Thursday, December 11, 2008

I am woman, hear me whimper!

I like to pride myself on being a strong feminist. I mean, I shave my legs and everything, but I identify with the feminist movement and their former struggles and the current challenges and all that. I am offended by society's expectations on women with regards to age and beauty. I baulk at the unfairness in the workloads expected of working mothers compared to working fathers. I empathise with my sisters-in-arms who still suffer from atrocious treatment in other cultures and countries.

So, with my feminist qualifications established I can now proceed with my story.

I am generally good with directions in traffic and maps. Like most women, I probably need to rotate the map to work out what direction I am going, but as a generall rule, me and maps get on. But, I don't seem to remember street names. Never have been able to. In my home town, I know very few street names, and tend to know how to get to places by pure gut instinct or just years of practice. When I moved to Melbourne 6 years ago, I didn't know the place and had to learn quickly. Time has passed, and my skills at getting around have improved, but mostly only in the inner 6km ring around the city. Getting around for me has often meant me printing out a copy of directions from and then proceeding to drive and read at the same time. I believe that this is only a little safer than texting whilst driving.

So in the interests of road safety, I bought a GPS system for the car. It has proved to be fantastic in guiding me around town, and also fantastic at annoying me when I "may" go over the speed limit by alerting me gently*. But I have issues with the system (oh, feign surprise!). The choice of voices for me to listen to are limited. Since I want it to announce the street names, I have to use a computer generated voice, rather than the slew of available celebrities that have lent their vocal chords to GPS systems of the world. And of course, I don't want to pay for any voices. So, I am left with the free, computer generated voices. And then we add in my issue, and where the preamble to this post comes in.

As much as I love women (but not in the physical down-and-dirty sense), and admire all that they can do, I really don't take direction from women well**. A female GPS voice telling me when to turn and so on, just makes me want to scream at her and then throw the unit out the window. A male GPS voice might rile my anger, but not to fits of violence. I am not sure what in my psychology has made me manifest this anger in this way. I reckon it must be my mother's fault. Yeah, that's it.

* The selected tone is a cow mooing, which is somewhat disturbing - but effective.

** Although some might say, I don't take direction well from anyone....but that would be just harsh and uncalled for!


Katagal Kapers said...

Aah sat nav - best damn piece of technology I've ever bought! I don't take issue with the voice, with my ears, just glad i can hear the damn thing over the radio/audio book playing
I had the option of either male or female voice both of which are fairly innocous, chose the female voice as it is higher pitched and more easily heard!
No more getting lost now that is priceless

Perseus said...

I can't stand the woman on the Telstra messagebank. She's smarmy, and she talks way too slow.

"You have......................... three.... new messages..................message receieved.......... 16th..... December...."


Mr Subtle said...

I still really don't believe you, you still have trouble taking any direction from males. Or is it just males you have a relationship with? I don't think I'll comment about the ones you don't have a relationship with who seem to find you rather ... directable.

I don't think it's anything to do with "woman's lib" I think it's about comfort zones and how some people are comfortable listening to one sort of person. I've found that I can be directed by one sort of person (ie GPS = male) but when it comes to learning, it's a female voice that helps.

Also helps that the female voices on the TomTom are just plain horrible!

Not Perseus, you obviously haven't tried something a friend of Cathy's loves to do - get the telstra woman to say some very ... "interesting" things. Listening to her say "I want to suck your ..." is just plain funny.


Mr Subtle said...

*Not = Now ... damn it!

Anonymous said...

But Ms Kath,
you know know why we have Bitching Betty in our aircraft. It has been shown long ago with some studies that a males will generally respond better to a female voice (even a computer controlled one) better than a male, and a female will respond to a male voice. Not sure why, but thats what we got told. :)

Rob said...

So you need a voice that's One moo for left, two ...errr ?moos for right - and a woman's voice to say "Slow down you silly cow!"