ColumnWomen’s voices are being co-opted! Bustle —run by a man, written for ladies— and sexy baby voice.
It’s been a while, but I’ve taken a lot of women’s studies classes. In many of them, we talked about women’s voices—the words we use, the manner in which we speak, who controls our voices in the media. Stuff like that. Two things, Bustle and sexy baby voice, are causing my own lady voice to get a little high-pitched and crazy this week.
Sexy Baby Voice
If you haven’t heard the term, I am certain that you have heard the voice. In Chicago, I sometimes go with friends to the fancy pool attached to the fancy gym—this is where I hear sexy baby voice (SBV) most often. It is characterized by up-talking, every sentence sounding like a question? and accompanied by wide-eyed pouts. Last weekend, I had the misfortune of overhearing this conversation in full-on, all-out SBV:
Woman 1: You guyzzzz (pout and pause), I thought you leffftttt me hereeee.
Woman 2: Oh no! I’m sooooo sorrryyy. We would never doooo that.
Woman 1: I was soooo mad.
Woman 3: We just went to peeeeee. We should have toolllld you.
Woman 1: I want a hammmmburrger.
I’m not the only one who’s pissed about this. Director and actor Lake Bell recently went on a tirade about SBV, telling Vanity Fair that SBV is “infecting our generation of young women and might lead to the demise of this great Earth.”
Honestly, who else could possibly be attracted to SBV? Most people on the market for a date with a grown-ass woman want to date a grown-ass woman. The problem with SBV is that it makes women sound unsure and childlike. Women who talk this way give up their power the second they open their mouths.
Sure, there’s an argument to be made that some people just have this voice and we shouldn’t judge them. So to the 1 out of 100,000 baby-talkers that can honestly say, “Baby, I was born this way,” I sincerely apologize.
Bustle Hits the Lady Mag Scene…
…And I kinda love all of the women who are hitting Bustle back. Bryan Goldberg, the founder of Bleacher Report, announced that he raised $6.5 million for a ground-breaking new women’s site, Bustle.com. (Was corset taken??)
In case you were wondering, Bustle is ground-breaking for its determination to provide us with news AND the celebrity gossip and makeup tips we crave. Combining high and low culture? In ONE place?
While there were many annoying sections in his 1,500ish-word self-congratulatory post about the site, this sentence really pissed off the women of the internet: “My job, as CEO, is to hire the right people. My job is to know a lot of engineers, editors, venture capitalists, and salespeople—and to bring them together. Knowing the difference between mascara, concealer, and eye-liner is not my job.”
Of course not! That’s a lady job, Bryan.
Look, the internet is a big place with room for all of us, and I am all for a publication that actually pays writers for content. Failing to acknowledge the sites we’re already reading—and to assume the we’d look at the New York Times, Salon, Slate or any other site as “for men” was Goldberg’s biggest mistake.
Additionally, I have to ask why people were willing to invest so much in Bustle when, from what I have seen so far, it’s not very different from everything else out there. If a woman was CEO-ing this thing, would investors still see $6.5 million reasons to get on board? Maybe if that woman’s last name was Sandberg and she asked reeeaaalll sweet using her sexiest baby voice.
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