Dissociation of Women from Their Selves: Speech Designated as Sophrosyne

Arsev Ayşen Arslanoğlu Yıldıran


Since the ancient Greeks, sound production has been considered to be associated with the quality of voice and the use of voice under a general rubric of gender. The female voice has often been thought of as an example of deviance from self-control; therefore, a pseudo need for putting a “door on the female mouth” has been constructed by the patriarchal culture. Masculinity in this culture defines itself by its different use of sound, namely the masculine virtue of sophrosyne or self-control. In this understanding, female virtue is coextensive with female obedience to males and the dissociation of women from their own emotions. Silence is seen to be the realm of women, which results in the construction of “otherness” of women’s language since they are considered to lack the ability to control their speech. Under this condition, female words become some kind of lack of words and require to be channeled into the rational discourse that belongs to men.  In her essay “The Gender of Sound”, Anne Carson examines how our presumptions about gender affect the way we hear sounds and raises the question of “there might not be another idea of human order than repression. Related to and as an extension of this question, it will be questioned if it may become possible to construct a narrative in the feminine in this paper. For this purpose, it will be focused on Carson’s “The Glass Essay” and the question if there is another human essence of self within the context of her views on this subject. 


gender, gender identity, gendered sounds, masculinity, femininity, Sophrosyne.

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