Here & Now Here & Now

Support the news

Feminists Battle Over Vocal Fry11:18
Download

Play
Among those known for vocal fry: the Kardashians. From left: Khloe Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian and Kim Kardashian in September 2011 in Cerritos, California. (David Livingston/Getty Images)
Among those known for vocal fry: the Kardashians. From left: Khloe Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian and Kim Kardashian in September 2011 in Cerritos, California. (David Livingston/Getty Images)
This article is more than 5 years old.

Vocal fry is becoming more and more prevalent in the American cultural pantheon, but is that a problem? In a Guardian column last week, author Naomi Wolf wrote that vocal fry - the gravelly vocal effect that happens when one lowers the pitch of his or her voice - has a demeaning effect on the perception of women, making them sound, as Wolf puts it, like "a Valley girl might sound if she had been shouting herself hoarse at a rave all night."

Wolf argues that women should avoid using vocal fry to avoid being disregarded or disrespected. Oxford professor and feminist linguist Deborah Cameron disagrees. She argues that policing the way women talk is a harmfully limiting tactic akin to policing the way women look. Cameron discusses her response to Wolf's column with Here & Now's Robin Young.

Guest

This segment aired on August 5, 2015.

Support the news

Support the news