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Women’s voices are getting deeper — and the Daily Stormer is terrified

Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos fame: The Barry White of scientific fraud?

Will women with deep voices be the ruination of western civilization? The folks at the Daily Stormer seem to think so.

Stormer writer Pomidor Quixote (not his real name) recently came across a BBC article from several years ago about a study showing that the pitch of women’s voices dropped noticeably over the five decades stretching from the 1940s to the 1990s. The researchers found this out by comparing archival recordings of women speaking in 1945 with recordings from 1993, noting a drop from “an average of 229 Hz (roughly an A# below middle C) to 206 Hz (roughly a G#). That’s a significant, audible difference,” as the BBC noted.

The reason for the drop? As the BBC explains,

the researchers speculated that the transformation reflects the rise of women to more prominent roles in society, leading them to adopt a deeper tone to project authority and dominance in the workplace.

Sometimes, it’s safe to say, this is unconscious; other times it’s deliberate. The BBC points out that Margaret Thatcher worked with a speech coach to learn how to project gravitas with a deeper voice. In our own time, we have Theranos founder (and serial fraudster) Elizabeth Holmes, who reportedly adopted her famously deep voice in an attempt to impress potential Silicon Valley investors.

Over at the Daily Stormer, Mr. Quixote is having none of it. “The psychological implications of women having a deeper voice and men having a high-pitched one are terrifying,” he warns.

It is destroying the natural dynamic of male and female energy.

If women become “more dominant,” then men are less dominant and less powerful, because power is a zero sum game.

If men are less powerful, women are repulsed.

If women are repulsed, they cease to reproduce.

Uh oh, not enough white babies, I guess.

But Quixote doesn’t blame feminism for women’s deeper voices. He blames — one word — plastics.

Plastic is the number one threat jeopardizing our environment and our biology.

It appears to be the key ingredient in the transformation of the biology of Western humans. This transformation has resulted in a reorganization of traditional sex roles, in a way that is dangerous for society.

The normalization of plastic resulted in the normalization of men with high-pitched voices and women with deep voices. It is messing with people’s endocrine systems and producing all kinds of aberrations.

Indeed, Quixote thinks that the chemicals that leak off of plastic have caused even more fundamental changes that go well beyond deeper voices for women.

[I]t isn’t just women’s voices that are changing.

Women’s faces, jaws, and bodies are also changing. Their appearance is becoming increasingly masculine, while men’s appearance is becoming increasingly soy-like.

Now, Quixote isn’t completely wrong in blaming plastic for changes in human biology. Chemicals in plastic are lowering men’s sperm counts and their testosterone levels — to the extent that some scientists are beginning to seriously worry about the future of human fertility. But plastics aren’t making men’s faces more feminine or giving them high-pitched voices.

And there’s no evidence that plastic is causing women to become more masculine. It might even be doing the opposite: one component in plastic lowers middle-aged women’s testosterone more than it does in men. Other endocrine disrupters in plastic increase the risk of breast cancer.

Plastic is bad for our bodies, that’s true. But it doesn’t affect our gender roles. The real reason for women’s deeper voices seems to be feminism, not the chemicals in our water bottles.

H/T to all of those who answered my Twitter query earlier today

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weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee
weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee
3 months ago

Oh sure, blame The Plastics
comment image?itemid=12628400

Mexican Hot Chocolate
Mexican Hot Chocolate
3 months ago

The Daily Stormer? More like The Daily Pearl Clutcher. Amirite?

Alan Robertshaw
3 months ago

Plastic is the number one threat

Funnily enough, for this record, they actually pitch-shifted the vocals to be a higher register.

Naglfar
Naglfar
3 months ago

*laughs in baritone range*
Well, if Quixote really wants to avoid this, he should first take a step away from his computer; every computer I’ve ever owned has contained significant amounts of plastics. Maybe he can just go away from it forever.

Their appearance is becoming increasingly masculine, while men’s appearance is becoming increasingly soy-like.

More masculine women and feminine men? The future sounds better already.

Out of curiosity, I measured the average pitch of my voice with a tuner, and it appears to be around C3, or 130hz when speaking normally. If I purposely speak in a higher pitched voice it’s about G below middle C, if I purposely speak lower it’s closer to A2.

Artemis
Artemis
3 months ago

Oh, do they know that sexual dimorphism has been decreasing throughout anthropogenesis? Evolution is such a feminist)

epronovost
epronovost
3 months ago

I think the BBC’s study is bunk. The methodology is full of gaping wholes. The voice samples aren’t comparable. There is also the problem of old recording artefacts and poorer quality. They haven’t isolated function or circumstances of the speach. To put it mildly it’s a lot of pseudoscience due to overstating the result of the research massively. The only thing such a study could present as factual is the fact that the voices of women heard on TV have gotten on average deeper which is in and on itself unremarcable and any explanation dubious unless they have made a grid that detail the circumstances of the speech, the age, size, weight of the speaker, the location in which she speaks and isolated problems caused by different audio quality and recording methods. Plus, the sample itself might not be randomised correctly and that case you are looking at some p-value fishing.

tim gueguen
3 months ago

The Plastics, you say?
(1) TOP SECRET MAN – YouTube

Yeah, it has to be plastics changing women, it can’t be that women feel less inclined to talk in girlish voices for cultural reasons.

