Featured Image: a picture from a hike I went on in 2021
“Meadow reporting” means just what it sounds like it does: reporting on the meadow.
In a literal sense, the meadow is just that. Maybe you’re a cavewoman coming back from the meadow to report to the tribe that the red berries in the northwest corner are poisonous and that the southwest corner is covered in red ants. And now nobody gets attacked by red ants, and no one eats the poison berries (besides the guy you watched eat the berries first).
Maybe you’re a 1600s housewife churning butter for your stupid husband while your friend knits hats for their stupid 13th child that nearly killed them. After you tell a few mundane stories, you might report on the meadow (that is, the village) that the well water is no longer safe to drink because you’ve seen so-and-so dump waste into it, so your friend stops drinking the water too, and everyone else in town gets sick and you and your friend get accused of being witches. Your friend also tells you that she’s seen your husband at the tavern talking to what looked like a 14-year-old prostitute, and so you decide not to sleep with your husband anymore, and he dies of syphilis.
Maybe you’re a 2000s college girl having a meeting before going out for the night. After you’re finished getting ready, someone mentions some frat you all should go to, but the girls have been scouting the frat meadow. They’ve talked to enough girls that they know it’s no longer a safe meadow to go to. You guys decide to go to a sorority party and sure, there are fewer men to flirt with but you are glad you did because you hear a few weeks later that half the frat got Title IX’d* for what they did that night. Also, during your debrief report that night, someone tells you the guy you’ve been talking to was making out with another girl at the party.
Because for centuries you and your girls have been reporting on the meadow; you have been keeping each other safe and informed, even entertained.
Unfortunately, our meadow reporting has been rebranded as “gossiping” because we’re women. Men gossip just as much as women, but because we’re women we can’t possibly be having intelligent conversation. Oh, look at those girls and their chittering about things that don’t matter– it was meant for us to look mean and airheaded. They made chatty women something to be avoided, or worse, something to punish.
Men stigmatized our meadow reporting so we wouldn’t snitch on them. Because you don’t scorn a woman with a blog— I mean a woman with a large social circle and loose lips. They don’t want us to gossip because that means we’ll all know what they did. If they can demonize the gossiping, they can cause it to be distrusted.
Demonizing gossiping is a great tool for abusive men, too. They love to isolate their partners because you can’t report on your meadow without a live studio audience. You can’t warn others, and you can’t get feedback on if you’re actually crazy, or just being gaslit.
And meadow reporting is not just about warning about danger.
I find myself reporting to my mom about the Stop and Shop meadow. How busy it was. How the grapes were too expensive. How the chip shelves were mysteriously empty last week and this week they’ve all become 5-6 dollars.
I find myself reporting to women I just met. Sometimes the meadow is the ladies’ room: there’s no toilet paper in there, the lock doesn’t work, the toilet doesn’t flush, there’s no soap, there are no paper towels.
I find myself meadow reporting to my friends about the traffic on 95 or who’s posting that they just got into a relationship or telling them about the insane date I went on last night.
Talking about our day ad nauseam or even gossiping about who’s getting divorced and who just died is all part of reporting on the meadow so that we can go on with our lives with the most up-to-date knowledge possible. You might think we’re being chatty** and giving extraneous details but we’re doing it for commiseration and the dissemination of knowledge.
Because how embarrassing would it be to be the last to know so-and-so died after eating 1 too many hot dogs (now we know the limit) or that the store is out of milk (now we know to conserve what we’ve got) or that that priest down the road might be a pedophile (keep the kids away) or that so-and-so takes advantages of girls he takes on dates (don’t go on a date with him) or that so-and-so mechanic might rip you off (find a new mechanic) … the list goes on.
How do we know without a little gossip?
* Getting ‘Title IX‘d’ means they got in trouble for committing a sexual assault. Realistically, they probably would not get in trouble. No one would report it because reporting rape is a painful and arduous experience. But they’d probably meadow report, and the girls would know.
** An incorrect and unsourceable statistic used to go around that men speak 7,000 words per day to women’s 20,000. This has since been debunked: a study by the University of Arizona found that women spoke a little more than 16,000 words per day, and men only a little less than 16,000 words. Furthermore, girls in the classroom get very little speaking time versus their male peers.