zooey deschanel speaking

Ladies! Men hate your vocal fry! That thing where your voice sounds creaky and strained, sort of like your grandmother? That is vocal fry and Bob Garfield over at NPR thinks you sound vulgar, and awful, and you need to stop doing that vocal fry thing right now. It’s not cool, okay? That means you, Zooey Deschanel:


Why do women keep doing this?

Look, as a woman, you are trained to make yourself non-threatening in a variety of ways. Speaking in a loud, booming, commanding voice is the most threatening way to speak, because it implies that you are well educated, well brought up, and assertive. While these are all objectively good traits, they are also traits that can scare people who seem less secure. So women are always trying to find ways to speak that make themselves sound less threatening.

Remember Valley Girls? Valley girls spoke like lobotomized children:


But then we were told that you couldn’t do that. Like, really, you could not. No one would ever take you seriously if you phrase everything you say as a question. But, again, if you talk like Margaret Thatcher, which is to say, perfectly (in part because she was coached by Laurence Olivier):


Unless you are the PM, people are going to think you are somehow being affected or pretentious or trying to make them feel stupid by comparison. If women are trying to modulate their voices to sound less scary, well, there’s almost nothing less scary than a grandmother with a bit of a sore throat. It sounds feeble, and weak, and, yes, creaky. But it does not sound threatening to anyone. And, I think especially if you have a persona like Zooey Deschanel’s, which is built upon not being threatening, that would be the kind of voice you’d want to cultivate.

So, that is why young women keep doing this dumb, annoying thing,