This week everyone’s been talking about an article in the Economist explaining how men’s use of language undermines their authority. According to the author, a senior manager at Microsoft, men have a bad habit of punctuating everything they say with sentence adverbs like ‘actually’, ‘obviously’, ‘seriously’ and ‘frankly’. This verbal tic makes them sound like pompous bullshitters, so that people switch off and stop listening to what they’re saying. If they want to be successful, this is something men need to address.
OK, people haven’t been talking about that article—mainly because I made it up. No one writes articles telling men how they’re damaging their career prospects by using the wrong words. With women, on the other hand, it’s a regular occurrence.
–Debbie Cameron on concern trolling.
This is something even well-meaning feminists–maybe especially well-meaning feminists–do. Telling women not to uptalk, not to vocal fry, not to use “just”. It’s all so reasonable sounding.
Yeah, well. It’s still a form of policing femininity, just like telling women not to show too much emotion, not to wear their heels too high or their hair too fussy, not to wear overly girlish clothes… or not to wear hijab, for that matter. And it’s like, yanno. Rather than doing that, how ’bout we start telling men to stop treating women and “woman’s things” (massive air-quotes) like cultural garbage?
Wow. Wouldn’t that be a revolution…