The Waves

Why You Hate Women’s Voices

Elissa Bassist, the author of Hysterical, explains how society became conditioned to find women’s voices annoying.


Episode Notes

On this week’s episode of The Waves, Slate senior supervising producer of audio Daisy Rosario is joined by author Elissa Bassist to talk about women’s voices. They discuss Elissa’s new book, Hysterical and unpack why we cringe when we hear vocal fry, and ask why we don’t have similar words to describe male vocal ticks. Later in the show, they dig into how the fear of scrutiny women have over their voices silences them in ways you haven’t imagined.

In Slate Plus, Elissa talks about her involvement in Cheryl Strayed’s famous quote, “Write like a motherfucker.”

Podcast production by Cheyna Roth with editorial oversight by Shannon Palus, Daisy Rosario and Alicia Montgomery.

Send your comments and recommendations on what to cover to


About the Show

Each week a pair of writers and guests talk through one news story we can’t stop thinking about, and unpack what gender has to do with it.

All episodes


  • Daisy Rosario is Slate's senior supervising producer of audio. Previously, she produced podcasts and reported stories for Stitcher, WNYC, WAMU, and Latino USA, and was also a frequent contributor to NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour. You may have heard her on the Moth.