Stories|Part of Inside Our Collections

The dangers of women’s speech

Europe has a long history of criticising or poking fun at how women talk and what they choose to discuss. Social sanctions meted out to so-called ‘gossips’ and ‘nags’ include ostracism and ridicule. Many countries also criminalised being a ‘scold’, punishing women with violence ranging from being dunked in water to being forced to wear a muzzle. But do women really gossip any more than men?

Words by Christine Ro

  • In pictures

About the author

Portrait of writer Christine Ro.

Christine Ro

Christine Ro is a writer and editor whose work is collected at