When a youngish female speaker of American English uses air quotes––i.e., a gesture produced with hands held shoulder-width apart and at the eye level of the speaker, the index and middle fingers on each hand flexing at the beginning and end of the item being quoted–– so frequently as to constitute a verbal TIC, what does that signify?

One could easily interpret this paralinguistic behavior as a species of STAMMERING and thereby subsume it under the general cultural avoidance, especially among the younger generation, of any utterance constituting a straightforward assertion.