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Men, It’s Time to Embrace the Group Chat—And Admit You Love to Gossip

Some bros claim that gossip — and, in particular, the group chats known to facilitate it — are explicitly feminine. Excuse me?

Men are the pettiest bitches I know.

Don’t try to deny it, dudes. You’re well aware. I mean let’s just say, hypothetically, that your whole male friend group is assembled in one place: You’re gonna be busting one another’s balls, ideally with an even distribution of burns. But if a member of the crew didn’t make it? And had some weak-ass excuse for why he couldn’t hang? Then you’re mostly just gonna rag on him. You’ll talk about the time he puked in the Uber or got dumped via text message. You’ll wonder if he can “get his life together” at some point.

Yet, as the tweets below suggest, a strange assumption endures among certain men. These bros claim that gossip — and, in particular, the group chats known to facilitate it — are explicitly feminine.

Stuck in a heady fog of misogyny and homophobia, they’re repulsed by any digital conversation among multiple men that is not confined to organizational concerns (putting your fantasy football league together, for example).

I’m not sure where boys got the idea that a five-way message thread with no set agenda is the same as rubbing dicks. They sure don’t have a problem shooting the shit at the bar, anyway.

Maybe, blinded by their privilege, they don’t realize how necessary these cozy spaces can be for women and marginalized groups who deal with endless harassment on social media and microaggressions in real life, or how most of these ongoing exchanges have little to do with the spread of salacious rumors.

Maybe they know their douche-y behavior sometimes winds up being discussion fodder in these circles. And then there’s the possibility that they love group texts — but can’t admit it.

What evidence do I have of this? Anecdotally speaking, I’m confident that the manchat is a thing. I remember a group of buddies keeping a single mass email thread going for years — we even called it the “brochannel” — simply so we could make fun of anyone and everything else in our general internet orbit. I’ve got text groups with college pals where we share the dumbest stuff that made us laugh that day, usually Nic Cage memes or tweets from the band Smash Mouth. There have been men-only Slack rooms for confiding problems and seeking advice. All of this has improved my quality of life.

Plus, if you think the male-centric message boards and forums and subreddits you’re posting on aren’t just public group chats, I’ve got some bad news. Why not afford yourself the protection of a smaller, self-selected clique, and a platform for casual talk that can’t be screencapped by any old rando with Wi-Fi?

As for the line that gossip isn’t masculine, check this out: studies have shown men actually gossip as much as, if not more than, women. This stuff is thought to make up the vast majority of conversations, and a vanishingly tiny fraction of it is malicious.

Most gossip, by contrast, is a societal good — key to navigating the human community and establishing norms. It could have been a major step in our evolution. Gossiping may even help us to reduce stress levels.

When men put down group chats as idle female nonsense, they’re saying they don’t believe women have anything worthwhile to discuss.

But the only reason you’d feel threatened by some low-key chatter is if you think they’re making fun of you — or you aren’t dishing enough yourself.

There’s reason to believe that gossip between men has more to do with status and ego-boosting than it does for women, and that it’s part of the glue that holds male friendships together.

If you doubt the quality of moral support a solid group text provides, consider what happened to the guy who went off on them as “some female shit” in the first screenshot at the top of this piece: He had to delete the tweet because everyone was roasting him for it, and then he spent days melting down every time someone said he must not have friends. Pretty manly reaction here.

Never would have happened if you had a group chat, dude.