Today, the eagerly awaited Star Wars Resistance released an extended trailer. Thanks to some deeply reckless tweeting, we won't exactly be surprised if they also release the actor presently voicing General Leia Organa, Rachel Butera.
Butera, a voice performer who has also appeared in Family Guy and The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, posted a video to Twitter in which she does a rather unflattering impression of Christine Blasey Ford. While that's already of questionable taste, she chose to do so while Ford testifies to the Senate about her alleged sexual assault at the hands of SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
With an exaggerated glottal creakiness, Butera spends the now-deleted one-minute video mocking Ford's vocal fry, something studies indicate is a criticism aimed solely at women, another method of perceiving women as "ditzy" or less capable than their male counterparts. By focusing on a rather typical vocal quirk, the content of what the speaker is addressing is ignored — something especially devastating given what Ford is addressing in her testimony.
"It's a surprise to even me that I talk this way and I'm a doctor and a grown woman. I sound like I'm still back at that high school party."
The "high school party" Butera jokes about is, of course, the one Ford says she was attacked by Kavanaugh as he attempted to rape her, putting his hand over her mouth and making Ford fear for her life. Cute video though.
There are seemingly endless elements to be angered by here. For starters, Butera is now voicing Leia Organa, a hero not only to geek girls everywhere but a symbol of the very resistance attempting to stand up against Kavanaugh and the Trump White House. And she chose to respond to video of Ford, with terror in her voice, as she describes a horrific experience, one that she has received death threats over, simply by coming forward, and ignored what she was saying entirely focusing instead on her voice. She dismisses Ford's testimony as "media circus" and "political stage," and her voice as something that shouldn't be found in a respectable "grown woman."
As plenty have pointed out, vocal fry does not only affect women. Mental Floss shared this video of Noam Chomsky.
We can assume there are very few critics decrying Chomsky's voice as somehow unbecoming of an adult. But for women, critics take vocal fry as another means to infantilize us, which makes Butera's video all the more shocking. If Ford's voice can't be taken seriously, then why should the rest of her story? And on a day when women on social media have come together in support of Ford, many in tears having to relive their own past traumas, this video was a slap in the face.
Our General Leia would never.