Gossip. Men are not like women. They do not sit around and talk about stupid pathetic things like clothes, eating habits, weight changes, pimples, and hair (My bad for asking about how I can get rid of the pimple! sorry! I guess I was engaging in a prohibited activity!) They also do not sit around and talk about each other and, “Did you see his pants?! They did not match his shirt!” No: they hear our gossip and they get up from their seats and go somewhere else to distance themselves. And they will keep going until they reach their spot which may include: A large screen TV tuned to Sports Network where even a shot towards the basket is dissected and analyzed. Then–AND ONLY THEN–does men’s gossip starts: “Bro!! Did you see where his foot was? HIS FOOT WAS TOUCHING THE LINE!!” and ” Omg: This is insane! His ARM went all the way back!!” and “He is bad ass!! Did you see how he jumped?” and “That dude is weak! Stop passing the ball to him!! IDIOT!!”—-Or maybe if he is not a sport’s kind of guy, the TV will be tuned to the Nightly News where the anchor is proud to announce BREAKING NEWS (like a chatty gossiping woman who cannot keep her mouth shut for two minutes– OR a woman who cannot keep a secret to save her life…at least that is what we would be called if we did the news first)…. “We have a story just happening right now for you—a man was seen wearing a hoodie and walking down the street… A few minutes later cops arrived at the scene… We are not certain of what the situation is right now… But we will keep you updated!!”—- Oh my goodness: Women do not sink that low! We do not watch random people in the street and tell all of our friends about it—ALL AT ONCE! How manly is it to think that the entire world is interested to know about the man you saw? I mean: Men’s gossip reaches around the world the minute it is happening. They run to see who that man was and what he was wearing and whether he said anything to anyone or not–and Was his voice shaky? “Tell me…Tell me EVERYTHING!” And who is he dating and where does he live? —– He is digging deeper than when a woman asks another woman, “So…how was he?!” after her date spends the night at her place. Men’s gossip is scary and it is officially recognized by the National Gossip Association (if there was one).
Being an Arab woman, I can tell you one thing: The only women who can match this gossiping speed are Arab women who are living in the same apartment building. In Jordan (where I am from), it takes only a few minutes for the entire city to know any single piece of new information. The funny (scary) part is: The person who this information is about may not even be aware of that information about him yet. S/he will learn about what happened to her/him from others. And that is how men’s gossip (aka: news) is: They will tell you where the suspect was before he can figure out where he frantically ran off to. By the way: what men call a “suspect” is equivalent to women’s: “Did you see Jenna? She looked like she was up to no good! she is just acting shady lately! She keeps looking at her phone…”. At least women would never see, “a man was wearing a hoodie…” as being something that has brought enough attention to notice that the cops were connected to that man. They may see a man wearing a hoodie…ignore it…then see the cops…and not realize that the man who was wearing the hoodie was the person behind this until he is arrested. But men are watching—and they will see a man wearing a hoodie and they will keep an eye on him until they see the cops—- THEN: they will break the news without any shame whatsoever. Yet, when it comes to women and their gossip: Women are breaking the news in “hush hush” tone because of the shame it may bring to the entire extended family OR due to the fact that shame is still pretty much attached to many of a woman’s behavior all over the world! So yes: we are gossiping in each others ears because heaven forbids that anyone else will hear what that woman did. And men: They are gossiping for a living in a shameless manner where someone is “officially” and “righteously” and “proudly” doomed at the end—But it is okay because he is a man!
