If a girl is alone in the woods, does she still speak an octave higher?

I love people watching. One of my favourite things to do is to sit in a restaurant and watch how people interact with each other, usually while I’m stuffing my face with food and pretending to be mildly interested in whatever book I have with me.

Today I sat down to my usual order at one of the restaurants in my university, and it didn’t take long for me to soak in all the smiles and happy conversation around me. One girl, perhaps in her early twenties, was sitting at a table beside me having a regular conversation on her cellphone. As she ended her phone call and her friends approached, suddenly something extraordinary happened. She was over taken by aliens. Or, a ghost entered her body. Or, and this is the only other possible explanation, food lodged in her throat and it was causing her to sound like she had spontaneously entered a Paris Hilton sound-alike contest.

I hear it so often, being back in school. Women will go from using their everyday voices to sounding like they’re speaking through a whistle in the blink of an eye. You know what I’m talking about. It’s not just that it’s higher, it’s the added “valley girl” aspect of it that makes it so unique.

Why do we do this? One article I read a few years ago suggested that women tend to speak to men in a higher pitched voice when they were attracted to them. Besides realizing I would sound like Mickey Mouse if Ryan Reynolds gave me a call, I’m still curious as to where the complete change in accent comes from. And if a girl is just around her girlfriends, or out at school, why is it still happening?

This is, of course, not a new phenomenon. For years I have heard it, and since deciding to go back to school, I have heard it a lot more. All I can say is this: I am so grateful to live in a country that gives women the freedom to look, act, feel, and do whatever they please. I truly believe as long as it’s not hurting anyone else, you should do whatever you want. But ladies, in a world that shapes us from such an early age to look and act a certain way, please hold on to your voice. We dye our hair, we shave our legs, we apply a pound of makeup in the hopes that we can transform what lies beneath. But one thing I’ll always want, and I’ll always need, is to sound just like me.



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