Burned Out On The Fry

Who isn’t talking about vocal fry these days? Google will give you 509,000 responses in .28 seconds and they come from journalists, speech therapists, actors, job coaches, physicians, singers, politicians…

In a Guardian newspaper article, Naomi Wolf called on young women to “give up the vocal fry and reclaim your strong female voice”: 


A response to that article accused Wolf of “missing the point”. Complaining about vocal fry, says Erin Riley, is just another excuse not to listen to women:


In some ways I agree with both points of view. It seems (anecdotally, at least) that we are often more critical of women’s voices than men’s. Traditional authority figures still, in 2016, try to discount the voices of young women in particular. However, standing up for the right to be heard also means resisting pressure to conform to a popular sound which could damage your voice. I hope that women, especially young women, can be true to themselves -- expressing themselves with authenticity, and saving and cherishing their precious voices. Our voices are the means with which we tell the world who we are.

This debate came up for me again in a recent visit to a Women’s Studies class at Vancouver Island University.

The students expressed differing points of view, and some admitted they had not previously been aware of vocal fry, or had never carefully considered their own voices. By the end of the discussion, they were excited to continue reflecting on these questions, and inspired by the possibility of harnessing the power of their authentic voices in their careers and their personal lives.