Gossip often gets a bad rap.
……funny how that works, right?
For example, have you ever felt like the guy standing behind you in the grocery store buying canned ham is ACTUALLY judging YOU for lingering at the tabloid section? Has someone blatantly rolled their eyes at you when you quietly mention that you are and always will be on team Jen? Or how about getting scolded by your colleagues for only following every Kardashian and every man they’ve ever dated on Twitter (a total of about 250 people).
I can’t say that I’ve experienced this much in my own life, seeing as how my Bachelor Recaps seem to get more attention than anything else I’ve written … ever. But, I do know it happens.
Some people just can’t handle that most people like judging other people. Get what I’m saying, people?
But yesterday at the beautiful Terence Robert art gallery in downtown Ottawa, a fierce presence in the celebrity world was on hand to set the record straight on why gossiping can actually be a healthy cerebral exercise.
That someone was none other than Lainey Lui, eTalk host and creative mind behind laineygossip.com.
Not only did I have the chance to sit in on the intimate group discussion she hosted “Rumor est immortalis”, (one that Lainey announced would not be taking place in Toronto, amid big cheers from the collection of Ottawa fans, bloggers and “smuthounds”) but I had the privilege of sitting down with the celebrity maven for a one on one interview.
Her message was a clear one: “I’m tired of us feeling ashamed to be gossiping.”
For Lainey, her believers and really anyone who’s logged on to a celeb site, it can be about more than just getting your fix of the day’s hot goss.
“Nobody reads a story, any story, without placing their own history and experience into that story and interpreting it accordingly. So, when we talk about celebrity relationships it’s almost a way to talk about our own relationships. A way to establish boundaries with our own friends, with our own lovers. Celebrity gossip is a very safe way to dictate a code of conduct. When you talk about somebody dating and cheating, in essence your communicating your expectations for a relationship. How you would feel if you were in that relationship. And maybe subconsciously you’re passing that message on to that friend, or that girlfriend, or boyfriend about how you’d like to be treated.”
In many ways, how we react to the antics, triumphs and failures of celebrities can be seen as a study in social behaviour.
Does the fact that the headline of the New York Post the day after the Kristen Stewart cheating scandal leaked was “A TRAMPIRE is born” mean that women are still judged much more harshly for their sexual behaviour, in and outside of relationships?
Does her fan base erupting over the fact that Stewart – who’s Twilight character Bella is a young, impressional girl with a purity standard – had an affair mean that society still doesn’t like to see a young woman explore her sexuality? … Funny how only TODAY did provisions in the Affordable Care Act make birth control free for insured women in the United States. Almost A CENTURY after it first started being circulated in 1914.
Does the recent popularity of 50 Shades of Grey and … TEEN MOM … mean that women are regressing? That females are becoming complacent with seeing women take on a more passive role in society?
And what does celeb gossip say about the way we now communicate in relationships? Sure, the social media world went into a frenzy when Demi Moore (still using the handle @MrsKutcher) tweeted for the first time since filing for divorce, but wouldn’t your friends act the same way if your ex sent you a sassy tweet? Mine would (/ have).
Does the fact that any tom, dick and harry (or should I say, sam, deena and snooki) can become a celebrity overnight reflect the decline of the world economy? That the gap between celebrity and non-celebrity is closing? That young university and college graduates are getting stuck in the rat race more than ever before and will turn to outrageous behaviour to make their mark on the world?
Maybe you don’t agree with the above statements, but you should be able to agree there’s a valid argument there, at least.
As Lainey aptly pointed out, gossip is not new and it’s not going anywhere:
“We’ve been gossiping from the dawn of time. What that means is that gossip, as an activity, has been with us forever. We are born to gossip. We are born to talk about people. We’re born to discuss these types of matters. It’s just the subject matter that has varied. 600 years ago we gossiped about royalty and the court of Louis IXV. Two generations ago we gossiped about John Kennedy. Today, we just happen to be gossiping about Angelina Jolie. The act of gossiping has not changed.”
Lastly, I could not really turn down the opportunity to ask a smart, successful, CANADIAN, woman – who started out as an independent blogger and broke into the world of mainstream media – what her advice would be to a group of aspiring young professionals.
“Be okay with saying ‘I don’t know’. I think there is a compulsion, especially with young women, to come out of university and become the power woman. You expect to strut down the corridor and say ‘I can do whatever you think I can do.’ There are benefits to that and there are certainly advantages to it, but there are more advantages coming into a work place and saying, ‘Teach me. I don’t know, but I really, really want to learn.’ I really think that is something that will get you farther than powering into an environment not willing to do and start at the beginning. I think that the danger sometimes in today’s society is that people want things too quickly, too much. For some reason we’ve been told that life is there for the taking and opportunity and success can come so quickly, but it’s more rewarding when it comes slowly and at your own sweat and blood and effort. “
Perhaps the biggest thing I took away from a lecture that really did make me think and reflect on the state of society, was that I have the upmost respect for someone who writes intellectually, dares to be different and worked her way to the top… in a nutshell.
Now, what are you waiting for? Go catch up on what Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise are up to today.