The tone of a voice

Someone wrote…

I’m a very masculine woman. I am read as male most of the time.

I can often immediately tell whether a person sees me as male or female, just by the tone of that person’s voice. It’s an interesting and horrifying experience.

Males who read me as male speak in a lower register. They speak to me as though I am a viable human, and as though I am a part of a club or group which has other valid humans as members. This speech inherently aims to exclude all non-legit humans (mainly women, although non-males more generally). If a man sees me as female, he speaks to me in a more sing-song voice, and speaks under the assumption that I’m incompetent.

What’s your experience?

And what are you thinking about gender right now?

Posted by on December 16th, 2013 at 08:00 am

Category: your voice One comment »

One Response to “The tone of a voice”

  1. Mori

    I’ve had this experience too, especially while working at a home improvement store. People who read me as male had no problem asking advice about tools and equipment and taking my response without question, or asking me to lift heavy things. People who read me as female wanted a second opinion and would coo “Oh you poor thing, why don’t you get a big strong man to help” even when I was easily moving 50 lb bags of fertilizer or large trees. When people’s perceptions switched mid-interaction (usually from hearing my voice) the change was incredible. I like to tell these stories to guys who claim that feminism is unnecessary and women are completely treated as equals now. It is pretty horrifying.


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