Speaking sex to power? The female voice as a dangerous instrument

Karpf, Anne (2017) Speaking sex to power? The female voice as a dangerous instrument. Imago: Studi di cinema e media. Ears Wide Open. Il paesaggio sonore negli studi di cinema e media, 14. pp. 27-36. ISSN 2038-5536


This paper charts some of the taboos and prejudices surrounding the female voice and asks why it is so often the site of anxiety. It suggests that women's voices are commonly identified with the pre-verbal and the body; that in most cultures they connote sexual power and treachery and hence need to be policed. It also argues that the association of the female voice with the maternal voice plays a key role in heightening the anxiety produced by the speaking woman. After examining a number of responses to this problematised female voice - historical, cultural and individual - it ends by considering some ways in which contemporary female speakers and performers are challenging the norms and conventions that have characterised female vocality.

Anne Karpf IMAGO[37436].pdf - Accepted Version

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