The Voice is Queen in the Pelvic Floor Kingdom
Did you know your voice is a KEY INDICATOR for your pelvic & sexual health? If you want to go the distance – whether in the boardroom or the bedroom – then you gotta make some noise.
This is because women are notoriously ignored in both areas, from the corporate ranks of leadership to the intimate areas of their own health and well-being. Research well supports this fact. A little evidence:
What Gender Discrimination Sounds Like:
- Women’s voices are judged more harshly than men’s – The Economist
- The Risk of Being a Black Woman with a Voice – National Women’s Law Center
- How the Sound of Your Voice Holds You Back at Work – Forbes
- Talking While Female – NPR
- Vocal Fry may Undermine the Success of Young Women in the Labor Market – PLOS One
What Gender Discrimination in Healthcare Looks Like:
- Women are Often Discriminated Against as Medical Patients. Here’s the Historical Reason Why – Forbes
- How Discrimination Against Female Doctors Hurt Patients – Harvard Business Review
- Maternal Mortality – An American Crisis – CBS
- The Medical Research Gender Gap: How Excluding Women from Clinical Trials is Hurting Our Health
- Female Patients Face Bias in Healthcare & Treatment, Experts Say – Today
“Women are essential stakeholders in health care, serving as workers, caregivers, and consumers — yet we do not have an equal voice in its leadership.” ~Tecco, H. in an article for Stat News
It is an inarguable fact that women are discriminated against when it comes to their voice. They are considered less trustworthy, less competent, and less able as a leader the minute their voice is identified as feminine (see research above). And if they have vocal fry, the gravely, scratchy sound the voice makes when it is strained, the scrutiny of you as a woman increases exponentially.
Women also clearly receive poorer care and attention in healthcare. Women’s health is less researched, which means we know less about how to take good care of women.
Both of these atrocities hold our society back as a whole. Men and women are hurt when half the sky is held back and treated unfairly. So what can we do?
We can (and must) learn to use our big voice.
Your Voice Matters
Let’s build better pelvic floor health while we learn to use our big voice!
Empowering your female voice has immediate benefits:
- If you are a singer, you’ll sing better, longer, and with more consistency.
- If you are a teacher or public speaker, you will be less likely to have laryngitis, which can be a career killer, especially when it becomes a chronic issue.
- If you are a new mom, you’ll have better pelvic floor function.
- If you are a living, breathing, woman, empowering your voice can also mean better sex.
But empowering your voice can have added benefits beyond what I just mentioned.
- Being heard at work.
- Being taken seriously when you are speaking.
- Being listened to and not dismissed as sounding like a child.
- Being respected as a leader and change agent.
- Being respected as a human being.
- Being confident and believing in your voice and abilities, no matter what you sound like.
Getting Your Queen On
Let’s get down to the brass tracks of how to use your big voice, which is another way of saying “Get Your Queen On”.
- Women need to stand up and be heard.
- Women must speak with authority, assertion, and confidence, and never apologize for it.
- Women should not have to take pushback from people who consistently talk over the top of us.
I know many women, myself included, have become accustomed to being talked over, but we don’t have to continue to stand idly by.
Being “Female, Interrupted” even happens in the highest and most hallowed halls of the land – to our female US Supreme Court Justices. A recent report by the Harvard Business Review (HBR) found not-so-shocking results:
“Our new empirical study shows that the male justices interrupt the female justices approximately three times as often as they interrupt each other during oral arguments.”Harvard Business Review
What’s worse is, as women we second guess ourselves to the detriment of our own success. Studies have shown that women consistently think less of themselves and their skills on job interviews and when considering running for office. Men, in contrast, consistently do the opposite, even when they have less skills for the job.
- We need to believe in ourselves. We need not wait for perfection before pursuing our dreams. We too easily fall prey to “imposter syndrome” because we second guess ourselves. And as mothers, we feel guilty about doing anything for ourselves and/or anything that isn’t directly for our children. And at worst, when our confidence is flagging and our guilt bags are packed to overcapacity, we defer to the nearest man in the room. I’ve seen it happen time and again in meetings. I’ve done it myself. And I have to stop it.
“In studies, men overestimate their abilities and performance, and women underestimate both. Their performances do not differ in quality… Women applied for a promotion only when they met 100 percent of the qualifications. Men applied when they met 50 percent.”Kay & Shipman, 2014 for The Atlantic Read more at The Confidence Gap
Four Big Tips for Get Your “Big Voice” Queen On
From an easy, breezy physiological perspective, there are a few quick things you can do each day to harness the power of your “big voice.”
1. Nurture a Reliable Relaxation Response
When the stakes get high and the stress rises, tamp it down with tips from this post: Nervous System Hacks to Keep Calm & Vagus On. Neuroscientists agree that the Holy Grail of being well and managing stress successfully rests with the vagus nerve. The vagus isn’t the only thing that drives your health, but it is a massive driver of it. Put it this way, if you don’t attend to vagal tone, then you have to make time for illness.
2. Cultivate a Solid Self-Care Routine – Here are some ideas from my recent post: Self-Care for Working Mothers.
3. Recalibrate Your Attitude about Stress
This post introduces the idea of developing a healthy Pressure System. The Pressure System is a A “3D Approach” to Protecting Your Happy Place, which means a place where you are resilient, have a strong core and low back, and you can slay stress like a champion. The science of stress is clear. Stress is a bear. But while stress can be blamed for a plethora of disease processes and even premature death, there is a silver lining – stress doesn’t have to equal doomsday. Practice here: Protect Your Happy Place: Where Stress is Positive & Your Core is Strong
4. Lastly, try The NAP.
The NAP is not what you think. It’s actually a Meditation I use to teach all people how to properly unload their vocal cords and pelvic floor!
It will help you learn to take the strain and stress out of your vocal cords. Read: let’s get rid of that vocal fry which can damage your voice.
It will also teach you how to improve back and pelvic floor health, which everyone needs. Practice it on YouTube for free
Before You Go: Get a Head Start
Practice with Dr. G
Pro Big Voice Tip! Get a head start using your BIG VOICE by subscribing to my YouTube Channel and practicing all the breath work in the Medical Therapeutic Yoga playlist!
This is your first stop for practice: Deep Belly Breathing. Enjoy!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Garner is a passionate, unapologetic advocate of improving access to pelvic physical therapy, a mother to 3 sons, & a 25+ year veteran in Yoga & Lifestyle Medicine and orthopaedic and pelvic physical therapy & athletic training. She is the author of Medical Therapeutic Yoga, founder & CEO of Living Well Institute, owner of EudeMOMia®, and most recently uprooted to Greensboro, NC in 2019 with her family after 21 years of beach living, where they and their rescue pup Scout are wildly joyous about their new hometown.
This and all blog posts related to yoga and/or physical therapy on www.gingergarner.com are not a substitute for medical advice and are not a prescription or program for individualized physical therapy. You must seek the advice of your health care provider and, only after a thorough physical examination and clearance, participate in any movement or exercise program.
All photos: ©2019. Ginger Garner. All rights reserved.