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Outspoken: Why Women's Voices Get Silenced and How to Set Them Free

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Are you done with the mansplaining? Have you been interrupted one too many times? Don’t stop talking. Take your voice back. Women’s voices aren’t being heard—at work, at home, in public, and in every facet of their lives. When they speak up, they’re seen as pushy, loud, and too much. When quiet, they’re dismissed as meek and mild. Everywhere they turn, they’re confronted by Are you done with the mansplaining? Have you been interrupted one too many times? Don’t stop talking. Take your voice back. Women’s voices aren’t being heard—at work, at home, in public, and in every facet of their lives. When they speak up, they’re seen as pushy, loud, and too much. When quiet, they’re dismissed as meek and mild. Everywhere they turn, they’re confronted by the assumptions of a male-dominated world. From the Supreme Court to the conference room to the classroom, women are interrupted far more often than their male counterparts. In the lab, researchers found that female executives who speak more often than their peers are rated 14 percent less competent, while male executives who do the same enjoy a 10 percent competency bump. In Outspoken, Veronica Rueckert—a Peabody Award–winning former host at Wisconsin Public Radio, trained opera singer, and communications coach—teaches women to recognize the value of their voices and tap into their inherent power, potential, and capacity for self-expression. Detailing how to communicate in meetings, converse around the dinner table, and dominate political debates, Outspoken provides readers with the tools, guidance, and encouragement they need to learn to love their voices and rise to the obligation to share them with the world. Outspoken is a substantive yet entertaining analysis of why women still haven’t been fully granted the right to speak, and a guide to how we can start changing the culture of silence. Positive, instructive, and supportive, this welcome and much-needed handbook will help reshape the world and make it better for women—and for everyone. It’s time to stop shutting up and start speaking out.


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Are you done with the mansplaining? Have you been interrupted one too many times? Don’t stop talking. Take your voice back. Women’s voices aren’t being heard—at work, at home, in public, and in every facet of their lives. When they speak up, they’re seen as pushy, loud, and too much. When quiet, they’re dismissed as meek and mild. Everywhere they turn, they’re confronted by Are you done with the mansplaining? Have you been interrupted one too many times? Don’t stop talking. Take your voice back. Women’s voices aren’t being heard—at work, at home, in public, and in every facet of their lives. When they speak up, they’re seen as pushy, loud, and too much. When quiet, they’re dismissed as meek and mild. Everywhere they turn, they’re confronted by the assumptions of a male-dominated world. From the Supreme Court to the conference room to the classroom, women are interrupted far more often than their male counterparts. In the lab, researchers found that female executives who speak more often than their peers are rated 14 percent less competent, while male executives who do the same enjoy a 10 percent competency bump. In Outspoken, Veronica Rueckert—a Peabody Award–winning former host at Wisconsin Public Radio, trained opera singer, and communications coach—teaches women to recognize the value of their voices and tap into their inherent power, potential, and capacity for self-expression. Detailing how to communicate in meetings, converse around the dinner table, and dominate political debates, Outspoken provides readers with the tools, guidance, and encouragement they need to learn to love their voices and rise to the obligation to share them with the world. Outspoken is a substantive yet entertaining analysis of why women still haven’t been fully granted the right to speak, and a guide to how we can start changing the culture of silence. Positive, instructive, and supportive, this welcome and much-needed handbook will help reshape the world and make it better for women—and for everyone. It’s time to stop shutting up and start speaking out.

56 review for Outspoken: Why Women's Voices Get Silenced and How to Set Them Free

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    This book starts with a focus on the actual voice and expands out into topics like politics, women in business, Disney films, and so on. It goes all the way up to some discussion of AOC, so very current. I appreciated practical advice like how to overcome the compulsion to speak in a hushed tone in an open office layout, how to interrupt, and a discussion of whether we should be shushing our female children. It's clear that it is not the actual voices of women that are the problem, but the presen This book starts with a focus on the actual voice and expands out into topics like politics, women in business, Disney films, and so on. It goes all the way up to some discussion of AOC, so very current. I appreciated practical advice like how to overcome the compulsion to speak in a hushed tone in an open office layout, how to interrupt, and a discussion of whether we should be shushing our female children. It's clear that it is not the actual voices of women that are the problem, but the presence of women, but if women are socialized for silence this is a very powerful tool. The only answer is more women! I had a copy from the publisher through Edelweiss; the book came out June 14, 2019.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Viral

