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Sexism Watch: Film Trailers

by Melissa Silverstein
February 1, 2012 11:00 AM
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The NY Times ran a story this weekend calling movie trailers the last holdout for women in the business.  If that were only true we could fight it, but we all know this is just one of the problems. 

If you've been in a car recently with a GPS you know the voice is a woman's, because as the article says, our brains are wired to prefer female voices over male voices, but while that might be true, women's voices are still not as trusted to sell anything compared to a male voice. 

Accoding to the piece women don't exude the type of authority in their voices that encourge people to go to the movies or buy products.

Bullshit.  These guys just believe that to be the case because they are just used to having guys and know the guys to hire to voice trailers.  The pathetic thing in the story is that they could only name one female voiced trailer and that was a movie from over a decade ago Gone in Sixty Seconds.  How can women break in when there is this notion that women do not have the same authority in their voices as men. 

There is the disconnect between the science of the brain and the sexism of the business.

And it's not just men that prefer male voices, it's also the women because honestly we are brainwashed to believe that men exude more authority.  A researcher in the piece says people "perceived the deep voice to be smarter, more authoritative and more trustworthy."  And here's a quote from a guy who actually makes the trailers: "Female voice-overs don’t have the same credibility. Sometimes I’ll even consider a few guys with similar voices, and one might be a little more resonant and commanding, even in a subtle way. He usually gets the job."


Why Men Always Tell You to See Movies (NY Times)

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More: Sexism, Tag: Trailer

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  • CAS | February 3, 2012 10:48 AMReply

    when i saw the documentary "the rape of europa," it smacked me in the face that a woman was narrating it. joan allen did an incredible job. since then it has been obvious to me how few women are being allowed to do this kind of work. and for all the wrong reasons.

  • MAM | February 1, 2012 7:27 PMReply

    If it's not this dumb argument about the male voices being more authoritative, it's someone saying that god-awful word "shrill" to describe women's voices. Didn't we get over this silly notion when they started letting more women into radio? Just as there are some mens' voices that are more pleasing for radio, there are some womens' voices that are more pleasing...Same would be true for trailers if they didn't believe this myth about "authority."

  • Bes | February 1, 2012 6:52 PMReply

    So basically we get what appeals to men. And of course what men feel should appeal to women which doesn't personally threaten them. On the GPS front though the girls at work and I were wanting to find a GPS voice with a flirtatious, hot, young, male, English or Italian accent. Just because we are heteros and like to hear male voices that are helpful as so often the men we hear are arrogant, or somehow not pleasant.

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