• Tamra Coveau

Vocal Fry?



Is Vocal Fry empowering or disempowering to women?

Answer by Tamra:

Language and vocality have always reflected hierarchy.

Women may have evolved to be linguistically adaptable to use nonverbal communication tools because of patriarchy.

Both genders use vocal fry, vocal tone, volume and pitch to communicate messages. The messages we send and accept reflect our acceptance of cultural norms or desire to challenge them.

Studies suggest women unconsciously use higher voices, which emotionally appeal to men in order to communicate attraction. Studies also suggest that men and women both associate lower-pitched voices with authority which women are sometimes encouraged to adopt professionally.

As women, we continue to be criticized for using either or both to our advantage. It is not just the means to power, which is objectionable in a patriarchal society, but the desire for it.

Celebrities who use vocal fry to stand apart from competition may be doing it to engage and bond with their fans, increasing their own celebrity agency.

It is certainly nothing new to use voice flexibility in Hollywood to gain the desired effect. Marilyn Monroe among others used husky, breathy and baby style voice as part of her agency to command audience attention. Is sexual power not legitimate power?

It seems that once you have equality, which is the power to rule yourself, the voice you have is the only one you need. In the meantime, the voice you have may be a tool to getting what you need, whether that means speaking out, speaking up or speaking to blend in or to stand out.

The ability to get what you want is a measure of your power, but so is what you give up in order to get it. If we disguise ourselves and our true voices to fit what we accept as a more desirable version, we may win societal acceptance, but at a personal price.

Our voices reflect more than ourselves, they reflect our values and our value, our position in life, our beliefs and our goals. All of our speech, our words and our non-verbals are symbolic and full of meaning.

Vocal fry is more than a trend, it is a negotiation tool. It is a deliberate message from the speakers about the way they believe we perceive them and about their own acceptance of that belief, which is the cost of being heard.

To be heard, you need more than a voice, you need someone to be willing to listen.


#vocalfry #feminism #sexism #patriarchy #voice #agency #power #celebrity

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