Gossip and gender differences: a content analysis approach

Eyal Eckhaus, Batia Ben-Hador

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this study, we attempt to evaluate gender-based differences in gossiping habits, subjects and sentiments. In order to do so, a mixed methods research approach comprising qualitative and quantitative analyses was employed. Questionnaires were filled out by 2230 participants, and an open question format was used, with participants imagining a scenario in which they are invited to describe to a friend, a person they had just met. Our findings suggest that, quantitatively speaking, women and men engage in the same amount of gossiping activity. Nevertheless, gender-based differences are apparent in the subject of gossip. Women gossip more about social relationships and physical appearance than men. It was also found that women's gossip is more positive than men's. Qualitative analysis of the data provides a more complex picture. For example, while women gossip more about physical appearance than men, their descriptions tend to be couched in positive terms, although they are deployed to emphasize other salient negative traits. This research therefore contributes to the refutation of gender-based stereotypes about gossiping.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-108
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Gender Studies
Volume28
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2019

Keywords

  • Appearance
  • gender
  • gossip
  • relationships
  • stereotypes
  • traits

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