Arab women, as many other women, gossip a lot since every step she takes and her sister takes and her friends take can mean the difference between life and death. What everyone sees: it needs to be told. Because imagine if people kept their mouths shut? She may get killed without ever seeing it coming. Instead, a “woman suspect” will hear about what others have seen or heard about her before she arrives to the “Deadly scene”. Although in the Middle East, when women gossip, it feels like they are attacking each other and restricting each other; we cannot forget that women are bound by rules that are restrictive of them to begin with. Hence, when Arab women gossip, they are not exaggerating the situation or speaking about silly things. No: they are speaking about situations that the culture has unnecessarily exaggerated AND they are talking about things that SHOULD be silly and insignificant but are made into a matter of life and death.”I saw Selma come home late for two nights in a row!” This is a silly thing if it was not due to the consequences such behavior may have on the woman. To tell these women to, “shhh!! Do not say anything!” dismisses the fact that IT IS A BIG DEAL! It is not due to her making it a big deal that it is a big deal. No: her reality says that this is a big deal—It is not in her hands to make it into NOT A BIG DEAL. If it was in her hands, then…well…it is not in her hands. Instead of telling women to not gossip, let us tell the men to let go of these rules! Same here in the west: “Did you see the clothes she is wearing?” and “Did you see how much weight she has gained?” these SHOULD be small insignificant things that sexism has made into a HUGE deal— a deal big enough to measure a woman’s worth and the quality of life she has and deserves to have. To tell women not to gossip about these silly things is to ask her to take ownership over the silliness itself in a world where this silliness is exaggerated despite her. It is as if we are telling her that the reason why weight is important is due to her where she herself is not bound by that patheticness. Therefore, in many situations, we cannot tell women that they are the problem for gossiping since we would force her to have ownership and power over the way things are when she does not have ownership over the significance they have or the power to change it. So, as a result, women gossip…
The “Correct Way”: When we tell women to stop gossiping about each other, we want them to behave within the realm of what is “correct”. Yet, imagine if we are living in a world where sexism and all of its issues did not exist: we would speak about what is “significant” and what is “important” in a manner where we do not have to watch out for what we say. Meaning that a woman would be able to express how she feels about another woman where the negatives just do not exist. The way humans are naturally made to behave is not for the “wrong sexist world” that men made—it is for the “correct way”. And within this “correct way”, we would not be wrong for speaking the way we do since the content of it would not problematic (as the world is today). I am born and she is born to speak about what is important and significant to us–it is not our fault that these things are filled with pathetic and silly things. I can tell you a million times that you and I do not have to be a size zero: but reality demands it where we may not feel good about ourselves otherwise since that aspect is acknowledged as a huge part of ourselves by others who dismiss the rest. We are asked to be the “only correct thing” in a world full of problems against us. Is this not a problem in the “demanded appropriateness” that women need to live by? The “appropriate weight” and the “appropriate attire” and the “appropriate walk” and now let us add, “the appropriate things to say about each other”. I mean, let us ask women to look like they do not have one stressful thing in their lives and: she is hot! We want “hot” and we do NOT want to remove the stress in her life! Wow, very magical. Same here: we want “be polite” and we do NOT want to remove the problems we are launching her way. That would be very very hot! Would that complete your order? $12.23 at the second window…
So now we have these things: The way we are, the problems, the significance of these problems, and our ability to express ourselves and express what is on our minds. Gossip-banners want women to forget about the problems and their real significance in women’s lives—and they want them to restrict the way they express themselves so that they do not harm other women with these problems as if they are not affected by these problems themselves. Hence, gossip-stoppers want to add another problem to women where if we were in a better non-sexist world, she would not be wrong in how she is expressing herself and in expressing that which is significant to her. So not only is there a problem in this world where women’s lives are revolving around pleasing men, now there is another problem: the problem of speaking and expressing that issue and the affects it has on women where her dress size is detrimental to her survival. And let us not forget that if a woman was to say, “Did you see how fat Monica has gotten?!” that she finds that to be unacceptable onto herself too to a point where she views her own weight to be part of herself and what makes her the woman she is today. When a woman criticizes the weight of another woman–she will criticize her own weight too. And When a woman says, “Fatima has not been going to school as she said she was…is she doing inappropriate things with men?”—let us not forget that this gossiping-woman has also been (and still is) bound to live as if this is part of her “self” and what makes her the woman she is today. If she was doing an “inappropriate” thing with men, she has already been forced to accept it if others talk about her or shame her.
