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Journalist Jessica Grose, linguistics professor Penny Eckert and speech pathologist Susan Sankin discuss upspeak, vocal fry and why women's voices are changing — and whether or not that's a problem.
Journalist Jessica Grose is no stranger to criticism of her voice. When she was co-hosting the Slate podcast, the DoubleX Gabfest, she would receive emails complaining about her "upspeak" — a tendency to raise her voice at the end of sentences.
Once an older man she was interviewing for an article in Businessweek told her that she sounded like his granddaughter. "That was the first moment I felt [my voice] was hurting my career beyond just irritating a couple listeners," Grose tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.
Justice Ginsburg says she wishes it had been another case, not Roe v. Wade, that SCOTUS heard as the first reproductive rights case. On the Media and The Guardian take a closer look.
A majority of Americans polled by CSPAN last year couldn't name a Supreme Court case. Of those who could, Roe v. Wade was by far the most familiar, with 40 percent able to name it. (Only five percent could name Brown v. Board of Education.) And since it was decided in 1973, a majority — roughly 70 percent — have consistently said they want Roe upheld, albeit with some restrictions on legal abortion.
But what do we really know about Roe? Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has often said she wishes it had been another case that the Supreme Court heard as the first reproductive freedom case instead. It was Susan Struck v. Secretary of Defense, and it came to the high court during the same term as Roe.
The year was 1970, and the Air Force (like the other branches of the military) had a regulation banning female service members from having a family. If a servicewoman got pregnant, she would get discharged. Captain Susan Struck was a nurse serving in Vietnam, and she challenged the decision in court with Ginsburg as her lawyer. However, the court never heard the case because the Air Force changed their policy first. For this week's show, we partnered with The Guardian (read their story here) to learn more about Susan Struck’s fight and its bigger lessons for reproductive freedom and for women in the workplace.
Our producer Alana Casanova-Burgess and The Guardian's health reporter Jessica Glenza spoke to Struck about the difficult decision she made to give her baby up for adoption in order to fight the regulation. Plus, we hear why legal scholars think this case "deserves to be honored by collective memory," and how Ginsburg's arguments to the Supreme Court differed from what the justices decided in Roe.
- Slate's Dahlia Lithwick explains the threats to reproductive rights in the court right now;
- Neil Siegel of Duke Law School puts the Struck case in context and discusses what better questions we could be asking about women's equality;
- activist and scholar Loretta Ross explains the tenets of reproductive justice and how they expand the frame beyond Roe and abortion;
- and Reva Siegel of Yale Law School tells the story of how abortion was discussed before 1973, including during the Women's Strike of 1970. And she describes the framework of ProChoiceLife, which expands the idea of what pro-life policy is. She is also the co-editor of Reproductive Rights and Justice Stories.
Music by Nicola Cruz, Kronos Quartet, and Mark Henry Phillips
A few weeks ago, All Tech Considered asked the audience to send voice samples to analyze. Those samples were put through an algorithm to figure out what kind of voice would make an appealing radio host. NPR's Audie Cornish explains how this experiment turned out.
From nasal New York accents to vocal fry, NPR's anchors and reporters have long inflamed debates about whose voices should represent the nation — or just be heard by it.
The media's "epistemic crisis," algorithmic biases, and the radio's inherent, historical misogyny.
In hearings this week, House Democrats sought to highlight an emerging set of facts concerning the President’s conduct. On this week’s On the Media, a look at why muddying the waters remains a viable strategy for Trump’s defenders. Plus, even the technology we trust for its clarity isn’t entirely objective, especially the algorithms that drive decisions in public and private institutions. And, how early radio engineers designed broadcast equipment to favor male voices and make women sound "shrill."
Cathy O’Neil has a great interview on her book Weapons of Math Distraction. I highly recommend everyone read it, but if for some reason you can’t do it this month, this interview is a good starting place for repairing that deficiency.
In section three, I’ll note that I’ve studied the areas of signal processing and information theory in great depth, but never run across the fascinating history of how we physically and consciously engineered women out of radio and broadcast in quite the way discussed here. I recall the image of “Lena” being nudged out of image processing recently, but the engineering wrongs here are far more serious and pernicious.
It just crystallized for me what I think has been mistaken about thinking of unwanted interaction on social networks as a "privacy" problem. It's not.
A privacy problem is things becoming known more widely than they should, subject to surveillance and contextless scrutiny.The onslaught of sexual harassment on platforms like early Twitter (and later twitter for people of notability), @KeybaseIO, every naive social network is an attack on the right to exist in public. It is the inverse of a privacy problem.But the conceiving of this as a privacy problem brings the wrong solutions. It means we are offered tools to remove ourselves from public view, to restrict our public personas, to retreat from public life. It means women are again confined to private sphere, denied civic life.It's so endemic, so entrenched, and so normal that women should have to retreat to protect ourselves that we think of this as part of femininity. A strong civic life is seen as unfeminine, forward. It poisons us politically, socially, and personally.It is, at its core, an attack on democracy as well.The only way to undo this is to reconceive of this, not as a privacy problem but as an attack on public life. There will be new problems with this but at least they will be new.There has been work done on this, but I've never seen it connected to civic life, and this connects with my thoughts and work on community. The unit that social networks must focus on cannot be the individual. We do not exist as individuals first but as members of our communitiesWhen a new user joins a social network, their connection must be to their peers, their existing social relationships. A new user can only be onboarded in the context of relationships already on the network.Early adopters form such a community, but extrapolating from the joining of those initial members to how to scale the network misses the critical transition: from no community to the first, not from the first users to the next.New communities can only be onboarded by connections from individuals that span communities. New communities must be onboarded collectively, or the network falls to the army of randos.The irony is that surveillance capitalism has the information to do this but not the will, because as objects of marketing, we are individuals, statistics and demographics, not communities. The reality lies in plain sight.There have been attempts at social networks, sadly none dense enough to succeed, but that treat people as part of a web, and that their peers can shield and protect them. The idea is solid.The other alternative is to stop trying to give people a solitary identity, a profile and onboarding to a flat network, but instead only provide them with community connections. Dreamwidth is this to a large degree, if too sparse for most people to connect.Our social networks must connect us, not to our "friends" but to our communities. The ones that succeed do this by intent or by accident.
