got me thinking in her speech is how gossip was a reflection of what "people" in general think and behave, and that it can be a source for perspective on contemporary train of thought. But it also reminded me that the star industry is based on gossiping, just as it is based on paparazzis and fans, etc. And that thus means that we all take part in this industry, whether we'd like to admit it or not. And furthermore, another thing that caught my attention is her constant questioning "Why are we so ashamed of gossip?". Maybe I'm just being naïve, but I don't know why I know that it isn't very well seen to have a copy of a gossip magazine rather than a newspaper in hand. I never thought about it that way before, I just did what other people did, gossip and then pretend like it never happened. And so I wondered again, who's being stupid after all...?! False pretenses are things I hate the most in my everyday life and yet I am doing the exact same thing in a different context unconsciously... How disappointing of me...

After this whole gossip shame/not shame had passed, I listened to her more important statement, which said that maybe gossip isn't so bad afterall, especially if you consider what gossip reveals about us. She then gives a few shameful examples, that I would never have thought of before, and which are yet so importantly representative of our conception of how people should behave, and which is particularly revealing as to the distinction we make between what a man and a woman are supposed to do in order to fit to the adequate social image he or she carries. As I will put the video down below, I will not go into much detail about the examples stated, but there were examples about how infidelity is so badly considered for a woman, whereas a man can not only continue living his life as if it never happened, but is even rewarded of being a Don Juan! Other examples such as violence against women, the social expectations of women in relationships or even how having a baby and being a mother are perceived as the ultimate accomplishments for a woman in life, beyond whatever other great thing she may have done during the rest of her life. 

So, after all, as Elaine Liu herself says, is gossip really that bad, when we see all the inequalities that not only exist, but that we see and do nothing to change, or worse, that we encourage? I literally feel like I've had a punch in the face after this lesson of life, and I hope that you will feel the same way after seeing this video!

Have a great day and keep your mind sharp!

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