You might not know what vocal fry is, but you have definitely heard it. It’s that hard to miss voice you can hear from across the room: kind of whiney, kind of sounds like she’s asking a question, and extremely irritating. The official definition of vocal fry is:
The low, vibratory sound that comes in some people’s speech, particularly at the end of sentences.
One of the best examples of it I can provide is this SNL sketch:
Nasim Pedrad does a better Kim Kardashian than Kim Kardashian!
This painful voice has become somewhat of a trend with females within the past year or so, and it usually is accompanied by some pretty horrible and annoying sayings like, “You know what I mean?” at the end of every sentence, even when talking about the most basic of things. Whenever someone I’m having a conversation with ends her sentence with that, it takes all of my willpower to not yell, “No! I have no idea what you mean! Filling your car with gas was a pain-in-the-ass today because it was cold?! I just don’t get it!”
A lot of articles have been popping up lately about vocal fry and how it affects women in the workplace. One article in particular from Refinery29 called, “Is This Habit Making Women Hate You?” had me screaming, “yes!” in my head just from the title alone.
The article talks about a study that was done earlier this year about vocal fry and the interview process. The outcome was what you would expect: Those speaking with vocal fry were negatively looked at regardless of the the listeners age and gender, however, the female listeners were much more harsh in their criticism towards the female vocal fry-ers. The study concludes:
These results suggest young American women should avoid vocal fry in order to maximize labor-market perceptions, particularly when being interviewed by another woman.
Though I do consider vocal fry to be one of the worst sounds, right up there with loud chewers and nails on a chalkboard, the last thing we need as women is more female-on-female hate in corporate America. As women, we should aim to look past the bothersome vocal fry and see women as the smart, hard-workers they truly are.