Stop Calling Women Loud, LISTEN For A Change

Loud women
Loud Women, Proud Women: “I am louder than the average human being and I have no fear of speaking my mind. These traits don’t come from the colour of my skin, but from an unwavering belief in my own intelligence,” wrote Michelle Obama in her book Becoming. The former first lady of the United States of America is probably one of the few women in the world who have managed to not be afraid of taking up space in a room. Who believe in themselves.

I doubt that anyone has ever heard someone say, “He is such a loud man!”. Take a moment to think about a ‘loud man’ you have met in your life. You will hardly come up with names because we are not wired that way. Loudness, a term technically used for volume is mostly associated with the female gender. Being called a ‘loud woman’ is definitely not a compliment. However, on most occasions it is a term used against women who speak their mind, own the room, call out bad behaviour and don’t make themselves small in order to please others. So maybe it is a compliment?

Growing up, most women are taught to be smaller, meeker, quieter and simply non-existent. Let’s be honest, women raising their voices has caused severe damage to men and the well-established system that only favours men. Naturally, society shows indifference towards women who speak their minds by labelling them loud.

Women who raised me said, “If you want to be heard then you have to say things without raising your voice”. Sometimes I followed the advice, sometimes I didn’t. But my question is: What does the volume of my voice have to do with the thing I am saying? Can I not express my rage? Why does loudness add negative connotations? Why are only women expected to be quieter?

While women are told to “tone it down” men raising their voices is considered natural. Of course, they have it better than us in every way. Women are always expected to watch the way they talk. Her voice is too shrilly. She sounds like a man. She needs to stop sounding like a little girl. Someone stop this loudspeaker.

Just to state the facts, female vocal cords are designed to produce high pitched sounds and that is what makes us unlikeable. At least that is what this study states. According to the researchers of McMaster University, Canada, voters respond better to lower-pitched voices and consider them more attractive, honest, dominant and more leader-like. Personally, I think we can do better than the sample considered for this study because otherwise, the world will always be run by men and we all know how that has turned out so far. ( Please fight the urge to say not all men)

I am guilty of trying to sound meeker when I try to impress a man. It’s a fear that my high-pitched, shrill, loud voice will turn away potential boyfriends. I can’t say for every woman but during most arguments, I am scared about the volume of my voice deciding the validity of my arguments. Sometimes the high decibels in my voice convey my excitement and joy and I have a burn book with names of people who ruined such moments by telling me to calm down. That may or may not be a joke.

Women should not be expected to tailor their voices so that they can be heard or liked. If we consider two scenarios, one being professional and the other personal, we all know the difference in our speech. Even in texts, women tend to overuse the words “please”, “thank you”, “sorry”. We don’t think we have the privilege to seem impolite as women. And that is what makes us regulate our volume, make sure that we are not saying things in the wrong “tone”.

Women like Michelle Obama, who can openly own the terms such as ‘loud’ and bear the consequences of being ‘perceived’ a wrong way, become role models for a reason. Sexism failed to hold back their voices. In order to have more such women, we must listen. Let women take up space, raise their volumes and listen to words.

Suggested Readings:

Of Chips, Being Loud & PDA – Silly Etiquettes Women are Still Expected to Follow

Are Women Bigger People Pleasers Than Men?

Let Her Be Angry: Use The Transformative Powers Of Rage