Do women need to talk like men to be taken seriously?

We reached out to a gender, speech and political communications expert at CSU Sacramento

Throughout the election, a major target for social media critics has been Hillary Clinton's voice.

New York Times columnist David Brooks said, "She projects one emotional tone throughout, and it has a combative manner to it, and not a happy warrior manner."

Others have described Clinton as "shrill", "annoying", and "shouting" at audiences.

Online platform Washingtonian sought to break down the issue in one of their latest pieces, saying any woman who runs for office gets her clothing and voice picked apart before her policies do.

According to the piece, Adrienne Kimmel, executive director of the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, says, "People were quite sensitive to women officeholders sounding shrill, loud, or boring."

Other research shows people associate low voice (which you could say is natural to men) with competence, leadership ability and intelligence.

We reached out to a gender, speech, and political communications expert at Sacramento State. She says a good example of this is the vocal fry, and the higher register women are more likely to have.

"That is the uptick at the end of sentences and phrases that make them sound like they're asking a question, all the time. Even when they're not. And that makes them sound either insincere or unsure of what they're saying," says Dr. Jacqueline Irwin, Associate Professor of Rhetoric Communication Studies. "We have a tendency to be programmed, for lack of a better word, to things we deem more palatable."

Dr. Irwin says it's sort of a "doomed if you do, doomed if you don't situation." If you try to speak lower and more directly like a man, you're criticized. And if you don't, you're also criticized.

She adds that if you want to be taken seriously in the workplace or in life, regardless of gender, you should focus on speaking directly.

Copyright 2016 KXTV


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