This 2015 video shows writer, producer, and comedian Akilah Hughes responding to popular cultural critiques of how women speak, including vocal fry, uptalk, and saying “sorry” and “just.” The satirical video is presented as a newscast in a segment called, “This Shouldn’t Be News,” and Akilah Hughes takes us through a series of ways that women’s speaking patterns are scrutinized, sometimes publically by prominent, influential, successful women, and how this scrutiny and policing does not apply to men’s speaking patterns. She closes the segment by talking about gender income inequality, the historic and systemic privileging of men in corporate culture, and how women are graduating college at a higher rate.
Fusion is an American media company, with an online pop culture, satire, and political commentary division that created this video.
What are the different ways that women are criticized for how they talk? In these criticisms, who do people say are to blame, and who is expected to change? What style of talking are they expected to conform to?
Are men criticized for the way they talk? How? How does this compare to how women are criticized?
How do these critiques of women’s speaking patterns affect how they are perceived? How does that impact how they are treated in school and work environments?
Why are some of the criticizers of women’s speaking patterns high profile women? Do you think the only way to get ahead is if you learn to “speak like a man?” What does it mean to “speak like a man?” Are women treated differently if they practice the same kinds of speaking patterns? How?
Akilah Hughes closes the segment by talking about gender income inequality, the historic and systemic privileging of men in corporate culture, and how women are graduating college at a higher rate. How does she relate the policing of women’s speaking patterns to these larger systemic patterns?