U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

"Sword of a Woman": Gossip and Female Aggression

NCJ Number
247391
Journal
Aggression and Violent Behavior Volume: 19 Issue: 3 Dated: May/June 2014 Pages: 196-199
Author(s)
Francis T. McAndrew
Date Published
June 2014
Length
4 pages
Annotation
This article discusses the use of gossip by women as a form of female aggression.
Abstract
This article discusses the use of competitive gossip by women as a form of female aggression. In general, gossip can be used two ways: as a way for individuals to learn the unwritten rules of a social group or culture, and as a low-cost form of punishment to deter deviance as well as to enforce cooperation with the group. Gossip can also be used as a way to manipulate the reputations of others either by passing along negative or incorrect information or as a means for detecting lies and betrayal in others. The article discusses studies that have examined how women use gossip, particularly as indirect relational aggression towards other women. The article also highlights research that has shown the differences between men's and women's use of gossip, the different forms of aggression used by the two groups, and how the dynamics of competitive gossip plays out in the real world. Suggestions for future research are discussed. References