Categories: Thoughts

by hannah


Categories: ThoughtsPublished On: September 16th, 2022



I use wireless microphones A LOT on a wedding day.

They’re how I get crystal clear audio from the ceremony; of the vows, the registrar / celebrant, and any readings.

They’re how I make sure during the speeches that those terrible dad jokes are memorialised for all eternity.

But I’d never thought about why if I’m having trouble attaching them to a person’s clothing, then that person is almost always a woman.

Other than that one time a guy was wearing a turtle neck, every compromise I had to make on audio was because the microphone pack wouldn’t attach to a woman’s clothing.

With wireless microphones, you have a transmitter pack which the lavalier microphone plugs into, and this needs to be attached to either a waistband or a pocket. Two things that women’s clothing often doesn’t have.

And this problem is exacerbated on wedding days, when the best dresses come out and the blazer jackets stay in the wardrobe at home.


How a holiday read showed me the truth about my wireless microphones


Let me get one thing clear – I am absolutely NOT blaming women for this.

The problem lies with the designers of the microphone packs, something I didn’t realise until I read the fantastic book Invisible Women while I was on holiday.

Among many other things, this book talks about the fact that most tech is designed with men in mind, and the assumption that what works for them will work for women too.

I found a lot of it very relatable – iPhones that are too big for women’s pockets (which are too small!!).

Piano keys that are too big for the average woman’s hands (so THAT’S why I always struggled to get the octave).

But the one that stood out to me was about microphones. The author, Caroline Criado-Perez, pointed out in passing that TV lavalier microphone packs don’t work on women’s clothing.

Despite how many times I’d come across this issue myself, I’d never thought of it as a gendered design problem. But she’s absolutely right.

There’s one or two wireless microphones now you can get which attach by magnet clip, but these aren’t the norm and for me would mean I’d have to spend hundreds of pounds replacing my current microphone system.

I’m not sure what the solution is, but I’m going to look into it more now I’m back and it has really made me reconsider how I go about filming.

But one thing is for sure – I’ll never compromise how good a woman’s voice sounds on a video, just because my stupid microphone packs weren’t made with her clothing in mind. Because if there’s one thing I know, it’s that this is an example of women’s voices needing to be heard more – not less.

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