Stigmatization of casual news sharing (gossip)


Often times, when an important story breaks, the news first leaks out via informal channels. A rumor gets started, it spreads via the grapevine, and eventually it is verified or disproved.

Sometimes, organizations, from churches to corporations want to suppress ‘gossip’, they always claim a higher moral ground when doing so. Recently some negative historical data about our elderly assistant pastor was being circulated, I won’t go into details here. No official acknowledgement, but only admonishment to ‘avoid gossip’. I’ve seen this tactic in the workplace as well. Only condemnation of rumor sharing.

Is the admonishment not to gossip often used to suppress and stigmatize the exchange of information?

And, women have been, traditionally, information bearers since caveman days. In female society, knowing information and sharing it have been a way to exert social influence and clout. I’m speaking from an anthropological point of view. Women are more communicative that men, and have fulfilled that societal role. I notice that the Bible frequently admonishes women for being tongue waggers and gossips. Is this because of the general patriarchal point of view of Scriptural times that seemed to aim to keep women in their subservient places?


“news sharing” is not the same thing as gossip

example of news sharing “our co-worker bob got a promotion yesterday, isn’t that great?”

example of gossip “can you believe bob got a promotion? why him of all people? he must have bribed the boss”

gossip is sharing information that should not be shared, rumors which are untrue or unverified and can really hurt someone.


I still go with Miss Manners on this when I’m unsure about whether to pass on information. “Is it necessary, is it true and is it kind?”




No. Its because unless someone is doing something to harm a church or someone else, gossiping is slandering someone who could have completely repented of his sins and now is being stigmatized for past problems.

You said it yourself; woman are more communicative than men, so if they hear about something, they’re going to talk about it. That’s why the Bible (as you say) warns women to watch their tongues; its an easier sin for a woman to fall into than for a man.


You make quite a few “leaps of logic” here and likewise make some “sexist” remarks in implying that men want to surpress women from casual talking. The admonishment not to gossip has nothing to do with “caveman days”. Really? Until you or someone in your family become a victim of gossip and it’s damage, you best be quite. I am always amazing how people become all twisted up with it. You gave an example of some kind of old news about a previous pastor. Unless it is verified by facts, then talking about some kind of back burner old news is just that, gossip. It’s one thing to talk about who got a new job, someone moving away, who is having a baby, examples a basic new sharing. Then it is another to start sharing why someone is divorced, what happen with the last jobs someone left, etc. Those types of “news” is gossip and none of your business. This isn’t rocket science, it is common sense and sadly that is a rare commodity these days.


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