Women have taken a lot of flak for such speech mannerisms as “vocal fry,” upspeak” and reliance on, you know, filler words — mannerisms widely shared by men, who typically get a pass from the vocal police. Even feminist Naomi Wolf decried such tics in a recent letter to young women, warning they were being “hobbled” by vocal habits that signaled submission, hesitancy and weakness.
Why the double standard?
“Young, urban women are the leaders of language change,” says Auburn Barron-Lutzross, a linguist and UC Berkeley Ph.D. candidate, in a new article in California magazine.“So when something new happens [in female speech], people will become critical and maybe even disturbed and say, ‘That’s not how the language is supposed to sound!’ But it will continue to spread.”
Wolf et al. notwithstanding, the article contends that the women under attack for substandard speech are, in fact, “speech innovators.”
“Regardless of what anyone thinks of a woman’s voice or manner of speaking,” its author writes,”if it’s not getting in the way of communication, then the critics should probably just get over it.”
Read the entire article, “I Can Fry if I Want To: Why Are Females Chided for Vocal Tics That Guys Use Too?”