    Thanks to HarperCollins for the ARC at BEA 2019! I feel weird responding to and critiquing this book, as a cis man. My close friend Saloni had some phenomenal things to say, so in the spirit of this book, I'll first link her review, since I agree with it and will be building on it: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... I completely agree with Saloni, and I would like to add that while I think this book brings up an important problem with strong evidence (that women don't speak up enough and are Thanks to HarperCollins for the ARC at BEA 2019! I feel weird responding to and critiquing this book, as a cis man. My close friend Saloni had some phenomenal things to say, so in the spirit of this book, I'll first link her review, since I agree with it and will be building on it: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... I completely agree with Saloni, and I would like to add that while I think this book brings up an important problem with strong evidence (that women don't speak up enough and are often ignored), I don't agree with the author's conclusions (women should be assertive, rude, and cut people off the way men do). I feel like the conclusion we should reach from the fact that men cut women off all the time is....we need to collectively tell and teach men to shut the fuck up? And let women speak? Like?? I don't think the problem is improved if women start being the ones who ignore men's opinions and cut men off all the time. Maybe, people just shouldn't be cutting each other off and we should listen to people? I also don't like that the author very lazily tried to link different women with very different approaches to power and social issues together due to the fact that they all shared a gender. Yes, Margaret Thatcher, Carly Fiorina, Hillary Clinton, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are all 1. cis-women and 2. faced sexism in the workplace. Apologies for not caring if Thatcher was ignored when she advocated for paramilitary death squads in North Ireland, Fiorina ignored when she fired thousands of HP employees due to her own incompetence, Clinton ignored when she tried to convince the Obama Administration to start a ground war in Syria. Class and race/ethnicity are also important vectors for speaking out, but the author maybe spends 3 pages in total addressing the experiences of poor women of color, choosing instead to focus basically the rest of the book on upper middle class/ upper class white women within the corporate and political world. I don't personally think that the world is better off if the Fortune 500 is 50% female; I'd rather women in the global south were redistributed the value of their labor, which is exploited by Fortune 500 CEOs, some of whom are women. I don't want 50% of the military's drone pilots to be women; I don't want there to be drone pilots, period. I appreciate the desire to get women to speak up. But ignoring the other vectors of oppression women face (most notably, gay and trans women are basically not mentioned at all in this entire book ) is very much not cash money, as the youths apparently say. Instead of reading this book, I recommend people read "Lean Out" by Marissa Orr. Let's dismantle the toxic gender hierarchies men have built, instead of teaching women how to integrate themselves into them.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Saloni

    Thanks to Harper for providing me a free copy of this book at BEA 2019. I'm honestly conflicted about the message of this book and have a lot of thoughts. This book does not describe an innovative concept. There are hundreds, probably thousands, of books encouraging and advising women to be more assertive and more outspoken. Where the book becomes interesting is when Veronica focuses on how vocal tonality, pitch, and rhythm affect how someone is perceived, which did not comprise a majority of the Thanks to Harper for providing me a free copy of this book at BEA 2019. I'm honestly conflicted about the message of this book and have a lot of thoughts. This book does not describe an innovative concept. There are hundreds, probably thousands, of books encouraging and advising women to be more assertive and more outspoken. Where the book becomes interesting is when Veronica focuses on how vocal tonality, pitch, and rhythm affect how someone is perceived, which did not comprise a majority of the book. Additionally, this book, like most, takes a very cis-gendered approach to the differences between men and women. In a society where gender fluidity receives more acknowledgment, messages from these books can feel antiquated. Having recently read Lean Out (see review here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4...), which highlights a lot of the pitfalls books like Outspoken fall into, it was hard to take many of the results of the research studies for face-value (i.e. how much time female characters speak in Disney movies, how many times female senators are interrupted, etc.). Using these studies as evidence, Veronica then lays out advice for the reader (assumed to be female) on how to be more Outspoken. She advises that women should take up more space with their bodies, should speak more powerfully, and should be at peace with interrupting others. She even describes that to promote and encourage such behaviors in her daughter, she gives her daughter permission to cry and scream in social places, even where it may be inappropriate such as the movies or an airplane. It is this part of the book that had me really question the appropriate way to solve the male/female divide. From what I've read so far, there seem to be two schools of thought when looking at potential solutions for the glass ceiling. 1. From books like Outspoken, women should be taught opposite from the cultural conditioning they've received their whole life. They should be told to be loud, assertive, and outspoken, qualities that will allow them to compete with their male counter-parts. 2. From books like Lean Out, women shouldn't be graded based on criteria created by men. We should change the system so that women are appreciated for the skill-sets they possess without telling them they need to act like men. I think both have their place depending on the audience, but it makes me wonder what the most effective method is to changing how women are viewed in our society. Obviously, we want to reach a point where men and women are viewed as equals and each are lauded for their independent strengths, however do we immediately jump to the roots of such beliefs and try to pull them out or do we first equalize women in a man's world before trying to make it gender-equal? I honestly don't know the answer and it is books like Outspoken and Lean Out that really allow us to further question the current climate, either intentionally or unintentionally. The methods Veronica describes in her book allowing women to feel more "empowered" leave me feeling unsatisfied. Do we really need more people acting like entitled men? For me, the answer is a resounding no. But I'm not going to claim to know how to fix the problem. Overall, although this book put me in a mild existential crisis yesterday, it's worth a read if you're looking for specific advice on how to be louder. However, the same message to be more assertive and outspoken can be found in many other books and provide a superficial fix to a much deeper problem.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Hager

