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What is Voice Shaming and why it matters

Last updated on October 16, 2023

Voice Shaming includes all judgments, attitudes, negative and discriminatory behaviors perpetrated against those who do not speak according to pre-established standards. Anyone who stutters or experiences any other difficulty in verbal communication is often a victim

Voice Shaming: a silent phenomenon

Voice shaming is a new, strong term to identify a hidden phenomenon. Even today, those who stutter are considered nervous, shy, sensitive, hesitant, introverted and insecure (Davis et al., 2002; Kalinowski et al., 1987; Woods & Williams, 1976). Trapped, that is, in a stereotype and, above all, discriminated against because the way they speak does not correspond to the standard.

There are many stories and testimonies of young people who are subjected to judgments based on how they speak. Young people who choose their studies based on the number of oral tests to take, adults who are prevented from pursuing a career or a certain profession because their stuttering makes them appear less competent, unworthy, and unable to handle stressful situations.

People affected by voice and language disorders are three times more subject to the risk of discrimination and bullying than their peers (BloodG.W., Blood I.M., 2016). 70% of people who stutter say they have missed at least one opportunity of employment or promotion due to voice impairment (Klein & Blood, 2004).

The International Stuttering Awareness Day

The Voice Shaming Observatory is the first project in Italy dedicated to investigating and fighting discrimination related to voice.
Promoted and established by the Vivavoce Association, the Voice Shaming Observatory was created with the aim of bringing to light the hidden phenomenon of voice shaming.

To counter this phenomenon as well as to trigger a new culture of voice on the occasion of the International Stuttering Awareness Day (which is celebrated every year on the 22nd of October) the Vivavoce Association organizes a series of events:

Vivavoce Film Festival

Through the Vivavoce Film Festival we intend to investigate how this disorder is told by the cinema industry. The films on the program are:

My cousin Vincenzo (Monday 16 October) – A film directed by Jonathan Lynn and starring Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei

Do the right thing (Tuesday 17 October) – A film written, produced, directed and starring Spike Lee and Danny Aiello.

The King’s Speech (Wednesday 18 October) – A film directed by Tom Hooper with Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush

Vivavoce Annual Meeting

Sunday the 22nd of October from 10 am to 5.00 pm the Vivavoce Association will open the doors of its Milanese headquarters offering free interviews and stuttering evaluation with the professionals of the Association. While at 11.30 will take place the Vivavoce annual meeting. The day is aimed at
those who suffer from this disorder, or those who experience this problem indirectly by taking care of children who stutter, such as parents and teachers.

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