Vonny Leclerc: How writing like a girl makes us sabotage our ambitions

Women risk being called curt and bossy when they’re direct, and not getting things done when they soften things up AS a writer, I regularly think about words. As a woman writer, I think a lot about how those words are ‘heard’. And I’m not alone. There has been a growing preoccupation with the way women speak. I’ve read countless articles on uptalk (the rising inflection that makes a statement sound like a question) and the obsession over vocal fry (a snappy name for “pulse register, laryngealisation”, or a sort of creaking out of words) that makes female presenters “impossible to listen to”. Then there’s, like, the random sprinkling of sorries, likes, justs, that diminish our supposed “executive power”. Yadda, yadda, yadda. If you’re a woman bobbing your head in agreement, spotting yourself in these habits, stop. Men do these things too. Their voices fry, they upspeak, but there’s no spate of articles telling them to sort it if they want to get ahead. Men’s speech, written or aloud, is the default authoritative voice. Their speech acts are set against a portrait of a naturally powerful speaker. Predictably, there’s an entire industry preying on women’s anxieties about their careers, […]

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