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Why Can't I Keep Secrets?

Jan 15, 2014

Image credit: PostSecret
By Emily
We’ve all heard a thousand and one jokes about how when men speak, they say what needs to be said and keep the nattering to the bare minimum while women can talk the hind legs off a donkey.  While this is a stereotype that’s mostly true – why is that a bad thing?  Quite honestly, I’m sick of being told through jokes and societal norms, that the way my gender communicates is just wrong – women are 51% of the entire planet, why is it that we are the ones who are bad at talking?
Men may think that by cutting straight to the point that they’re communicating more efficiently; removing extraneous details from conversation streamlines their speech for sure but also removes emotional content.  Famously poor at discussing their emotions, it really shouldn’t surprise me that men don’t like the padding that women put into their conversations but while women are waffling on to one another, they’re storing all of the information away.  Every extra detail, the tone of voice, the pitch, speed – all of this helps determine the speaker’s emotional state and therefore their intent which means we can interpret what they’re trying to say more fully.
Maybe it’s the sheer volume at which women talk which is off-putting to society; women are the highest users of chat apps and services online, so we’re apparently prattling on in person and on the internet.
Most people have an online presence of some kind where they can share information about themselves publicly, whether it’s PostSecret, the Whisper app or tumblr blog.  Then there are other spaces they have where they can share their secrets anonymously and talk about the most private thoughts and feelings.  How is this behaviour any better or worse than your run of the mill office gossip or reading entertainment news?  The desire to hear or read these scandalous pieces of gossip is just as strong online as it is in the real world but somehow trying to read about the latest celebrity controversy is socially acceptable, but trying to find out if Sheila in accounts is pregnant is looked down upon.
And how many times have you heard a woman say, “You didn’t hear this from me, but…” and then spill her guts about something she probably shouldn’t know in  the first place? Gossiping and swapping social commentaries is very clearly a natural female behaviour as we’re almost obsessively interested in what’s going on around us and want to know as much about the people in our lives as possible.  Perhaps it boils down to the fact that knowledge is power; in a patriarchal society, the more a woman knows, the more powerful she is.  The more secrets she is privy to and the more personal information she acquires, the more dangerous she becomes.  This is why we tell our secrets to friends we trust, who we believe won’t spread our personal information around because, should it fall into the wrong hands, it can be used against us.  Unfortunately, the urge to tell your own secrets and get them off of your chest is just as strong as the need to tell someone a secret you’ve been entrusted with – if every woman feels these urges and acts on them (don’t pretend you’ve never broken a confidence!), then aren’t we all equal?
Basically, we’re all telling secrets, we’re all talking more than men and we enjoy doing it, so never let a man tell you that women talk too much or that you should shut up and listen for once.  We’ve spent plenty of time listening and we’ve taken in everything they’ve said, how they’ve said it, why they said it and what they didn’t say. That’s how we know that they’re cheating on their wife with the babysitter.  That and the fact that his neighbour told us already.

If you do feel like sharing some secrets, tell us your best memories of Candy Bar on our new share wall. #CandyBarConfessions.

Emily is the Community Manager of Dattch as well a part-time film reviewer and full-time cookie monster.  She can’t walk in heels, is a cross-breed of Essex girl and Londoner and makes cupcakes like nobody’s business.  Find further nonsense from Emily on Twitter @moulder5000

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