August 24, 2015 2:56 PM   Subscribe

This is amazing, thanks.
posted by Duffington at 3:26 PM on August 24, 2015

I loved this - thank you for posting.
posted by jilloftrades at 3:37 PM on August 24, 2015

We had a lady speak to our staff recently about proper speaking techniques and she spent a lot of time mocking women who employ uptalk or vocal fry. I'm going to forward this to her.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:19 PM on August 24, 2015 [5 favorites]

Fuck yeah! And that's coming from a real stickler for grammar.
posted by TheCoug at 5:59 PM on August 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

Love it! Similarly, we had someone explain to our work how to present better. You know. Keep your feet flat on the floor, don't lean, use your arms powerfully, keep your voice low in tone. I said "Oh, like a man at all times?" It was not appreciated.
posted by greermahoney at 7:47 PM on August 24, 2015 [9 favorites]

This is great.
posted by zug at 9:31 PM on August 24, 2015

That was so, so good! Awesome post, mysticreferee.
posted by mochapickle at 10:14 PM on August 24, 2015

I watched the Taylor Mali piece she's referring to a few years ago and remember being so annoyed at how it's essentially "dear girls: don't talk like girls" - especially when coming from a guy. So grateful for this.
posted by divabat at 12:15 AM on August 25, 2015

So fantastic. Thank you.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:54 AM on August 25, 2015

What frustrates me about this particular poem about up speak and vocal fry and using Valspeak is that there are places for that. Want to hang out at the bar with your friends and communicate in a more casual tone? Great! That is a fantastic place to throw around your "ums" and "likes" and end your sentence with a question mark and talk like you have strep throat. When you're at work, however, or when you're talking to your elected representatives, don't do that. You sound immature. You don't swear at work, because swearing undermines your professionalism. Why would you use slang or verbal tics in a professional environment that make you sound like Jeff Spicoli?

I've said it in these threads before and I'll say it again: most of the irritatingly casual verbal tics of the past 20-30 years have come out of Southern California. Examining them from a geographic standpoint will be far more constructive than putting them in a gendered context, which makes all women look bad. Especially the women who are well-spoken.
posted by pxe2000 at 4:31 AM on August 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

Personally I think the workplace should adapt around people's needs, not people around "the workplace". There are a lot of different types of work, and I would challenge the idea that saying the word like, or even being emotional and sensitive instead of a hyper-intellectual insensitive emotionless robot is actually assisting every profession out there.
posted by xarnop at 5:04 AM on August 25, 2015 [7 favorites]

Not all behavior is appropriate for all venues. People use different language to communicate with different people and audiences, and millennial women should recognize that and think of the message their behavior sends out instead of complaining that the standards we set for specific environments is sexist.

Hey, I'd love to be able to wear my pajamas to in-person job interviews and eat with my hands at company lunches, but etiquette says that doing these things is inappropriate. Apparently that's sexist.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:29 AM on August 25, 2015

If "proper etiquette" for the workplace equals "be as close to being a white man as possible", we have huge problems.

Especially since white men tend to have more leeway in bending the "proper etiquette" anyway.
posted by divabat at 6:52 AM on August 25, 2015 [9 favorites]

I can't find it now, but wasn't there something on the blue recently about gendered communication and their effects on coming to consensus as a group?

Given that leadership skills in the workplace encompass facilitation skills, this type of speech is actually kinda, maybe relevant to the workplace. What do you think?

Anyways, I enjoyed this thoughtful, punchy poem. It made me rethink my own biases and beliefs.
posted by jilloftrades at 9:20 AM on August 25, 2015

I love this. This needed to be said. It's not about teen-speak or SoCal speak or speaking too casually, it's about the way that many young women speak. That's the point that needs to be understood.

Casualness, immaturity, west-coast "shallowness"--none of that is what's actually being criticized by people who criticize these "tics". They're criticizing femininity--particularly young femininity.

So why young women? Why not criticize elderly women for sounding the way they sound, and using the slang they use? Edith, no one will take you seriously if you call everyone "hon"! Doris, stop adding half an "h" to the front of words like "well". It makes you sound old.

I think elderly women aren't being criticized because they've already been marginalized and dismissed. They're not the ones who Old White Guys want to sleep with. They're not the ones who Old White Guys have to interact with in the workplace--the ones who are competing for jobs, recognition and raises. It's young women who constitute one of the threats to the kind of stereotypical Old White Guy who hurf-durfs about dress codes for interns and about too much upspeak.

For those who would argue that the speaking style itself should be criticized (or criticized based on geography or some other factor), I offer the following thought exercises:

Let's say you have an Irish colleague. He's in charge of leading a meeting, but that Irish accent is just so . . . soft, you know? It's not authoritative. He should pick up an American accent that he can use during meetings to that people take him seriously. It's not about his Irishness, right? It's about the way his accent sounds.

But it sounds that way because it's an Irish accent. And he has an Irish accent because he's Irish. He could choose to learn and speak another dialect of English, but he shouldn't have to. He shouldn't have to relinquish his identity in order to earn the right to be heard.
posted by Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger at 1:45 PM on August 25, 2015 [7 favorites]

OMG that comment was like so totally freaking awesome.
posted by xarnop at 1:53 PM on August 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

I realize that might sound sarcastic, but it's not. I actually would say OMG, like, and hehehe smiley face :) heh... a lot more but I know my natural personality will mean people don't take me seriously.

I have been told giggling means I am not a real adult and I should be very very ashamed.
posted by xarnop at 2:04 PM on August 25, 2015

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