Facebook has a narrow view of community, but for those it matches, it works. With major flaws, but it does.Twitter, its community of early adopters, its creepy onboarding by uploading your contacts and mining data to connect you works. If I were to join and follow a few people I know, it would rapidly suggest many more people in my queer and trans community. It works.And this is why Ello failed. This is why Diaspora failed. This is why Mastodon succeeded, if only by scraping by the bare minimum. This is why gnu social failed. This is why a random vbulletin forum can succeed. The ones that succeed connect a dense community.Note that gnu social and mastodon are the same protocol! But they are different social networks. The difference in their affordances and the community structures they encourage are vastly different, despite interoperating.I'd say I don't know how apparent this problem is to white men — the ones largely designing these networks — but I do know. I know because of the predictable failures we see.
Part of this, I think boils down to how invisible community is when you are the default user.At no time am I unaware that I am trans, that I am a woman, that the people I follow and who follow me are distinct from the background. I can spot my people in a crowd on the internet with precision, just like a KNN clustering can.Trans culture in particular is Extremely Online. We are exceptionally easy to onboard to a new platform. But the solution can scale if we focus on solving it. And by knowing who is in the community (likely) and who is not, we can understand what is and is not harassment.We don't need to even know what the communities are — Twitter does not — and yet it knows how we cluster, and that suffices.
If we stop thinking of this as a privacy problem — letting us hide from the connections that are our solution — we can enlarge public life.That exceptional article —We can only fight this with a new, loose solidarity and an awareness of community boundaries. We can build technology that makes space for us to be safe online by being present with those that support us, and react together, rather than as individuals and separating us for safetyThis thread has meandered a bit, but I'm dancing around something important. We fundamentally need to stop organizing online activity the way we do. Follow and be followed is not where it's at.
It's join, manage attention, build connection.Stop sorting things topically and trying to find connections in content.
Start looking for clusters of relationships between people.
The question should not be "what is this about?" but "who is this for?"
They’re still held to a higher social standard, which explains why they’re doing so much housework, studies show.
In Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, he writes about early colonists and how the rich were feeling the heat of poor white folks and poor black folks associating too closely with each other. The fear was that the poor, despite being different races, would unite against their wealthy overlords. Shortly after, the overlords began to pass laws that banned fraternization between the races. The message to poor whites was clear: “you are poor, but you are still far better than that poor black person over there, because you are white.” Polarization is by design, for profit.
This time I proposed we use Jamie for the jammer. Knowing nothing more than the name, I suggested they/them/their as the most appropriate. In my mind, Jamie may be gender nonconforming, right?
"Electability isn’t a static social fact; it’s a social fact we’re constructing."
Women at the Salk Institute say they faced a culture of marginalization and hostility. The numbers from other elite scientific institutions suggest they’re not alone.
The thing that goes unsung in a lot of these gender inequality articles is the assured dramatic loss to science as a result. If women were given equal footing, funding, and support what great discoveries would they have otherwise have found by this point? Assuredly the world would be far better off from those unknown discoveries.
It was quoted in the title of the article, but the full quote is even more damning.
“I know a lot of men who sincerely promote gender-equality opportunities for women, but all their efforts are devoted toward younger women,” Emerson says — because it’s less costly. “But I want what my male colleague has, and that will cost a few million dollars.”
The dismal science has a dismal record
Disrupt your industries, if that is what you are in business to do, but do not disrupt the bonds that tie employees, however loose or unspoken they may be.—Isabel Berwick, 'Workplace communities matter–now more than ever'
Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia
In this future, we’re all being asked to accept that the sticker price of our success is indifference to how things turn out for others. Of course, this isn’t a novelty, and it’s barely a disruption; this is how the demands of profit have needed work to be managed for a long time. ❧
December 03, 2018 at 09:01AM
It’s treating someone else’s wellbeing, someone’s lost job, someone’s public dressing-down, someone’s stolen idea as somehow not your problem, not your shoes. ❧
December 03, 2018 at 09:01AM
This is what higher education is currently saying to its long-term casual staff. While universities are underfunded for teaching and expected to compete globally on the basis of research, then the revenue from teaching will be diverted into research. This isn’t a blip, and there won’t be a correction. This is how universities are solving their funding problems with a solution that involves keeping labour costs (and associated overheads like paid sick leave) as low as possible. It’s a business model for bad times, and the only thing that makes it sustainable is not thinking about where the human consequences are being felt. ❧
This last sentence is so painful…
December 03, 2018 at 08:58AM
“Elsku Stelpur (Dear Girls) - YouTube”
This is an amazing performance on gender equality by a group of girls from my old high school. Happy it exists and can be shared. Proud that it won the Skrekkur talent show in 2015.
I'd just like to point out that this was made before the metoo movement started.