Whether it be an Amy Schumer parody, an NPR thoughtful “trialogue,” a linguist, doctor, student or ex-Google executive’s take, the media tsunami over whether the way women speak affects how they are perceived continues to splash up on our shores…but like sand in your bathing suit, why is the issue so irritating and why is it creating such a rash?
We’ve obviously hit a (vocal) nerve. We all want to speak in a way that inspires confidence – that compels others to listen. To build rapport, to gain consensus, to be civil in our discourse, many women (including yours truly) use uptalk, filler words (so, like, ya know?) and apologies as a more humane way of communicating. But the fact is, for better or worse, the way we speak does affect we how we are perceived. Today’s verbal fashion trends – vocal habits including filler words, up-talk, vocal fry and incessant apologizing are contagious. They can weaken our speech, undermine our meaning and make us sound unsure, and yes, maybe even incompetent.
Suffice to say, I am fascinated by the voice-patrol-mania, the abundance of coverage, the positions taken, bragging rights, and the breadth of outlets that are making this issue their feature story. With my own #SayItLikeSo mantra, suite of speech apps, LikeSo and LikeSo PRO, and blog – I’ve had my ear to the sand, tracking the coverage.
I wondered…who is winning the media war over the way women speak?
It’s time to take stock. So here is my media analysis, broken down into four camps (riffing off of four song titles.) Who are you bunking with?
- Let it Go! (7)
- Both Sides Now (3)
- Funny the Way it is (3)
- A Change Would Do You Good (8)
LET IT GO!
“There is no way to take the woman out of her own voice, nor should there be.”
– Lara Devgan, TheDoctorWeighsIn.com.
Mashable, Stop Telling Women How They Should Speak, Rachel Thompson, Culture Editor.
Fast Company, Contributor, Jessica Bennett, Culture Editor at the New York Times, “What a Speech Coach Told Me About Speaking Like A Women (and Why It’s BS),” Jessica Bennett, contributor and Culture Editor at the New York Times.
Huffington Post, “Want A Lesson In How People Judge Women’s Voices? Start A Podcast,” Emma Gray and Claire Fallon.
New York Mag, “Can We Just Get Over the Way Women Talk?” Ann Friedman
Slate, “I Uptalk and I Creak. YourComplains Wont Change That.” Caroline Zola.
TheDoctorWeighsIn.com, “TheProblem with the Way Women Speak,” Lara Devgan
BOTH SIDES NOW (ALL SIDES, OR NO SIDES)
“Should we change because women with years of experience advise us to alter our word choice and vocal chords? Should we stay the same because there is power in that as well?”
– Susan Cohen, The Forward
NPR’S Fresh Air with Terri Gross, “From Upspeak to Vocal Fry: AreWe Policing Women’s Voices?” Linguist Penny Eckert, Journalist Jessica Grose & Speech Pathologist Susan Sankin.
The Forward, “The Summer of Women Policing Other Women,” Susan Cohen.
FUNNY THE WAY IT IS
“Sorry, did you want that?”
“Sorry, can I scoot by you?”
“Sorry, I’m just grabbing something.”
“You wanted to talk first? Oh, sorry.”
– Inside Amy Schumer, “I’m Sorry Skit”
Inside Amy Schumer, “I’m Sorry”
Saturday Night Live, “I Can’t” (from March, but so great!)
The Toast, “Examples of Male Vocal Fry” Jaya Saxena
A CHANGE WOULD DO YOU GOOD
“We should not ask young women to put on fake voices or to alter essential parts of themselves. But in my experience of teaching voice to women for two decades, when a young woman is encouraged to own her power and is given basic skills in claiming her own voice then huge, good changes follow.” – Naomi Wolf, The Guardian
Business Insider, Shana Lebowitz, “How 2 common speech quirks can destroy your reputation at work”
Cosmo, “This is the One Word You Need to Stop Using at Work Immediately,” Ellen Petry Leanse.
Fortune, “Like, Totally Don’t Talk Like That to Get Ahead in Business,” Gina Barnett.
The Guardian, “Young Women,Give Up the Vocal Fry and Reclaim Your Strong Female Voice,” Naomi Wolf.
Robb Report, “Sorry, Not Sorry, Why Women Should Stop Apologizing,” Sheila Gibson Stoodley.
ManRepeller, “A Week Without Sorry,” Margaret Boykin
New York Times, Sloane Crosley, “Why Women Apologize and Should Stop,” Sloane Crosley.
The Telegraph, “Women Do Need to Man Up and Stop Using the Word Just,” Josephine Fairley.
So, who are you bunking with?