Blaming Buffy


How many times have you found yourself standing in line behind a woman of unsurpassed beauty and grace, only to discover that she speaks like a cartoon character?

It is one of the puzzles of American culture that we care so little about the voice. But it’s especially strange in light of the new wave of transformational enthusiasm. People are prepared to spend thousands on plastic surgery, fitness, clothing, teeth whitening, hair care all to make themselves more winning. Surely the incremental costs of voice lessons is small and the benefit great.

I suspect that there might be a Valley Girl influence here. Or maybe this is a California problem, more generally. Maybe the fault belongs to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Some women appear to have “weaponized” their voices to make them more penetrating. Others appear to be reaching for the overweening, preemptive authority of a Major League empire.

I don’t know the answer. (Mark this rare admission.) I offer it as a mystery and ask for reader comments.

5 thoughts on “Blaming Buffy

  1. Grant

    Steve, excellent! Betty Boop may be the type from which all tokens follow, including the Tilly sisters, tiny voices for large women. A strategy of diminishment? Thanks, Grant

  2. Pheirser

    What’s wrong with buffy? You sound like the coaches on Lady to Ladette. Get over it.

  3. Michael

    Public schools stopped requiring public speaking classes years ago. Phonetics lessons are even harder to find. As a result, most women under 30, unless she is a professional singer, does not know to listen to her own voice, let alone correct it.

    Thus the whines, squeals, and hissing sibilants that prevent me from listening to a young woman speak.

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