Spotted: HBO Max’s Gossip Girl reboot is set to arrive on July 8, nine years after the original series ended and the masked bandit was revealed. With a more diverse cast and adult network, the spin-off of the 2000s hit show will continue to focus on the day-to-day lifestyle of Manhattan’s young elite. Kristen Bell is even set to return to narrate the iconic anonymous blogger we’ve all missed. But so much has changed about the nature of gossip, technology, and scandal since the original aired — namely, the advancement of social media. In the noughties, the idea of all-knowing social power was eerie and provocative. Now, it’s basically your Blind celebrity site. Between TikTok social recappers and Instagram tabloids, how will Gossip Girl survive in the Deuxmoi era?
When Gossip Girl first aired in 2007, Twitter was in its earliest days and Instagram hadn’t been invented yet. The idea of an anonymous blogger who oversees everyone – and is everywhere – was as original (and socially spooky) as it got. In a world not yet dominated by social media voyeurism, Gossip Girl was its world’s go-to website for drama. Every step taken by Blair Waldorf and Serena Van Der Woodsen was mysteriously publicized and spread far and wide, and the audience ate it up, doe-eyed and scandalized.
But in 2021, there are over 3.78 billion social media users worldwide, which corresponds to 48% of the current world population. When the first season of the show aired, receiving updates about the lives of your peers was nuanced, like Perez Hilton’s blog and formspring had an evil mutant baby. Nowadays, it’s much easier and commonplace to receive information about your favorite celebrities, influencers, and friends through social media. Everyone with a phone can post a picture and tell a story. Anyone can embody Gossip Girl.
“In 2021, is ‘Gossip Girl’ still an original idea?”
Today’s social media users also willingly share so much information about themselves online that there’s little room for an anonymous blogger to publish something new — we’re too busy exposing ourselves. According to a 2021 report by Data Reportal, the typical user spends an average of 2.5 hours daily on social media. Want to figure out who is dating who? Craving high-fashion outfit inspo? Want to gawk at the lives of the rich and elite? Just head to their Instagram profiles.
But here’s what Gossip Girl still gets right: Even if people are oversharing information about their personal lives, most are only interested in posting a highlight reel. So, where do you go to read the juiciest and most scandalous stories? In 2021, the answer is easy. Everyone with a pulse can tell you that our contemporary equivalent is celeb Blind Instagram page @deuxmoi. During the earliest days of the pandemic, the anonymous woman behind Deuxmoi’s profile asked her then 45 thousand followers – leftovers from a defunct style blog – for celebrity stories. And boy, did they deliver.
The account published many unverified celebrity drama, including the infamous rumor that Leonardo DiCaprio vapes and wears headphones while having sex. The user running the blinds remains anonymous to this day, even though some celebrities — Hailey Bieber included — claim to have figured out her identity. With almost a million loyal and dedicated followers, she’s more careful with her posts, in order to avoid legal issues. The account doesn’t publish names unless she’s 100% sure about the information. When the news is confirmed by a tabloid or the actors themselves, Gossip Girl – I mean, Deuxmoi – republishes her own Instagram story with the big reveal.
Deuxmoi now has its own website, where people can share their stories anonymously, using a pseudonym. The site receives information from a variety of sources, including pedestrians, publicists, industry insiders, and even friends and family of celebrities. But everything remains anonymous. While its Instagram feed is full of memes and fashion photos, the drama unravels in her Instagram stories, available to its followers for 24 hours. Since there’s no forum to debate the objects of her Blinds or discuss rumors, fans have created groups on Facebook and Reddit to talk exclusively about Deuxmoi’s posts.
“In 2021, anyone can embody Gossip Girl.”
On Facebook, there are two popular groups about Deuxmoi’s posts: Le Gossip Shoppe and Deuxmoi L’Unofficiel. (Both are private, but you can request to join.) In the comments, every step taken by each celebrity is being dissected — even private details, like how they flirt on Raya. Both groups have less than 10 thousand members, but multiple posts each day that garner thousands of comments each. J.Lo and Ben Affleck are back together? Must talk about it. How do Ana de Armas and Jennifer Garner feel about this? Let’s speculate! It’s like the Met steps, virtually brought to life.
These groups are also responsible for originating rumors: a subreddit called Deuxmoi, where people can hide behind usernames, then ask: “Any tea on insert-here-your-favorite-celebrity?”
“His ‘desperate to get married’ act is just a lie,” says a member, about an A-List actor. The comment has hundreds of replies with theories, photos, and stories someone heard from another someone. Most times, no proof – just gossip and hearsay.
Hank Davis, Ph.D, Psychology professor at the University of Guelph tells Her Campus that sensational news and gossip are essentially the same thing. “The difference is that sensational news is aided by technology,” he says. According to Davis, who also authored Caveman Logic: The Persistence of Primitive Thinking In A Modern World, people have been gossiping since the Pleistocene age, when it was essentially a method of survival. When humans lived in small groups, talking about the other members was a way of understanding who were the people on your side, and if they were dangerous or presented some kind of threat to you.
Gossip was also a way to devalue someone’s reputation — something we still do to this day. “We look for things that’ll bring someone’s reputation down, so that’ll leave a space for us up there,” Davis says. “In a sense, that is what is wrong with this whole system, we’re doing things that made sense a quarter of a million years ago, and we can’t break free.”
“It’s like the Met steps, virtually brought to life.“
Gossip comes naturally to us, but doesn’t necessarily make sense in our current society, as we no longer exist isolated, living in small groups. “For the same reasons we have two eyes and giraffes have long necks, that strategy led to reproductive success,” he says. “Gossip was selected for us.”
So, can society avoid gossip? “Not without great effort and pain,” Davis says. In a world where everyone is connected to their phones all the time, gossip has become quite easy. With just a simple follow on Instagram, or being a member of a group, you can know almost anything about your favorite celebrities. Even things they wouldn’t like to or have chosen not to share. Gossip comes at the cost of someone’s private life.
Both Gossip Girl and Deuxmoi each offer something that feels vital, even if we try to deny it. We’ve been gossiping, speculating about others for years. Gossip Girl ended almost 10 years ago and we’ve only become more comfortable spreading sensational news now that social media rules over our lives. If the reboot is anything like the original series — filled with drama and shocking revelations — it won’t just survive in the Deuxmoi era, but thrive. Even if the technology or concept is no longer nuanced, we are a society obsessed with slander and we’ll take it however and wherever we’ll get it. Gossip, as it turns out, never goes out of style.
H. Tankovska/Statista. (2021) Number of social network users worldwide from 2017 to 2025.
DataReportal. (2021) Digital 2021.
Hank Davis, Ph.D, Psychology professor at the University of Guelph
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