Plastic is the number one threat jeopardizing our environment and our biology.
It appears to be the key ingredient in the transformation of the biology of Western humans. This transformation has resulted in a reorganization of traditional sex roles, in a way that is dangerous for society.
The normalization of plastic resulted in the normalization of men with high-pitched voices and women with deep voices. It is messing with people’s endocrine systems and producing all kinds of aberrations.
According to an 2018 BBC article by David Robson, “women today speak at a deeper pitch than their mothers or grandmothers would have done, thanks to the changing power dynamics between men and women.”
The article mentions interesting details:
Cecilia Pemberton at the University of South Australia studied the voices of two groups of Australian women aged 18–25 years. The researchers compared archival recordings of women talking in 1945 with more recent recordings taken in the early 1990s. The team found that the “fundamental frequency” had dropped by 23 Hz over five decades – from an average of 229 Hz (roughly an A# below middle C) to 206 Hz (roughly a G#). That’s a significant, audible difference.
The researchers had carefully selected their samples to control for any potential demographic factors: the women were all university students and none of them smoked. The team also considered the fact that members of the more recent group from the 1990s were using the contraceptive pill, which could have led to hormonal changes that could have altered the vocal chords. Yet the drop in pitch remained even when the team excluded those women from their sample.
The researchers couldn’t compare the hormonal profile of the women in the study.
The voice is directly influenced by your hormonal balance, and your hormonal balance influences your thoughts and behavior.
If something messes with women’s voices at the biological level, it is inevitable for it to also influence women’s behaviors and physical appearance. If something is messing with women’s voices, chances are it is influencing men too.
The explanation the researchers offered is that women’s voices are becoming deeper as a result of the new social dynamics between men and women, commonly known as “women’s empowerment.”
Instead, the researchers speculated that the transformation reflects the rise of women to more prominent roles in society, leading them to adopt a deeper tone to project authority and dominance in the workplace.
Former UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher employed a professional speech coach to help her to sound more authoritative, deliberately dropping the pitch of her voice by a massive 60 Hz. And while most of us may not go to such great lengths, recent research shows that we all spontaneously adapt the pitch of our voices to signal our perceived social rank.
What should be taken into consideration now, is that it isn’t just women’s voices that are changing.
Women’s faces, jaws, and bodies are also changing. Their appearance is becoming increasingly masculine, while men’s appearance is becoming increasingly soy-like.
The fact that we can observe physical changes in both men and women — changes that are directly tied to the hormonal system — should be enough reason to focus on what’s happening to human biology.
Something is making women look, sound, and act more like men, and making men look, sound and behave more like women.
We know how to give a squarer jaw and a deeper voice to women: testosterone injections. We also know how to stop men from developing a square jaw and a deep voice: estrogen injections and puberty blockers. Why are we increasingly getting those results, society wide, without having to do any injections?
It is clear that women’s voices becoming deeper is not just an isolated change resulting from a new power dynamic, and that plastic plays a role in the transformation.
The psychological implications of women having a deeper voice and men having a high-pitched one are terrifying.
In one experiment, Joey Cheng of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign asked groups of four to seven participants to perform an unusual decision-making task that involved ranking the items that an astronaut would need to survive a disaster on the moon. And at the end, she also asked each member to (privately) describe the pecking order of the group and to rank each member’s dominance.
Recording the participants’ discussions throughout the task, she found that most people quickly shifted the pitch of their voice within the first few minutes of the conversation, changes that predicted their later ranking within the group.
For both men and women, the people who had lowered their pitch ended up with a higher social rank, and were considered to be more dominant in the group, while the people who had raised their pitch were considered to be more submissive and had a lower social rank. “You were able to predict what happened to the group, in terms of the hierarchies, just from these initial moments,” Cheng says.
As Cheng points out, it’s a common tactic in nature, with many other primates – from rhesus macaques to our closest relatives, chimpanzees – lowering their vocal pitch during altercations. “It signals to others that their intention is to be ready to fight and protect their resources – to assert their status.” And the same connotations were apparent for the humans who had lowered their voices too. “They were rated by others as being more domineering and more willing to impose their will over others, and as a function of that, they were able to gather more influence and make decisions on the group’s behalf.”
Cheng’s findings are certainly consistent with Pemberton’s hypothesis that greater gender equality explains the long-term vocal shift in those Australian women – a pattern that has now been recorded in Sweden, the US and Canada. Whether consciously or unconsciously, women appear to be adapting their vocal profile to suit the opportunities that are available to them today.
Interestingly, the influence of perceived dominance on vocal pitch can also be heard when you compare voices between countries. Women in the Netherlands consistently talk in deeper voices than women in Japan, for instance, and this seems to be linked to the prevailing gender stereotypes – independence versus powerlessness, for instance – in the different cultures (an inequality that is also reflected in a much larger gender pay gap in Japan).
And Cheng points out that these changing vocal dynamics may not always be an advantage for women, even in the countries where a deeper speaking voice is now more common.
“While lower voices – and other assertive behaviour in general – effectively signal and assert power and authority in women, as it does in men, it might also have the unintended effect of undermining how well liked they are,” she says, pointing to research showing that a deeper voice is considered to be less sexually attractive and less agreeable, for instance.
It is destroying the natural dynamic of male and female energy.
If women become “more dominant,” then men are less dominant and less powerful, because power is a zero sum game.
If men are less powerful, women are repulsed.
If women are repulsed, they cease to reproduce.