Diction and Elocution for the Young Lady of the Technical Persuasion
As a lady of computer science, I cannot spend all my time hiding behind my glittery and pink monitor worrying about chipping my nails on the shift key. I must, at times, talk to people! I must even talk to people who are men! This causes me to spend much time worrying my pretty little head over how to talk. Men are so manly and assertive and I am completely bombarded with instructions of things I simply must not do! I must not use upspeak! Nor must I vocal fry! I should not fear to speak up or interrupt, but I must not be shrill, nor, one shudders to consider it, in any way be considered bitchy. There are so many things to remember, and now I have seen an article with yet one more instruction! I must not use the word just, for it sounds to one person as a “permission word, a shy knock on the door.” It is clear from the one woman and one man giving one speech in which their usage of the word just was tallied that it is a truth that women use this word more than men, and it is an indication they need to speak with more belief in what they are saying. I have uncritically taken this latest piece of advice to heart, as should we all. This shall guide my steps in my daily struggle to speak and act like a man so that people will listen to my knowledge and education rather than being led astray by my soft and high pitched voice.
Sometimes–silly chit that I am!–I dream of a world opposite to this, in which many condescending articles are written telling young gentlemen how they should behave in order to be taken seriously. It is necessary for them to interrupt less, and in general to be more polite. But this is nonsense, and I must return to the important business of acting as much as possible like a man.
Featured image is Fragonard’s Young Girl Reading,