I know that many women think that the problem in women is that they gossip—some may even place their bets on that being the origin of all of our problems: women hating other women. But that is so far from the truth–no where near it. Here are a couple of proofs: First in the west…Let us say that a woman spoke behind another woman’s back talking about her weight and how she looks. The significance of weight and looks on the woman who spoke it is in relation to the world and society she lives in (in the Middle East, gossip is more focused on other areas). What she said about the other woman is also in regards to herself. Furthermore, the significance this gossip has on the woman it was spoken against is also in relation to their significance in society. Before asking what the significance of weight and looks are in society, let us ask: what is the significance of women in society? From the LOOKS of it, you would think that they are everything and nothing at all (size zero, if you will). So, I am urging you to: SAY SOMETHING, WOMAN! Before you say anything, however, the East will provide a lot of clarity in regards to this issue. The second proof is in the East: A woman may say, “Did you see Shireen? She was talking to a man by the bus stop!!” What a piece of damaging news is this and how small should it be? What is the problem here: rules or gossip? You may say, “why don’t women cover up for her so that she is not killed for such behavior?” In the Middle East, men have rules that women need to abide by. Some of these rules are honor killings and arranged marriages. Men, however, are not abiding by these rules. They are approaching women as if he lives in the UK–modern shit. So why is HE approaching these women in this manner when he is the one putting rules that can kill women if she was seen talking to him? You do not get the fruit of chasing women with the grime that you forced women to settling into. You do not get to be a man from the UK in living life and then believe in honor killings when it comes to your own sister. So this man the woman is talking to: what does he expect from his own sisters? Most of the time, you will find that these men expect other men to not talk to their sisters. He is harmful already! When that man talked to that woman, that is attempted murder: according to him! There is nothing I hate more than men who expect the world to treat their own children and siblings with a level of respect he is not able to offer to the children and the siblings of others. SO Why should they not cover up for her?—-Why did he not leave her alone? He knows that they will see her as the problem–he made sure that they will see her as the problem. Why are we not wagging our fingers at that man instead! Again: Why not cover for her? If that man covered for his own sisters, he would cover for her himself! And let me be honest: if women cover up for that woman…men will use her… but she will be bound back to the culture thereafter in such manner where she religiously believes in it as being better. Hence, to blame women for not covering up for other women, it allows for men to live a life where women are used all while restricting women back to the culture when they are done using her. The men are the problem in that culture. Period! He is a UK man to other women and an ARAB man to the females in his family! Nope: HE IS NOT ALLOWED! He insisted! He is not allowed either, okay?!
I understand that we have two things to worry about here: The significance of issues that a woman is facing. And the significance of gossip on these issues and on women. Here is an issue: Appropriate sexual behavior is a significant issue that women must deal with. The significance of gossip on that issue and on women depends on the damage that issue has done and is promising to do onto women. Opinions: What is the significant of other people’s opinion? I say that people’s opinion is needed. What is the significance of your opinion to others? To many women, it is only significant when it is “gossip” style and when it is damaging. This gives the appearance that the significance of our opinion as women is: HURTFUL. And what is the significance of a woman’s opinion in regards to how she lives her life? Is she allowed to live it in agreement to her own views? Is her opinion only regarded when it comes to catering to the way others want her to behave? Does she think highly of herself although she is not allowed to do anything past what society has demanded of her? -In regards to the last question: I think that would be a sign of a systematic abuse against her where her children will have lower opinions of themselves as they manifest what came from that abuse. Does she think low of herself while not being allowed to do much past what is demanded of her from society? I think this is how a lot of women feel today. So first, let us ask women to shut-up as a topping on that pie. Then let us tell her that her opinion is not important–and it is not important in regards to how she carries her OWN life and in regards to the interests she has outside of societal demands—and then; when she tries to stretch out her arms to reach a place where there maybe evidence that her opinion is indeed important, let us slap her on the hand so that she may never reach it. “Rosie looks so fat!”—-Breaking news: women are evil! Why is her opinion important all of the sudden?
