Fundie Baby Voice Explained Following Katie Britt Speech & SNL Parody

By Gillian Blum Posted:
Katie Britt, Scarlett Johansson

On March 7, Republican Senator Katie Britt of Alabama delivered the Republican rebuttal to President Joe Biden's State of the Union address using what many are referring to as a "Fundie Baby Voice."

According to Jess Piper - a "former Evangelical, a Southern Baptist" who ran as a Democrat for a Missouri Senate seat in 2022 - the Fundie Baby Voice describes "the breathy cadence and the soft, child-like high pitch" Britt appeared to be using in her speech.

Piper explained that "it was ingrained in every woman [she] knew from church." Many women used to "prove" that they were able to "be sweet" and "obey," as was expected by the norms of their typical fundamentalist societies. Hence the use of "Fundie," short for fundamentalist, in the voice's name.

The "Baby Voice" more generally has been a point of conversation within the context of gender dynamics for several years. In 2014, voice and text coach Gigi Buffington told Into the Gloss that "women have learned [the] conditions," and that often, for women to be able to fight for what they want, "is by disempowering her voice by using a little girl sound."

On March 9, Saturday Night Live opened with a sketch almost entirely devoted to Britt's video response, and the jarringly submissive tone she used. Playing Britt, Scarlett Johansson spoke in a breathy, high-pitched tone, starkly different from the voice fans of the actress are familiar with.

Did Katie Britt Use Her Real Voice?

Katie Britt speech
Katie Britt

One could argue that, perhaps, Britt was speaking with her natural voice, and its similarity to the Fundie Baby Voice is simply a coincidence. However, a TikTok shared by Alabama news source debunks that by showing several videos of Britt's natural speaking voice, compared with clips from her recent speech.

In the first video, Britt's voice is clear, her words are sharply enunciated, and her tone feels relatively natural. In the second, she is breathy and high-pitched, her words are far softer around the edges, and her tone feels far more performative and rehearsed.

Why Did Katie Britt Use A Fundie Baby Voice?

As was a major focus of the Scarlett Johansson Saturday Night Live cold open, the Fundie Baby Voice was seemingly used to manipulate a certain demographic of future voters.

As Piper described, the voice itself gives off a "cadence of condescension." Her words about motherhood and family ideals "assure[d] other fundamentalist Christians that she understands her role in society."

Like Piper, Amber Wardell of Medium noted the effect of Britt's location and attire. With Britt having delivered the speech from her kitchen while wearing a cross necklace, the address felt, as Wardell wrote, "highly manufactured," and meant "to evoke feelings of conservative, white, Christian nostalgia from a time when women knew their place:"

"Listen, my problem isn’t with Katie Britt. My issue is with the Republican Party that curated every detail of that performance to evoke feelings of conservative, white, Christian nostalgia from a time when women knew their place. It was designed to look 'off the cuff,' like she just set up her camera and recorded from right there in her kitchen. But the entire thing was highly manufactured."

Britt's address is a clear demonstration of how to appeal to a voter base. It reinforced the harmful stereotypes that women are first and foremost mothers and wives, whose place is in the home — particularly the kitchen — and who unquestioningly submit to men in power. Nothing highlights that more than how she opened her speech.

Standing in her kitchen, and using the Fundie Baby Voice, Britt said:

"Good evening, America.

My name is Katie Britt, and I have the honor of serving the people of the great state of Alabama in the United States Senate.

However, that’s not the job that matters most.

I’m a proud wife and mom of two school-aged kids. My daughter, Bennett, and my son, Ridgeway, are why I ran for the Senate.

I am worried about their future – and the future of children in every corner of our nation. That’s why I invited you into our home tonight."

In hearing these words, fundamentalists who believe similarly are reassured that the Republican Party still believes in it too. They are swayed to further support Republican candidates and platforms thanks to a focus on the stereotypical view of what women should be and do.

Even in a moment that could have been a demonstration of how women have a place in institutions like the Senate, Britt used domestic wording and imagery to hammer home the idea that, as Piper put it, "she understands her role in society."

"My American Dream allowed me, the daughter of two small business owners from rural Enterprise, Alabama, to be elected to the U.S. Senate at the age of 40.

Growing up sweeping the floor at my dad’s hardware store and cleaning the bathroom at my mom’s dance studio, I never could have imagined what my story would entail."

In using the Fundie Baby Voice to reinforce the fundamentalist beliefs that women should be submissive and domestic — that, as Saturday Night Live put it, "women love kitchen" — Britt and the Republican Party turn confirmation bias into a weapon.

- About The Author: Gillian Blum
Gillian Blum has been a writer at The Direct since 2022, reporting primarily from New York City. Though she covers news from across the entertainment industry, Gillian has a particular focus on Marvel and DC, including comics, movies, and television shows. She also commonly reports on Percy Jackson, Invincible, and other similar franchises.