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Gender in our Voices

In our study of Gender and Technology, there has been a focus on images. But what about sounds?

From hooting and hollering to orating and speech, the human language has vocal markers which are meant to indicate a gender.

Can we identify “gender” through the technology of voice? Is such a concept of gender through voice malleable?

Gender in our Voices from J Kelly on Vimeo.

5 Responses
  1. Baibh Cathba permalink
    April 25, 2009

    I should mention that the “answers” are after the image credits. If people want clarification, feel free to ask ^_^

  2. Anne Dalke permalink*
    April 25, 2009

    Very high production values, here, Baibh…

    …and I agree: for all the range of words and images we’ve examined in this class, we have not looked (I mean listened) to the technology of voice. What I found myself asking, as I imagined “male” or “female” in response to each of the songs you’d selected, is whether there actually is a gendered “cut,” a point where we hear a register that is male or female…

    and what that does to all my talk about the constructedness of gender….?

    I would love for you to learn more about this, and bring me some answers!

  3. Aline permalink
    April 25, 2009

    You are right, we’ve never brought this up in class. I like your question. Although I found the presentation to be a little long, it definitely focused on gender and technology in a new way.

  4. Mista Jay permalink
    April 25, 2009

    This was so COOL (though I agree with Aline—a bit long). I never thought to consider voice a technology, and your project made me realize that I DO fall back on the “deep” and “higher” sound of the voice in order to discriminate between male and female voices….I tried not to, but it was hard! However, you weren’t able to trick me with the Aladdin Duet :). I had heard Nick Pitera sing both parts on YouTube last year, but I remember that when I was listening to the song I wasn’t looking at actual video, so when this “female” voice came on, I nearly had a heart-attack–I wasn’t expecting that at all! I must have then re-watched the video ten times, staring in awe, because it just didn’t make SENSE to me. I kept thinking “He sounds just like a GIRL,” and looking back, I want to smack myself. Your project definitely brings forth the idea that it is NOT so easy to pick apart gender in voices…. In fact, I remember a time when I was sick answered the voice and the caller thought I was male, because my voice was a bit “rough”! They should watch this video!

  5. Hillary permalink
    April 26, 2009

    I really like the idea of your project, and had a lot of fun guessing. I think I did pretty well at guessing, but that was partly because I was expecting some surprises. It made me think about how you could look at people’s voices and how “masculine” or “feminine” they are on a continuum much like we looked at gender as on a continuum.

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