Rhetorical Analysis Of Emma Watson's Speech

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Emma Watson’s speech at the United Nations, launching the HeForShe campaign, challenges her audience’s views on feminism. The speech captures the misconceptions of men and feminism through a range of effective language techniques. Watson appeals to her audience, members of the United Nations Human Rights Council, by implementing these techniques to confront the value system of her audience, their views and encourage their involvement with the movement.
Feminism is a topical issue within modern-day society, involving political and social movements to achieve rights for women that are equal to those of men. Watson, an influential actress and advocate for women’s rights, was appointed U.N. Women’s Goodwill Ambassador leading up to her speech
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Watson references an allusion by citing a famous speech by Hilary Clinton, a prominent political figure in America; “In 1995, Hilary Clinton made a famous speech in Beijing about women’s rights...” Although Clinton’s speech was significant for gender-equality, Watson induces emotions of disappointment by reminding the audience of the small achievement which has occurred since. Watson suggests that little has happened due to men feeling unable to participate in gender-equality movements because of the common misconception that feminism is anti-men. She provides evidence to add credibility, “…what stood out for me the most was that only 30 per cent of her audience were male.” She then follows this by confronting the audience with a rhetorical question, “How can we affect change in the world when only half of it is invited or feel welcome to participate in the conversation?” This challenges her audience’s perceptions, allowing them to comprehend that the gender-equality movement is not synonymous with ‘man-hating’ and that this belief must be ended immediately so that gender-equality can follow. In addition, repetition is enforced to emphasise that gender-equality should not be perceived as two opposing sets of ideals. Watson states, “Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong.” This confirms that feminism involves everyone, no matter their gender, age or socio-cultural status. The language devices presented by Watson allow her to express that feminism is not anti-men with credibility, confrontation and
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