The taming of the shrill

language: a feminist guide

During last year’s UK General Election campaign, Richard Madeley told readers of the DailyExpress:

I can’t get enough of Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood. That gorgeous accent! I could listen to it all day. It’s warmer than sunlight shining through a jar of honey.

Madeley wasn’t the only commentator who found the ‘warm’ or ‘lilting’ quality of Wood’s voice a bit of a turn on. Over in the USA, by contrast, it’s become a truth almost universally acknowledged that Hillary Clinton’s voice is a turn off. It’s been described by commentators as ‘loud, flat and punishing to the ear’, ‘decidedly grating’ and, inevitably, ‘shrill’.

The extent to which her critics have made an issue of Clinton’s voice has become a mainstream news story in its own right. Yet the topic of the male voice has barely featured in discussions of Clinton’s rival Bernie Sanders, nor in reporting…

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One thought on “The taming of the shrill

  1. Almost all male characteristics are seen as “goodness” – and godness personified. Beard, height, voice, penis, testicles, body strength, square jaw, etc. made items of speech, names we use to this day. How many of you use “testify” rather than witness?

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