On Speech and Public Release


This essay argues for a reprivileging of the object of speech in the study of public address. To this end, public discourse concerning the tonal qualities of male and female speech, particularly in moments of affective transgression, is examined to better discern our deeply gendered, cultural norms of eloquence. The primary case study analyzes reactions to the oratory of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to show how their respective vocal tones played a significant role in the 2008 presidential election.