Why Gossip and Fashion really are Matters of Life and Death.

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Offline adriaanb

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Why do women find it more important than men to be in on the latest fashion trends? It couldn't be just to look nice for the opposite sex, because most men hardly notice it. I believe the reason lies in our evolutionary background.

We evolved as hunter-gatherers. With men mostly hunting, and women mostly gathering. Hunting requires plenty of skill, obviously. Compared to hunting, gathering seems a pretty simple task. What I want to show is that the occupation of gathering wild fruits and vegetables is far from simple. It is a highly information intensive occupation.

A tree full of fruits is a temporary store of valuables you encounter by chance. The female that finds it comes home with enough fruits for her family, and one important bit of information. Where others can find wat she has.

Who should she share that information with? In her best interest, she should share it with someone who will return the favour another day. So she can go and get fruits and vegetables and feed her family another time. The best person to share that with is the one that always seems to be in on the latest finds. She is the most likely to be able to let you in on the next bargain to be had.

This is why it is important as a woman to always show you are in on the latest finds. It will get others to share the information on their finds with you, which in the end is what gets you that regular stream of fruits and vegetables you and your children need.

Gossip has always been a good way to show off the quality of your information network. Fashion is a present-day signal between women intended to sort the ones in the know, from the ones out of it. Of course, fashion wouldn't have been an efficient signal before the introduction of easily changeable, mass produced clothing. But is is now. And clothing and gossip have more uses, but there is a seperate interest to the gatherer mind to signal being up to date.

Female status is geared towards showing you are close to the information through signals like fashion and gossip, because gathering is all about getting the information in time. Women still dedicate a lot of effort to keeping up with the latest finds, because once it really was a matter of life and death.

For a more complete explanation, and some other ideas: