Aussie New York Times contributor Julia Baird is shocked, shocked to discover that…men can be bores:
It was on a recent trip to Indonesia that, as a male bureaucrat sounded forth on a vast span of subjects without being asked to do so, I realized that the English language was in need of a new addition: the manologue….
The manologue takes many forms, but is characterized by the proffering of words not asked for, of views not solicited and of arguments unsought. It is underwritten by the doubtful assumption that the audience will naturally be interested, and that this interest will not flag. And that when it comes to speeches or commentary, longer is better.
And of course, since Baird is a good feminist, she immediately concludes that droning on and on is actually oppression of women ( in contrast, say, to oppression of everybody within the speaker's earshot):
The prevalence of the manologue is deeply rooted in the fact that men take, and are allocated, more time to talk in almost every professional setting. Women self-censor, edit, apologize for speaking. Men expound.
In fact, it's a global misogynist social problem:
It is also clear that the more powerful men become, the more they speak. This would seem a natural correlation, but the same is not true for women. The reason for this, according to a Yale study, is because women worry about “negative consequences” — that is, a backlash — if they are more voluble. Troublingly, the study found that their fears were well founded, as both male and female listeners were quick to think these women were talking too much, too aggressively. In other words, men are rewarded for speaking, while women are punished.
And it's a social problem so global that extends not just to actual women but to purely imaginary women:
Female characters speak less in Disney films today than they used to — even princesses get a minority of the speaking lines in films in which they’re the principal: In the 2013 animated movie “Frozen,” for example, male characters get 59 percent of the lines. A quick search for best monologues in film or movies reveals that they are almost all male. If you took Princess Leia out of “Star Wars,” the total speaking time for female characters is 63 seconds out of the original trilogy’s 386 minutes.
Fortunately, though, Princess Leia is still in Star Wars, so we don't have to worry.
One leading Australian current affairs television show, “Q&A,” came up with an obvious yet smart response. After a review found that the program featured a greater number of male panelists, who were asked more questions and spoke longer, the producers promised to publish data documenting not just the show’s gender balance, but accounting for how much time guests spoke.
“We won’t get the voice share perfect straight away,” wrote the show’s producer, Amanda Collinge, “but we are actively trying to improve, and being open about it.”
"Voice share"–the new gender-quota system for TV talking heads. Of course, Baird is doing her own bit to up the voice-share of her sex: writing a 1,000-word op-ed for the New York Times that's every bit as tedious, shopworn in references, and full of herself as anything the most pompous and dull-witted man could ever devise.