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If sound is power, then listening seems like submission

We seem thoroughly persuaded that looking is active while listening is passive. So looking is always liable to become a violating, objectifying and diminishing action, while listening is thought of not only as harmless but as positively nurturing and concernful. Looking is proscriptive, listening is permissive. When you look at something, you put it in its place; when you listen to something, you let it be where it is.

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Typically, of course, being a good listener has been thought of as female, the assumption being that women, deprived of the authority of the voice, have become delicately expert in the more passive and pacific arts of the ear.

(…)

There is certainly oppressiveness in being forced to listen. If sound is power, then listening seems like submission, even, as Fred Kraus (2004) suggests, a kind of masochistic submission to that power.

Sadistic Listening, Steven Connor.

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