my adult woman voice

I have listened to the Fresh Air interview with Tina Fey about five times. She talked about her history on Saturday Night Live and how it was to be a comedy writer during the elections and 9/11. I kept nodding my head as she shared parts of her past that I also experienced: the mom who gave birth to me at 40, the mom who made me try on JC Penney clothes OUTSIDE the dressing room. Not in the room meant for dressing! They played a clip from 30 Rock (My favorite show in the history of show titles that include numbers, sorry 3-2-1 CONTACT!) about a writer who used a Sexy Baby voice.

Tina said there was a stunning woman in her acting class who performed a monologue and then was asked to repeat it in her “adult woman voice,” which she did, shedding it to the surprise of the rest of her classmates. I hear a lot of this voice. This squeaky, don’t-hurt-me-I’m-so-innocent, tone that I’ve heard in college, a voice that belonged to UGG-boots wearing coeds who were trying to get a better grade because the thesis turned in was really a stack of blank papers with a long, rambling apology that this was all she had.

There are a few things more annoying than a grown woman using a high-pitched voice when it’s not a real voice and as Tina said might be a bad habit. Women who use that high-pitched sexy baby sounds to be more alluring and coquettish, I think, STOP IT. You are better than that. You don’t have to make everything sound like a question. Not everything is a question.

I know I am guilty of this, this awful anti-feminist sound. At work, I delete the first few words of an email if they are stupid, meaningless permission-asking phrases, like, “I’m writing to ask if you…” They don’t have a place in lady business and I’m working hard to not be that way. To find a firm tone when I speak or write, a voice that says I’m here, I don’t need your permission.

And have I been referring to Ms. Fey as Tina! Like I’m on a first name basis with her! I’m sure if I saw her in person, my brain would disconnect from my mouth and I wouldn’t have the mental capacity to tell her how much I love her work and her humor and her head shape! It would just sound like “EHHHHHH…” like my tongue swelled up so big it couldn’t fit my mouth and her people would usher her away from the crazy woman.

And can I tell you another thing that women do that just UPSETS me even though I have no room to judge because what am I, a woman hater? I hate it when I see grown women wear a sheer black blouse with a black bra underneath. I know, it’s fashion, to each her own. Yadda yadda. I wore fake snakeskin pants in the late 90s and then I saw Salma Hayek wear them in a movie and that legitimized my wearing them, even though I was in high school and most definitely not a streetwalker. Please wear a real blouse, shirt, whatever. THIS ISN’T MARDI-BRA.

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  1. I do that kind of voice a lot in retail. I hate that I do it but it’s so natural to slip in (moreso when I’m helping a male customer) and get results (ie: credit cards so i won’t be fired for sucking).

    But I have been trying to be more adult and firm, mostly at school. Hopefully I’ll be rid of it at some point in life.
    Sarah recently posted..Snippets of now

  2. “Mardi Bra”—heh.

    I find I do a breathy voice when I’m nervous on the phone—I think the “please don’t hurt me” is the PERFECT way to describe it.
    Swistle recently posted..Royal Successions

  3. I’ve listened to the Fresh Air interview several times too, and I read “Bossypants” last week and it was a great read. Love me some Tina Fey! As an only child, I’ve always seemed older than my years and I think I’ve been speaking in my adult woman voice since I was five LOL. I don’t understand why women think their baby voice is cute, but I find it annoying when I hear other women do it. However, I do tend to be a people pleaser, and I’ve been trying very hard to weed out the asking-permission thing in my e-mails and sound more assertive and confident at work. And I saw a picture of a woman wearing a sheer black shirt over a black bra online recently and was kind of appalled! I just feel like now that I am older and a mom, certain styles of dress I might’ve rocked in college are no longer an option for me LOL!
    Glam-O-Mommy recently posted..Ten on Tuesday

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