Lately I’ve been listening to the Japanese band Unlucky Morpheus on YouTube, and as a result it’s shown me some videos from their violinist Jill. Given the way she looks you might think she’d have a quiet, high, wispy voice. Nope, not the case.
(1) #78 あんきも一問一答 – YouTube

Last edited 3 months ago by tim gueguen
Dalillama
3 months ago

It’s quite common among Britons and white Americans for AFAB people to be conditioned from an early age to speak in an artificially high register. Less so than in the past, and some women have deliberately re-lowered their voices. Personally I sound like Tom Waits talking through gravel, but that’s despite my efforts not to.

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
3 months ago

Is it possible that women have, on average, gotten taller during the past 80 years, with proportionally longer vocal cords? My vocal range is baritone/tenor, which I’m pretty sure is related to my height, not my hormones. I’m fairly low in testosterone according to my most recent hormone tests, and I don’t have a lot of contact with food-grade plastics.

Women’s faces, jaws, and bodies are also changing. Their appearance is becoming increasingly masculine

Has this guy ever looked at photos of rural and working class women from the late 19th century? They weren’t exactly delicate of jaw.

while men’s appearance is becoming increasingly soy-like.

Well, Justin Timberlake did dress up as tofu on SNL a few years ago…

Last edited 3 months ago by Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Nikki the Bluth Wannabe
Nikki the Bluth Wannabe
3 months ago

I don’t know how much of an effect this might have had or whether it can ever be proven, but could another factor be that women with naturally deeper voices feel less pressure now than in the past to adopt a higher pitch? Just a thought.
ETA: Ninja’d by @tim gueguen and @Dalillama

Last edited 3 months ago by Nikki the Bluth Wannabe
Lumipuna
Lumipuna
3 months ago

I tried to imagine anthropomorphic soy, and it occurred to me that “Max Glycine”* would be a decent masculine name for a male action movie protagonist.

*from the scientific binomial of soybean, Glycine max

epronovost
epronovost
3 months ago

@Buttercup Q. Skullpants

The average height of women in the UK is of a 164 centimeters or 5 foot 5. It has augmented of about 5.5 centimeters two inches and a half since the 1940’s. So yes, it could have an effect on women’s voices for the reason you mentionned.

Kat, ambassador, feminist revolution (in exile)
Kat, ambassador, feminist revolution (in exile)
3 months ago

If women become “more dominant,” then men are less dominant and less powerful, because power is a zero sum game . . .

. . . if you’re a fascist.

Battering Lamb
Battering Lamb
3 months ago

OK, slightly less worried about the fact that I’m definitely a bass. Will still need a lot of vocal coaching, though.

At first I thought they were talking about the rise in plastic surgery, btw.

Dormousing_it
Dormousing_it
3 months ago

I remember reading somewhere that women radio DJs in the US have, overall, lower-pitched voices than the average woman. Supposedly, high pitched speaking voices don’t sound good over the radio🙄

I don’t know about that.

RE: Plastic Bertrand. I didn’t find out until recently that ‘Jet Boy Jet Girl’ was ‘CA Plane Pour Moi’ with different lyrics. Also, Plastic Bertrand was only lip syncing someone else’s voice.

Moon Custafer
Moon Custafer
3 months ago

I looked at the BBC article cited and here’s how it describes the study in question:

Cecilia Pemberton at the University of South Australia studied the voices of two groups of Australian women aged 18–25 years. The researchers compared archival recordings of women talking in 1945 with more recent recordings taken in the early 1990s. The team found that the “fundamental frequency” had dropped by 23 Hz over five decades – from an average of 229 Hz (roughly an A# below middle C) to 206 Hz (roughly a G#). That’s a significant, audible difference.

The researchers had carefully selected their samples to control for any potential demographic factors: the women were all university students and none of them smoked.

Good, but it doesn’t sound like the study also checked archival recordings of men’s voices from 1945 with ones from the early 1990s, as a control to see if the recording technology was a factor.

(I bring this up because several historians/sound engineers have suggested that the famous recording of Herbert Morrison describing the Hindenburg disaster is slightly fast and makes his voice a bit higher than it was — apparently slowing it slightly so it matches studio recordings of Morrison also makes the sound of the explosion noticeable in the background)

numerobis
numerobis
3 months ago

Clearly this means the height of Western Civilization was Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Alan Robertshaw
3 months ago

@ dormousing_it

Plastic Bertrand. I didn’t find out until recently that ‘Jet Boy Jet Girl’ was ‘CA Plane Pour Moi’ with different lyrics. Also, Plastic Bertrand was only lip syncing someone else’s voice.

