Note — May 02, 2021

She Wants Your Attention, She’s the Voice of the City''

Another piece with an historical perceptive and considerations of power dynamics. Naomi Credé looks at the voices of public address systems, service workers, especially feminised labour, gender roles, and of course voice assistants like Siri, Cortana, and Alexa.

This consistent entanglement of women, technology, voice and service labour both stems from and is entirely embedded within patriarchal and capitalist structures. […]

The overheard automated female-sounding voices do not match the vocals of those in positions of power and authority. Instead, their controlled, mechanised pitch becomes the ultimate capitalist worker, replayed over and over, it can perform its duties endlessly. […]

[R]egardless of the chosen pitch, removing or replacing them is not enough. It is the power structures and systems behind these voices which must be confronted.