You need a flow chart to keep it all straight.
It all started some years ago, because of some ambiguous beef between Pusha T and Lil Wayne and Baby. Then, this summer, Pusha T said some things on his album about Drake not writing his own lyrics. Then Drake responded with an especially-angsty-even-for-Drake song that dropped the name of Pusha T’s wife. Then Pusha T responded with a song calling Drake a deadbeat dad. Then Drake was allegedly going to respond with an alleged song that allegedly would’ve ended the careers of Pusha T and Kanye West—who, allegedly, was the person who Pusha T got inside info about Drake from—but was allegedly talked out of it by J Prince, who apparently is hip-hop’s Keyser Soze.
Then, a few weeks later, Kanye took a break from his MAGA snapback shopping spree to apologize to Drake. Then, a few days or weeks or hours after that, he went on Facebook Live to tell Drake to stop insinuating that he slept with Kim Kardashian. (I’m not sure which of these things happened first. Related: I don’t care enough to find out.)
Things were quiet for a month or so until Drake went to his dad’s barbershop tax write-off and spoke again on the feud. Like literally 17 seconds later, Pusha T—whose name must be Swahili for “nigga with braids and without chill”—appeared on Joe Budden’s podcast to reveal that he got the info about Drake from a woman who Noah “40” Shebib was sleeping with.
Of course, this months-long back and forth between millionaires about who called who a poopyhead first has been a popular topic of conversation amongst the sorts of people who know who these people are (myself included). It is entertaining. It is fun. It is the source of jokes, memes, gifs, roasts, smoke and decent music. I think it even conceived Travis Scott. It is also (more) proof that all of the people who told me—as a kid and as a teen and even as an adult—that “men don’t gossip” and that “gossiping was for women” are full of the deepest vats of shit.
We (men) gossip about sports. In fact, most of the conversations we have about sports now are rumor and/or speculation based, which is a fancy—a MANLY— way of saying gossip. We (collectively) give more shits about whether Jimmy Butler sends read receipts for Andrew Wiggins’s texts than how many points he scored last night. We gossip about politics, about TV, about music, about family, about coworkers and about women. Holy fucking shit, do we gossip about women. All the study hall and school bus conversations in high school about who was going with and/or fucking who? Gossip. All the GroupMe and text threads existing today about who did what and who hooked up with who after brunch? Gossip. EVERY SINGLE BARBERSHOP CONVERSATION EVER? Gossip. And with this Drake/Pusha/Kanye mess, we’re gossiping about other nigga’s gossip.
This affinity for gossip isn’t limited to any particular subset of men. Baby-boomers gossip. Millennials gossip. Lawyers and doctors; teachers and fireman; baristas and bus drivers; accountants and exterminators? All gossips. Church people? Gossips. Shit church people gossip so much that they sometimes forget to have church.
The difference, of course, is how it’s regarded when men gossip. Since what men say about things is more likely to be believed than what women say about things, our gossip is more often considered to just be a revealing and dissemination of facts, and this phenomenon stretches back to the playground and the homeroom. When Ricky Johnson said, in 11th grade, that he heard that Melissa Atkins had sex with Adam Henderson, the takeaway wasn’t “Ricky’s spreading rumors about Melissa and Adam” but “Melissa and Adam are fucking.” Our gossip matters more, not because we’re men and it’s more likely to be true, but because, since we’re men, it’s more likely to be considered true.
Despite this unambiguous proof, we are taught and we are told that women and girls are the natural gossips—and that gossip is a feminine thing. (And also that calling a thing a “feminine” thing is a pejorative.)
It’s so ingrained, this idea that women (and only women) must gossip—that they’re the only ones who enjoy the dance of standing in everyone’s shit and speculating about the shit they ain’t standing in—that it’s not uncommon for any conversation women have with each other to be considered gossip.
“What y’all over there gossiping about?” said the man entering a room of coworkers who happen to be women having a conversation.
“You going out with your girls to gossip, huh?” said the TV boyfriend to his girlfriend.
“What were your aunties and them gossiping about in the kitchen just now?,” said that same boyfriend, who maybe needs some new words now.
Auntie could’ve been in the kitchen discovering a homemade cure for bubble guts, but because she was talking to other women, it was just gossip.
I’m not saying that gossip is bad. I mean it can be very hurtful and destructive, but so can really bad pancakes. I don’t want to ban pancakes, so I don’t want to ban gossip. Just that the gendered connotation of it is dumb and needs to stop. I’d write more, but I need to go finish this, um, MANLY conversation I’m having with my boys right now about Lonzo Ball’s body language last night.