Thank You, Lake Bell

13 August 2013

This highly annoying encounter typically happens to me when shopping at retail stores. Please tell me if you’re familiar: I walk in and a relatively equal in age shop clerk (fine, maybe a wee bit younger) approaches asking in a voice that does not look like it belongs to her body if “I am looking for something in partiCUlar?” The “Cu” in the word “particular” is oddly high pitched and it’s almost as if she’s talking like a little girl with a hiccup at the end of every sentence.  I usually respond “no,” mentally tick the box of “it happened again,” and go about my business. On multiple accounts said shop clerk will also go about her business and I’ve witnessed her conversing with another shop clerk in an entirely different voice!  A lower, less creaky, a more normal voice, meaning, her real voice!

What in the hell is going on?!

Vocal Fry, creaky voice and up-talking have all acted as conversation fodder amongst my friend group for quite sometime. I’ve basically become obsessed wondering how in the  hell this happened, paranoid I might fall victim and begging the question of why it won’t stop.

Finally, the brilliant Lake Bell has defined it in her new movie, In a World.. as “the sexy baby vocal virus.” Exactly.  In a recent interview with NPR’s Terry Gross, Bell says:

“The vocal trend that is infecting the female youth in this fine nation is the sexy baby vocal virus. It’s a huge problem for a myriad of reasons, one being…is that sexy? Because…I think what is intended is this submissive ‘I’m-a-12-year-old-and-you-can-tell-me-what-to-do’ [thing], which I think is pretty weird for that to be considered sexually enticing,”

Now, please understand by no means am I saying that all women need to have a smooth, jazzy, soft voice at all times. Even I have fallen victim to the vocal fry.  I’ve noticed it more so when I’m communicating my emotions, where my research as lead that it’s due to my vocal cords being in a state of constriction due to physiological emotion and experience.  I suppose, I could look at it as a test of character that I am expressing myself even during a heightened episode of emotion.

I know I am not in a constant state of emotional flux.  It’s somehow gravitated into modern women’s every day voice and I’d just really like to say, enough is enough.  Let’s use our real voices.  This is appealing to no one.  Leave the creakiness + the lump in throats for when you have something big to say. Deal?

I love you too.


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