Women Sounding Like Men

TV Commercials are interesting because they are an indicator of the culture.  They don’t lead–no advertisor wants to take risks–but they show what the culture (or subcuture targeted by the ad) is thinking.

For example, around the early 1990’s, ads started using racial and gender quotas.  Each ad had to have a black, a woman, and an asian.  Some time after that, the white male (if present) was in a subordinate or junior role.  For example, if an ad depicted a board of directors for a large corporation, the chairman would often be a black female.  The top officers would be black, female, and asian.  “Joey” (the white male) would be a 20-something metrosexual who seemed to exist either for comic relief, or to fetch coffee for the black female chairman.

This isn’t how a real board of directors looks and operates, but that’s OK because it is how the mainstream culture “feels” it should.

Today, commercials have moved beyond mere affirmitive action quotas.  Today, women in ads–particularly announcers–have to sound like men.  What’s with the ads from Waste Management and Liberty Mutual?  I don’t think I have ever met a woman who sounded like that!

Are those voices a product of fancy audio processing in the studio?  Or of chainsmoking Marlboros for 40 years?

Who knows?  Who cares?  Those voices are profoundly repulsive.  My question is: what in the culture finds that androgenous sound attractive?

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