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Can changing how you sound help you find your voice?

Stashed in: Women, Sexism, Self-Actualization, Sounds!

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Lower your pitch.

Just having a feminine voice means you're probably not as capable at your job.

At least, studies suggest, that's what many people in the United States think. There's a gender bias in how Americans perceive feminine voices: as insecure, less competent and less trustworthy.

This can be a problem — especially for women jockeying for power in male-dominated fields, like law.


Hanna says that initially some people close to her didn't approve of the changes she was making in her voice; some called the changes anti-feminist. But for Hanna, the goal was not to work against her identity as a woman, but to find a way to make her voice less distracting.

"I want to be taken more seriously," she says, "from the first words out of my mouth to the last. I'm never going to be a baritone powerhouse. There's something to be said about doing something to improve yourself in a way that adds to your craft and adds to your credibility."

White, meanwhile, can now give voice to the internal — and very feminine — monologue that she spent her life censoring, certain she would be ridiculed.

"I'm finally happy," White says, "because [this voice] lets me express the feelings that I have inside, that I was always keeping bottled up."

That's the goal of all this hard work: for women like White and Hanna to find their voices, so the world can stop focusing on how they sound and pay attention to what they're saying.

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