Friday, August 14, 2015

This Summer’s Media Tsunami Over the Way Women Speak: 4 Camps – Who Are You Bunking With?

Whether it be an Amy Schumer parody, an NPR thoughtful “trialogue,” a linguist, doctor, student or an ex-Google executive’s take, this summer’s 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 how we are perceived.  Today’s verbal fashion trends – vocal habits including filler words, up-talk, vocal fry and incessant apologizing -- are contagious and pervasive.  They weaken our speech, making us sound unsure, and yes, maybe even incapable.  

Suffice to say, I am fascinated by this summer’s 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 #sayitlikeyoumeanit mantra and blog – I’ve had my ear to the sand, tracking the coverage.  

So, who is winning the media war over the way women speak?