Did you catch a discussion on BBC Radio 4 a few days back, concerning politicians' voices? Apparently it's long been known (though it's news to me) that the voting public most trusts deeper voices. Mrs Thatcher, for instance, the former Prime Minister, began with a high-pitched and somewhat shrill voice, but ended office with a much lower and huskier voice. It's said that she actually received coaching to bring this about, to make her voice sound more serious, more trustworthy, and make it a better instrument for imposing her authority. She did indeed cease to sound like a hockey-playing Head Girl.
Is there something in this? Do deeper voices really generate more trust? Does one believe some pipe-smoking chap with a rich down-in-his-boots delivery MORE than someone who says the same thing with an airy-fairy sing-song voice? I can recall a Welsh union leader from the past (was he Clive Jenkins?) who had an irritatingly high-pitched voice, and I just couldn't take him seriously. The voice was the problem.
Is this general, that lower-pitched voices command greater attention and credibility? Certainly a lot of women's voices seem at a disadvantage, sounding squeaky and lightweight compared to men's - more suited to excited gossip and playing with babies than for any important debate. It's really quite hard for women to make a thundering, Churchillian speech. Certainly any woman can look impassioned in a way denied to a man, but her voice, lacking force, may let her down. And, quite separately from this, some trifling detail of her appearance may engage her listener's attention and subvert her message. Frustrating.
I always knew that crossing over to the female world would affect my ability to be taken seriously, simply because of prevailing attitudes. The way it is, men can definitely command more respect. But it seems that their deeper voices automatically give them an extra edge, regardless of whether there is really any substance in what they say.
How ironic that all the effort made, and money spent, to acquire a good female voice means that anything I may say will probably be dismissed as silly chatter!