A new book 'Duels and Duets' being released tomorrow examines the different ways men and women communicate and roots the differences in human evolution and biology. As an example, women are less likely to confront someone directly, preferring to talk behind a person's back to avoid conflict. In an excerpt from a Salon interview published yesterday, the author John L. Locke states, "The word gossip has a pejorative sound to it, but with it, women are, in a sense, servicing the moral code of the community. One study of gossip showed that gossipers were concerned about women who are bad housekeepers, and women who are bad mothers, and women who are promiscuous. Those things are all threats to each woman in a community; therefore they have every good reason to want to talk about those things."
Locke describes the practice as 'dueting' and explains, "'When women are dueting and trading in intimate disclosures about themselves and their friends, they’re fortifying a relationship. If you disclose secrets, they could harm you if they’re distributed, especially to foes or rivals. So dueting tends to be reciprocal."
Locke added that men generally show their strength when communicating by 'dueling' and playing off each other with banter, playful insults, and straight-forward talk to establish social ranking and hierarchy amongst themselves. Duels and Duets is being published by Cambridge University Press.