Note: I wrote this piece years ago, when Gossip girl was still starting out. Now that I’ve come back to loving it again (and still on my way to Season 5) I decided to revamp this article and post this on this blog.
I actually knew Gossip girl as a book series back when I was still in high school. (Note: I’ve finished college already.) Today, every high school and college girl must have heard of Gossip girl. This is because Gossip girl has turned into this sensational TV series featuring super fashionable clothes and a ridiculously good looking crew.
Gossip girl is all about a certain group of affluent students in Upper East Side, New York who are in a seemingly tight place to be climbing up an already crowded social ladder. The most controversial crowd includes:
1. Blair, the “Queen Bee”, a daughter of a famous fashion designer also known as evil sugarcoated, used to getting whatever it is that she wants
2. Serena, a reformed party girl and Blair’s best friend
3. Nate, Blair’s long time boyfriend who fell for Serena
4. Chuck, a rash play boy who is the son of a rich businessman. Like Blair, he is used to getting whatever it is that he wants…including Blair.
5. Jenny, a middle class girl trying to get into Blair’s posse, and fucking up her life many times in the series
6. Dan, Jenny’s brother, became Serena’s boyfriend after a few fateful meetings
Gossip girl features this anonymous web site where everybody who is a somebody is featured. This web site thrives in nothing but gossip—who is dating who, where they’re going to college, what (insert name here) wore during the last pool party, who is the latest social climber, etc. Basically, every other person’s life in the Upper East Side is just another tragedy waiting to happen.
What alarms me is that this show has a lot to do with problematic female behavior. Males where taught to deal with difficult situations physically. Two men eyeing the same woman at a bar? A fistfight finishes the story. Computer game buddy getting on your nerves? Fistfight finishes the story. A cheater at gambling? Fistfight all the way. (Not that I encourage it.) However, women are not “trained” that problems should be dealt with physically. Instead, women adopt a slyer and scheming approach: gossip.
The show Gossip girl feeds the notion that gossip is okay and that it is an effective defense against people who seem to want to destroy your life. A gossip is countered by a more poisonous gossip, and this starts a cycle of hatred where there is no end goal but to murder the image of a person. What’s more, the danger multiplies because in Gossip girl, the people are expected to hang out with a particular posse, which is composed of people who are willing to invent the nastiest rumor just to protect a member of this posse. Basically, it’s just like the classic Filipino frat war—just as heartless albeit bloodless.
Moreover, there are a lot of things in Gossip girl which are disapproved by most Filipino minds today. Things such as casual sex, cheating, rebellion, revenge, drug addiction, gambling, catfights and social climbing are presented in Gossip girl in a very natural way, as if it is as natural as the sun rising and setting. What’s worse, they sugarcoat these cultural detriments by hiding them under the coat of glam and good looks.
As one of the most awaited shows of the whole world (thanks to outstanding marketing), Gossip girl received mixed reviews during their first few week of airing. In fact, the Parents Television Council of America labeled Gossip Girl as “Mind-blowingly Inappropriate”, “A Nasty Piece of Work” and “Every Parent’s Nightmare”. If that’s not enough, people who ACTUALLY live in the Upper East Side also accused Gossip Girl of over-glamorizing their lifestyles. Tsk tsk.
Anyway, I won’t be a hypocrite here. I AM also addicted to Gossip girl. It was that addiction which made me examine it a little bit deeper (I actually rewatched Seasons 1 and 2!). Sure, the clothes are great and everyone is just ridiculously attractive. Gossip girl is a guilty pleasure, a sin chamber, and you know you love it (anyway). But we have to take a good look at our values again and not be taken by this storm of “mis-values”disguising as a TV show.
So, whadya think? 🙂