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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Gender Issues » Does my voice have a gender?

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Author Topic: Does my voice have a gender?
Member # 29269

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I'm curious about how we assign genders to voices, and how we feel when people do that.

For example, on the telephone, when someone finds out that I'm a young person (I'm twenty), I often get told that I sound like a thirty or forty year old man, which I think is kinda rude. Some person I don't know well seems to feel the need at this time, basically, to tell me that my voice doesn't match my face.

It's not just that they're telling me I sound a different age than I am, it's the thing they don't even acknowledge they're doing - assuming from my voice that they can call me a "man" - that annoys me.

I don't know if I have to consciously change my voice - which, if I go with habit, is very deep - to make it "match" how I feel about my gender identity. Lately, whenever I notice whatever pitch my voice is in, I get very self conscious, wondering if it sounds more masculine than I want it to, or, if it sounds less deep, whether people think that sounds deliberately put on.

How do you all feel about voices and what they mean for your gender identity?

“In a strange room, before you are emptied for sleep, what are you. And when you are filled with sleep you never were. I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if I am or not... how often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”

Posts: 1269 | From: London, UK | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Saffron Raymie
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I was once told that I 'talk like a man' in an extremely derogatory way.

However, I immediately got defensive, as I'm genderqueer, but she thought I was a woman I guess due to predicting my sex based on how I look.

'Obtain the virgin's consent before you marry her' - Prophet Mohammad (pbuh)

Posts: 1285 | From: England | Registered: Oct 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Executive Director & Founder
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Having grown up doing a lot of study with voice and music, I've always defaulted to categorizing voices only by vocal range, rather than by gender. So, I confess, when people assign gender to voices, it always seems very strange to me.

It's something I've had happen a lot to me over the years, too, as someone with a fairly deep and strong voice, one that I've occasionally been told isn't a right "fit" for their ideas about my gender. Cue me thinking that odd again: I've never quite understood how the timbre or sound of voice I have can not fit me as a person, because it's the voice I have.

For sure, I could train it to change it, and goodness knows I know how, but since *I* don't feel like I have any discomfort with it, I'm not sure why I would. That's not to say I don't understand that involves some privilege around this I have and wouldn't have were I a trans person, because of course I do.

Unpacking those kinds of bags around it, I think it's also fair to say I'd probably feel differently if I had a voice thought of as more feminine, or which made other people read me as more stereotypically feminine in ways I'd not be comfortable with. In other words, if I had a voice that people perceived/assigned as very femme or delicate, that's a gender assignation around voice I'd feel a lot less comfortable with than what I tend to hear since it'd match my own sense of gender less well than the voice I have does.

(Cool question, Joseph!)

Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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The Confused One
Member # 48587

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I think even scarier is when I'm a girl who is almost an adult and people think my voice sounds like the voice of a 10 year old... o.O My bf actually took some time to believe that I was 16+ and not 14, as he had guessed, when we first got together... It's really weird because the voice that /I/ hear, is deeper than what others have suggested. I've never thought of my voice being feminine or 'squeaky', but that's what people tell me I sound like...

I guess it can be a compliment when people tell me I sound younger than I am, but when it gets TOO young, like a 16 yo compared to a 10 yo, it starts to get creepy...


Posts: 131 | From: Malaysia | Registered: Aug 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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