03 November 2010

Young girls talking about themselves

"Great minds discuss ideas; mediocre minds discuss events; shallow minds discuss people."

The above quote that Arcadian mentioned in her "no judgment" post is one my mom once told me, though I forget the context of why it was said. Both my mothers are pretty awesome, and this mom has always steered me through the thorny briar patch of life with pretty sound advice ("if you don't want anyone to find out about something, NEVER EVER WRITE IT DOWN." - sorry mom, I have a journal!)

I think people use the above quote to probably keep young people from gossiping. ("Now kids, stop talking about the new kid at school and go play hopscotch")

In my University class on Chick Lit (yes, really) One of the topics I presented on was Sex and the City, and the notion that women often build friendships through talking. Like the girls on the show do - witty banter back and forth, most of the time they talk about other people. And the generality of "girls talk, boys do stuff" when it comes to friendship feels like common knowledge to me. And girls like to talk about other people. Or themselves. Or both.

So there we have it:

"talking about others makes you a low and petty person."

"women like to talk about themselves and other people"

"women are low and petty people"

which, ok, I already knew that stereotype was going around (along with how irrational we are and stuff), but I never realized how much I felt guilty for talking about people because of this uncontentious connection I was making in my head. I can't want to talk about people I know, that makes me one of THOSE women. One of those "Sex and the City" liking girls. Because after all if women like it it must be stupid. And so talking about each other and ourselves is just us being dumb and petty and things.

I'm coming to a couple of realizations:

1. Facebook. Everyone loves facebook. And facebook is ALL about other people. Talking to them, yes, networking, yes, but you're doing it ALL on a public forum - Everyone can see your conversations and is welcome to opinions on all your relationships and interactions. There's even a status button for your relationships, which everyone gets to comment on if you change. There's a reason social networking has exploded all over the internet and it's because everyone is interested in everyone else - whether they choose to talk about it or not.

that's because 2. we are a social species. It makes sense that other people interest us - we spend most of our time surrounded by other people! Having knowledge of other people actually DOES translate to real business-y world know-how - didn't we cover that in networking?

All of this has been brewing through my head for two reasons, 1 - the quote we started off with and 2. this video:

Catchy. But is that what us young girls talking about ourselves really sound like? "I was like, he was all, OMG, totally" - and do we still sound that way as young women? old women? And why aren't boys the same way - too busy playing computers and inventing things I suppose, right?

In conclusion: I've rambled on a subject that I would like to be more academic about, but have mostly failed at sounding as academic as I would like. I am proud to say I enjoy discussing people, including myself - and I would challenge people who say this makes me petty to hop off their facebook account and come and have a word with me, because I thing discussing people, relationships, words said between people, and other people in general makes sense in this social world of ours.

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