The more time I spend inhabiting planet Earth, the more and more sure I am that the stereotypical cishet man wants more things from women than any one of us can ever possibly be. We’re supposed to be patient and responsible, balancing a disproportionate percentage of childcare and housekeeping duties with being fun and adventurous best friends and drinking buddies, after which we transform into sexy night-minxes who can somehow still find the energy for fun and engaging sex after all the other tasks are complete. I want to curl up alone in my unwashed sweatpants just thinking about it!
It’s these ridiculous, conflicting expectations that I am sure have led us to Sexy Baby Voice, a phenomenon in which otherwise normal-speaking women switch to sounding like simpering, vaguely horny toddlers in the presence of said men. Honestly, it’s hilarious. Exhibit A, courtesy of Love is Blind:
As sociologist Anne Karpf tells the Guardian,
For women, the desire to “baby-talk” can be especially strong because of societal pressure to protect a man’s ego. “Often, extremely bright women have huge difficulty using their voice. They are terrified to use the full force of it. I’ve rarely encountered a man with that same problem,” Karpf says.
Yep, that tracks. Women’s voices have always been politicized—Karpf points out that women used to be banned from speaking in church because the mere sound of them talking caused impure thoughts in men. You don’t talk like a baby because you are a baby—you talk like a baby because it works.
“Women’s voices have always been seen in relation to the desire that they’ve evoked in men rather than the desires of the woman and what she wants to express,” she says. And so comes sexy baby voice: “Babies don’t possess social power, economic power, or sexual power.”
Everyone should feel empowered to use whatever voice makes them feel comfortable, and if that voice is that of an ego-soothing little baby, then so be it.