You often see them in the streets chatting spontaneously. But without any idea, they may be scooping a juicy piece of information about you.
Known as the counterpart of America’s Karen, the creative minds of the Filipinos invented the existence of the infamous chikadora of the town, Marites.
To find out the meaning of Marites (Mare, ito ang latest) is undeniably funny. Aside from its witty name, one thing we all knew for sure — it became a meme on social media everyone can relate to.
Social scientists define gossip as any talk about someone who isn’t present. It’s also usually about something we can make a moral judgment about, and it’s entertaining.
But before judging every Marites we all know, take time to ponder the factors behind their existence.
‘Tsismisan’ is embedded to our culture
Even in the Spanish colonial era, the ‘tsismisan’ culture is already embedded in the Filipinos. As we watch films depicting history, we often see the representation of Marites.
Moreover, gossiping served as a coping mechanism against the Spaniards during that time, according to Social and Behavioral professor Dr. Djonde Antiado.
She added, our ancestors were able to disclose trusted information, which is vital to their survival and well-being as a whole.
Escape from the problems and everything
The art of conversation is therapeutic, perhaps for most of us. Marites can also attest to this notion.
Just like in a typical sitcom television series, existing obstacles are often attached to a family — and it’s normal. For Marites, gossiping with the next-door companions serves as a breather to escape from the problems inside their homes.
At the end of the day, we all have our own coping mechanisms.
Leisure and refreshment
If someone out there can enjoy their beer-up sessions with their friends, what would hinder Marites to catch up with their ka-tsismisan?
After doing loads of household chores, they need spare time for refreshments. Apparently, they don’t have too much leisure. They deserve to release their enervation through conversations.
Now, social media platforms make their life easier. With just a click, spilling a tea is a piece of cake.
Warm weather, warm mouths
When the weather is too warm, it’s not just the body that feels the urge to shower up—Marites also feel the gravity of her mouth to go out and meet the confidants.
In the Philippines, sweatiness is real most of the time. Going into an open-air somehow relief the sweltering feels. Of course, once they see the neighbors stirred with the latest chikas, we already know the drill.
Academic experts have something to say, too
Definitely not gossip or rumor, but academic experts claim that gossiping is not necessarily a negative deed. According to the evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar, gossiping gives humans the ability to spread valuable information to very large social networks.
Furthermore, scholars suggest that gossiping can be a form of cultural learning. A study supports that gossiping allows an individual to learn from the triumphs and misadventures of people beyond one’s immediate perceptual sphere.
Meanwhile, assistant professor of psychology Megan Robbins believes that gossiping is just social information. She added, we typically learn a lot about the social world around us when we gossip.
As you feel the urge to read this article until the last part, let me tell you this. Keep in mind that it’s not a good deed to talk about others without their presence, especially if it’s something derogatory and malicious. We all know that, for sure. Unfortunately, it becomes customary not just for Filipinos, but also for other cultures.
On the other hand, not to be a hypocrite at all but I think each one of us is Marites in our own ways. Ask yourself: ‘Have I gossiped about someone else’s life?’ If yes, stop rolling your eyes to the next-door gossipers.
How about you? How do view the persona of Marites? Feel free to share your thoughts!
John Alfred Esmilla is an aspiring online journalist and educator. In his free time, he plays Mobile Legends and watches reality shows. A pitcher of coffee fuels him. He believes that height is just a number, so don't dare to ask it. His love language: acts of service.