    There's something for every woman in here. We've been trained our whole lives to take up the least possible amount of space, to be quiet and let the men speak. This book is about how to change that. It doesn't mean screaming, of course, but how to change the way we talk (I'm guilty of hedging and uptalk, definitely, and probably a little vocal fry) and how to stop hunching in on ourselves on mass transit (if the guys can sprawl, we can---at the very least---sit up enough to be able to take deep b There's something for every woman in here. We've been trained our whole lives to take up the least possible amount of space, to be quiet and let the men speak. This book is about how to change that. It doesn't mean screaming, of course, but how to change the way we talk (I'm guilty of hedging and uptalk, definitely, and probably a little vocal fry) and how to stop hunching in on ourselves on mass transit (if the guys can sprawl, we can---at the very least---sit up enough to be able to take deep breaths).  There's a lot that's valuable in here but not everything is applicable to every reader. Even so, I'm certain that every woman will find this book incredibly important and possibly even life-changing.  Highly recommended.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Carissa Moore

    I loved this book. A great balance of storytelling, data, motivation and practical exercises to examine the female voice.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Meg

    I wholeheartedly recommend Veronica Reuckert's groundbreaking analysis of the myriad ways women are unheard-- seen as "too much" or dismissed as "not enough"-- and, in both cases, silenced. Since reading Outspoken, I've been cognizant of my own patterns in speech and space, in posture and performance and am working to reclaim my voice I loved as a child-- before my library-job cubicle voice, before the shame in "talks too much" elementary school report card comments, before friends made fun of m I wholeheartedly recommend Veronica Reuckert's groundbreaking analysis of the myriad ways women are unheard-- seen as "too much" or dismissed as "not enough"-- and, in both cases, silenced. Since reading Outspoken, I've been cognizant of my own patterns in speech and space, in posture and performance and am working to reclaim my voice I loved as a child-- before my library-job cubicle voice, before the shame in "talks too much" elementary school report card comments, before friends made fun of my singing on karaoke night, before my first public speaking-induced, deeply painful attack of nerves, before being told I apologize too much and before realizing who refused to make eye contact with me during important conversations. Beyond the call for personal improvement, though, I'm also feeling a surprising strength post-Outspoken-read. Reuckert's call for reclaiming one's voice is certain, sincere and buoying-- and she asks that we begin where we are. Where am I? I have a long way to go but now give myself props for things like choosing as my life partner my friend who read Outspoken the day before I did and who has *long* held the open, supportive face I can look to when speaking my mind (the kind of face Reuckert recommends stationing in your audience when possible); remembering the (scary) time I asked someone to not interrupt me while I was speaking in a classroom environment; seeking professional advice regarding my voice/public speaking fears and-- not least-- choosing to buy Outspoken-- an entertaining, very well-written and insightful book. I am certain I will return to it often! Outspoken is well researched yet written in a non-linear and informal, highly readable style. I appreciated both the richness and brevity of each chapter. It's an excellent commuter or lunch book. Each section can and ought to stand alone as an essay and I expect segments to appear in media and in classroom readers (gender studies, communication arts, business, etc.) I discovered Reuckert's enthusiasm for voice was contagious for me and enacted several of her exercises as I read along. My heavy Settlement cookbook gave me quite an abdominal workout and my soft palate will no longer be ignored. PS. An earlier Goodreads reviewer overlooked the author's inclusion of WOC and non-cisgendered voices. They're in this book and Reuckert spends quite a bit of time talking about how a silent place at the table is not enough-- that all women's voices must be heard. She also talks about her own background such that I am confused by the reviewer's accusation of a white, upper middle class lens. I have to wonder if the reviewer read Outspoken.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Raelene