Here is what I say: I say that if you want to tell women to stop gossiping about each other, then you should not tell them that they are the problem for gossiping. No: the reason why women should not gossip about each other is because they are NOT the problem–and in gossiping about each other, they are distorting the perception of other women and their own perception in regards to what the problem is and who is responsible for it. So that when a woman says, “she looks fat” and that gossiping-evil-woman ends up gaining weight later on in life, she does not see herself as the problem for it. But still I ask: what is the significance of, “she looks fat?” and why is her opinion important all of the sudden? And what is the significance of receiving this comment? and what is the significance it has on the realization that a woman’s opinion is important and that there is only one evidence of it—where that evidence is a negative onto another woman? does it not confirm that our opinion as woman is truly an unimportant one? In a world where women’s opinion is only respected as significant when it is negative towards other women, I call that a, “magnifying glass”–A mirror we are holding for other women so that they may take a closer look at their pimples. It is not that hard to see that gossip is a sign that women are abused. Let us be stuck on collecting evidence as to why women should shut up and why they are inferior: 1. women should shut up because they hurt other women’s feelings (as if they matter all of the sudden)! 2. Women should shut up because they do not know how to respect a man correctly (she needs to give him her life AND talk to him correctly too…apparently). 3. Women should shut up because men are talking! (and only one mouth can be operating at a time). 4. Women should shut up because she needs to protect other women (can she get a break? she needs to protect other women too while she is not protected?) and so on and so forth—– to pick on women: is this the purpose of life?
I get it. I get the horrible effects of being unable to walk from point A to point B without everyone criticizing your every move. And it is sad that women are often the ones speaking about other women (although if society saw her in a positive light, that would not be such a sad thing). And it is heartbreaking how women often spread the news in regards to what other women are doing (although, again, if society celebrated the achievements of women, this would not be such a heartbreaking event). I absolutely agree that women should stick up for each other and not bring each other down (although this sounds stupid knowing that she is not the problem itself). And I enthusiastically give a two-thumbs-up to the idea that women should protect each other (although, let her protect herself first, right?!). Why sit there and gossip about this woman and that woman? What business is she of yours, lady?! Although; I am sadly, heart-breakingly, absolutely and kinda enthusiastically lead to ask: What business was she and is she of his? Now that is a better question! Right?
Am I saying that women should continue to gossip about each other? Am I saying that it is okay for one woman to talk about another woman behind her back where if the other woman was to find out, she would be hurt by what was said? What I am saying is that if you do not want to slip, do not grease the floor. Meaning that there are many issues that men have created for women where she was made to go against herself. If you do not want her to criticize another woman, let her not criticize herself first. And if you hate the unbearable noise of gossip, then this would be resolved if women are not going against themselves. But to tell us, “eww… you women are just horrible towards each other” is an insulting imaginary observation that is neglectful of how horrible he has been to us. No: I would much rather have women not talk about each other in a harmful manner. I would much rather them not talk about each other where they cannot trust each other any more. But when she cannot trust other women and runs off to the arms of a man for security, what does this say about the trust she has in herself? And what does this say about his role in how women perceive each other and themselves? “Oh come here baby! I will be the one who shelters you from these horrible women! I will tell you how much I love you where they will only talk about you behind your back!”—-a cunning move where his feet are clearly outside of the line although he is refusing to call it a foul! Am not done: When this cunningness is the default of existence…and when men are acting as if they are ones standing on the side line watching women go at it… and when they have created a toxic society while continuing to tell women, “why do you care so much about your make up and hair” as if he has nothing to do with how she feels….then a woman may feel like the issues she is dealing with are only significant to herself and herself alone….. hence, only when women gossip, it becomes clear that this is a societal creation to no fault of women. Otherwise she may feel like her weight and her looks are only a pathetic concern that she has. Women against each other: wow…let us real quickly just cross the part where he was against women …there you go…and if we just take this part over here and remove it and take that part over there and bring it to the front…just one more second..almost done…I gotta take this from the middle and put it in the back…there you go…then yep: Women are so horrible towards each other! I wonder why?! Very weird.