YOU TALK LIKE A GIRL

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What is a ‘gay voice’? Where does it come from? And why is there so much shaming going on around it?

by CIARAN R MAIDWELL

There are many ways for us to express our identity. We can change the way we look, the things we’re interested in, the way we dress. But one thing we’re pretty much stuck with is our voice. Sure, we can tailor the words we use to a particular situation or a desired persona, but the actual sound of our voice is difficult to change. This puts us in a very particular paradox, because most people hate the sound of their own voice. In fact, not liking the sound of your own voice is so common that there’s a term for it: voice confrontation.

A common explanation for this phenomenon is that because you normally hear your own voice while talking, you receive sound in two ways: sound transferred to your ears externally by air conduction; and sound transferred internally through your bones. The bone conduction of sound delivers rich, low frequencies (which make your voice sound deeper to you) that are not included in air-conducted vocal sound. So when you hear your recorded voice without these frequencies, it sounds higher – and different. Basically, the reason you hate hearing your recorded voice is that it doesn’t sound the way you expect it to.

However, some studies have shown that…

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