My husband came home from work today and told me about a Freakonomics podcast he had been listening to about gossip. Apparently someone surveyed rich and poor people about their habits and found that poor people gossip way more than rich people (79% compared to 6%). Gawker's very own Nick Denton was interviewed and took exception to those findings, arguing that
It's simply a matter of saying the things that [poor people] talk about, the people that they talk about aren't important. It doesn't meet the standard or news so let's call it gossip...the people who decide what is news and what is gossip are the privileged people who look down on lower class [sic].
This reminded me of a conversation we recently had with another couple: the female half was complaining about a (work-related) issue she's having with someone in her office. This prompted my friend's husband to say that she gossips too much and she should just do her thing. This bothered me, but since I wasn't about to call him out on it (not worth it, he just gets defensive and I'm not the one who married him), I didn't think too hard about why it bothered me. Tonight I realized it is because of the implicit misogyny of him faulting his wife for gossiping too much. Gossip is, in essence, about interpersonal relationships. Historically, women were confined to the private sphere and so they had little else to talk about but interpersonal relationships: they generally weren't allowed to be in business, and why talk about politics when you don't have a vote and voice? And even today, girls and women are socialized to pay close attention to interpersonal relationships. It seems to me that "gossip" still has a gendered connotation to it. So of course those in power in our society decided all of that stuff was worthless, a waste of time, something to be looked down on.
What do you all think? Does the idea of gossip have an implicit gender and racial component to it?