Yeah, a record producer called Lou Deprijck wrote and produced the backing track. Then Elton Motello used it for Jet Boy, Jet Girl.

A few months later Deprijck released Ca Plane Pour Moi; which he sang but got Plastic Bertrand to front. Cue lots of litigation when it became a hit.

ETA: Bertrand makes a cameo appearance in the video for JBJG.

Last edited 3 months ago by Alan Robertshaw
magnesium
magnesium
3 months ago

Given the study went from the 40s to the 90s, I’m curious if anyone looked into whether the popularity of cigarettes had anything to do with it. My mom and aunt both smoked and had slightly deeper, scratchier voices probably because of it, whereas I have a fairly high pitched voice.

Moon Custafer
Moon Custafer
3 months ago

@Magnesium:

I’d imagine there were *more* women smoking in the 1940s than in the 1990s, but in any case the researchers do seem to have taken that into account and tried to study only the voices of non-smoking women (exactly how they could tell with the 1945 recordings idk, but perhaps they found the women or there descendants and asked if they’d ever smoked?)

Alan Robertshaw
3 months ago

@ moon custafer

I’d imagine there were *more* women smoking in the 1940s than in the 1990s

Women have come a long way baby.

comment image

Last edited 3 months ago by Alan Robertshaw
Sarah K
Sarah K
3 months ago

@Buttercup Q. Skullpants

possible that women have, on average, gotten taller during the past 80 years, with proportionally longer vocal cords?

Voice pitch has been found to be almost entirely cultural. For example, on average Japanese women have higher pitched voices than their similarly-heighted counterparts in other countries. Most times, people don’t even know that they are changing their vocal registers to suit their culture. It’s fascinating research.

Alan Robertshaw
3 months ago

Your voice also changes pitch/timbre during the day. You can be about an octave lower in the morning than the evening. It’s something they have to be aware of in recording studios.

personalpest
personalpest
3 months ago

If men are Nazis, women are repulsed.

FIFY, Pomidor!

Last edited 3 months ago by personalpest
Who?
Who?
3 months ago

We don’t have any proof that the voices of women did really chance. If the study is correct than the voices of recorded women chanced.

Today we have a bigger sample of voices, and there was some gatekeeping in the 40s.

epitome of incomrepehensibility

Your voice also changes pitch/timbre during the day. You can be about an octave lower in the morning than the evening. It’s something they have to be aware of in recording studios.

@Alan Robertshaw – huh, I didn’t know this had been studied! For singing, it’s harder for me to reach high notes earlier in the day.

For speaking, I think sounding “masculine” or “feminine” has to do with intonation and speaking patterns as well as pitch. And definitely it’s cultural. A while ago I listened to a radio interview where a young choir singer, a trans guy, talked about worrying how his hormones might affect his singing voice. That story had a good ending – he could sing bass and his choir was very accepting – but he also mentioned being more self-conscious about his speaking voice sounding masculine enough.

I’m a cis woman, but I’m also self-conscious about sounding “too high” and potentially annoying or whiny. For the whiny bit, yeah, it helps to be calmer in general (working on the anxiety part currently, fingers crossed) but about it being too high, that’s probably just insecurity. Most people don’t think my normal speaking voice is too high, afaik.

ETA: I sing soprano 2/mezzo-soprano. Not professionally or anything, just in a choir (or so I did before COVID…)

Last edited 3 months ago by epitome of incomrepehensibility
Naglfar
Naglfar
3 months ago

@epitome
I recall a similar story about trans opera singers in the New York Times a few years.
I don’t sing much and am not very good at it, but my natural range falls somewhere around 2nd tenor to 1st baritone, if I push it I can sing baritone, tenor, or alto. When I do sing I usually do extreme vocals (e.g. screaming, growling, shouting).

Bluecat
Bluecat
3 months ago

When I was living in Italy & trying hard to learn Italian, friends noticed that I spoke Italian at a higher pitch than I did English. It was notable to them especially when I was code switching. It’s because I was learning by mimicking my Italian friends, women who tended to speak in rather high, slightly Minnie Mouse voices. When I started speaking Italian at my natural pitch, which is fairly deep (I sing alto, but I can sing quite a bit lower) I realised I was feeling comfortable in the language.

Demonhype
Demonhype
3 months ago

@Alan Robertshaw

Omg, that’s hilarious! We make cigs just for women because they’re biologically superior–so they’re presumably hoping to level the playing field with toxic cancer sticks keyed just to women? That’s the only way those two ideas make any sense when put together like that.

Simon
Simon
3 months ago

If more women get to sound like Karen Carpenter, I see that as an absolute win. If you hadn’t noticed how deep her singing was then listen again. Beautiful.