in A WORLD...

PREACH: LAKE BELL EDITION

“I had been personally ruptured and unsettled by the vocal trend that I call ‘sexy baby vocal virus’ talking. Not only is it pitch, so really high up, but it’s also a dialect. It’s like a speech pattern that includes uptalking and fry, so it’s this amalgamation of really unsavory sounds that many young women have adopted.

I grew up thinking a female voice and sound, should sound sophisticated and sexy, a la Lauren Bacall and Anne Bancroft [who famously played Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate] or Faye Dunaway, not a twelve year old little girl who is submissive to the species.”

— … IN A WORLD Writer, Producer, Actor Lake Bell

In advertising, the voice telling us what to buy, what to watch and where to go is almost always male. This commanding, strong voice is so common, that it’s easy to overlook the fact that women rarely play a part. But in her new film, Lake Bell not only makes us think about this phenomena and how it influences our culture, but she also tackles another vocal trend that does women no favors–delivering our everyday thoughts and opinions with a dingbat voice: Like when we make all of our statements sound like a question? Like, even if we know what were talking about we sound like we don’t? And we, like, draaaaag out some of our sylables, soooo you knoooow, things sound maaaajorly nubiiiile, and, like, insignificant?

Check the movie trailer for a prime example of what Bell means by uptalk and fry:


While the girl that talks this way isn’t necessarily stupid (and Bell points this out in her NPR interview about the film), she certainly sounds it.

Major props to Bell for starting a conversation about how how and when women talk in everyday life and advertising–and for making a funny movie about it (which also features some of our favorite comedians, like Tig Notaro, Jeff Garlin and Nick Offerman). But even more, we love that she’s reminding us how important it is to speak with conviction, like the great Lauren Bacall would do:

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