Vocal Performances in American Stand-Up Comedy

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Ekke Kanda English 112 Vocal Performances in American Stand-Up Comedy In “Sounding Gendered: Vocal Performances”, Tom Delph-Janiurek argues that peoples voices are mediated by discourse (Giltrow 277). He explains that voices are interpreted through attribution to recognizable performances of roles and gendered and sexualized performances (Giltrow 276). According to Delph-Janiurek, voices are limited within the confines of certain societal hegemonic norms. He explains that the relationship between voices and bodies is not necessarily physiological; voices are vocal “performances”. There exists a pre-established gender duality within society, in which masculinity and the “male” voice is associated with the male body, and femininity…show more content…
This has been the case since the beginning of American television; homosexuality and lesbianism were issues that were kept out of mainstream forms of media. Such deviations from gender norms were socially inacceptable. In “Becoming the Homovoyeur”, Manuel quotes Keller when he says, “Up until the late nineties, homosexuality was viewed as a threat to traditional mores in sexuality” (Manuel). For the majority of its existence, hegemony has created the image of the “perfect” couple as that of being heterosexual, indicating that happiness could only be found within a heterosexual relationship. Within television, the generally accepted vocal performance has always been that of charismatic heterosexual male. Such a voice is characterized by a deep sound, low in pitch and lacking in variations of intonation. This charismatic male has usually been muscular and tall, conforming very closely with the stereotypical view of the ideal male. An example of such stigmatism in the media is the film “Basic Instinct”, in which the heterosexual male hero is victorious over the two villains: a lesbian and a bisexual. Later on, representations of gays and lesbians in the mainstream were filled with depictions of “sissy” gay men and “masculine” lesbians (Manuel). Effort was made to emphasize the abnormal effeminacy of homosexuals and the overly male-like behavior of lesbians. These depictions were made with the aim of convincing a predominantly heterosexual society that

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