    I'm confused by this book. I was initially enthralled with the book and was texting quotes to my friends, but then it didn't seem to have any organization to it? I don't know. The book begins with a discussion of your actual physical voice, which was interesting but definitely not groundbreaking. Many good points are brought up and she includes great examples, but they're again, not groundbreaking - though to be fair I have been studying things like this for a long time so it may be groundbreaki I'm confused by this book. I was initially enthralled with the book and was texting quotes to my friends, but then it didn't seem to have any organization to it? I don't know. The book begins with a discussion of your actual physical voice, which was interesting but definitely not groundbreaking. Many good points are brought up and she includes great examples, but they're again, not groundbreaking - though to be fair I have been studying things like this for a long time so it may be groundbreaking for others. However, the examples are all just kind of tossed in there with no real strategy it seems. It was hard to find a connection between everything. I can say I appreciate the current-ness of the book - talking about AOC and the #MeToo movement (which was appropriately credited to Tarana Burke). But there was no intersectional analysis - race was briefly mentioned once I believe, regarding Condoleeza Rice - but that was about it. I understand this book was specifically written about women's voices, and maybe this is just me, but it's 2019. Let's get intersectional. Oh I think it's important to note I still don't know how to set my voice free nor do I understand vocal fry.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lilly Amenson

    When I picked up this book, I thought it was going to be only about how women need to speak up more in the workplace. I never imagined depths that my sexism went in terms of female voices. Just a few weeks ago, I met a friend of a friend, and later commented on how dumb she sounded. My friend responded by saying she was actually quite smart, and did very well at her place of work. Reading this book made me realize how wrong my comment was. Yes, there are certain voices, often female voices, that When I picked up this book, I thought it was going to be only about how women need to speak up more in the workplace. I never imagined depths that my sexism went in terms of female voices. Just a few weeks ago, I met a friend of a friend, and later commented on how dumb she sounded. My friend responded by saying she was actually quite smart, and did very well at her place of work. Reading this book made me realize how wrong my comment was. Yes, there are certain voices, often female voices, that for some reason we process as sounding dumb. Whether that be vocal fry or simply higher pitched voices, people should not be treated differently because of it. Reading this book made me think more about how I speak, and how I should speak more, but also how I can change the way I hear the voices around me. Good read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Salliewt

    This book covers a broad range. From the physical mechanics of speech, to Susan B. Anthony, Hillary Clinton, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Disney princess movies, the Supreme Court, Circe by Madeline Miller, open office cubicle culture, tips on how to interrupt and tips on how not to get interrupted, political representation quotas, and more. A very approachable, engaging, informative, practical, inspiring read. Read it over a couple days and enjoyed it a lot.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Marijka

    Having taken her class in person, the first half of this book was a nice review of the content covered in the course. I enjoyed this book greatly and am excited that this content can now reach a greater audience.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tina

    I wanted to like this more than I did. Good message...really think, though, the author was a bit repetitive with message towards the end...it wasn't holding me and I kept wishing to be done with it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea

  13. 5 out of 5

    Allison Cole

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  15. 4 out of 5

    Julia

  16. 5 out of 5

    Caroline Irene

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ginny

  18. 4 out of 5

    Val Wilkins

  19. 5 out of 5

    Marianne

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cailin

  21. 5 out of 5

    Libby Winch

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Chase

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rose Carlson

  25. 4 out of 5

    Emily Jones

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sabrina Gunn

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

  28. 5 out of 5

    Carol

  29. 4 out of 5

    K

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sirri/Sivutiellä

  31. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

  32. 4 out of 5

    Britt

  33. 5 out of 5

    Megan

  34. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Joy Schlesinger

  35. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

  36. 4 out of 5

    puck

  37. 5 out of 5

    Jamala Wallah

  38. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Chesak

  39. 5 out of 5

    Snehal

  40. 5 out of 5

    Eve

  41. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

  42. 4 out of 5

    Huzzah

  43. 5 out of 5

    Adrian Brown

  44. 4 out of 5

    S.

  45. 4 out of 5

    Laura Collett

  46. 4 out of 5

    Ellie

  47. 4 out of 5

    K.O.

  48. 4 out of 5

    Saruta Valentine

  49. 4 out of 5

    Natasha

  50. 5 out of 5

    Rhi1981

  51. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Holstrom

  52. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Casanova

  53. 4 out of 5

    Jo

  54. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Brethauer

  55. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

  56. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Lieffers

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