Rhetorical Analysis Essay
Rhetorical Analysis Essay
Rhetorical Analysis Essay
In a 2015 article published in the Guardian, I’m tired of being kind to creepy men in order to stay safe, the author Daisy Buchanan discusses how it feels like to be a victim of daily street harassment, and how women are pressured to deal with their harassers in a polite and submissive way. The helplessness of women is described in the sense that if they go along with the harasser's wishes, they feel violated, "frustrated and exhausted", while if they refuse or tell him off, they fear the risk of violence. It is these conditions that caused the author to impose a curfew on herself, and It is on this basis that Daisy Buchanan sets the article’s headline "I'm tired of being kind to creepy men in order to stay safe" indicating that she has grown tired of trying to put up with harassment that starts the moment a woman comes out of her house. The article takes the reader to understand the world from the author's perspective and is quite effective at creating empathy especially among those who find the practice of verbal harassment as harmless. The author appeals to the audience's sense of empathy, justice, and political ideals to establish a strong pathos, while relying on official statistics and aspects of behavioral psychology to make a strong logos to make an effective case to her readers and public safety officials, by highlighting the conditions women face.
In the article, Buchanan (2015) addresses multiple audiences. It seems her primary audience are public safety and law enforcement officials whom she directly addresses in the article as an audience. She says, “We need the support of British Transport Police, and all law enforcement bodies, to spread the message” CITATION Buc15 \l 1033 (Buchanan, 2015). It is evident that the author addresses them to express her concerns her personal safety which is threatened as a result of constant harassment women like her have had to face from different people at various places. Secondly, the article’s intended audience are men, both those who are actual harassers and especially those who see this verbal form of harassment as nothing but harmless flirting. It is these men, that she points towards, that make women's lives difficult by making them feel unsafe to go about doing their routine activities. The article tries to create empathy in such an audience by giving them a personal perspective of how it feels to be on the receiving end of what is seen as harmless flirting. Thirdly, the target audience is everyday women like the author who feel threatened and unsafe, yet are unable to do anything about the situation. It conveys to them that it is not their fault for not living up to the expectations of men out of fear, and instead, they deserve to go about their daily activities with no fear of being verbally harassed no matter what place or time of day it is.
Ethos: Throughout the article, Buchanan (2015) makes a strong appeal to ethos to establish her credibility as a person whose experiences are worth knowing and looking into. She begins by telling the readers a brief account of how her mother brought her up to be polite to everybody. The strategy is used at the very beginning of the article and is quite effective because it challenges the preconceived notion of some that the author is just another angry feminist, who is habitually outraged at everything. Instead, she establishes herself as a polite individual who has never done something to draw unnecessary attention to herself or misbehaved with anyone. At one instant, she indicates how she is caught completely unaware by a harasser who was making inappropriate gestures and comments towards her. She further reinforces the belief in the reader that she has tried everything within her power to prevent the harassment by giving up what she loved to do and imposed a curfew on herself to stay safe. Moreover, she also demonstrates her strength of character by describing how she rejects any social pressures or expectations to respond politely to the men who try to harass her, as it may go beyond their expectations. From this, she effectively establishes her position as the right woman to address the audience and convey the issue many women like her are facing.
In the article, Buchanan (2015) appeals to the different audience and for each category she uses a variety of appeals to convey her point. The article is filled with logos appeals in which she tries to speak to the audience's rationality by recounting how "the number of sexual offenses on trains and at stations has gone up by 25% in the past year” CITATION Buc15 \l 1033 (Buchanan, 2015). The cited statistics naturally lend credence to her arguments that are otherwise using anecdotal evidence from her personal experiences. She follows the statistics with a common personal observation of women who’ve witnessed harassment who wonder why “that the numbers aren’t higher”? CITATION Buc15 \l 1033 (Buchanan, 2015). She also tries to explain the harassing men’s reactions in a logical way by explaining how the anger or violence they show is a result of being ignored or not having their expectations met, and how that relates to a "sense of obligation" that women are expected to submit to for fear of violence or assault. She also appeals to the rational thinking of her audience by arguing how with all the progress we achieved in 2015; women are still not enjoying the freedom that people would expect, as a result of feeling unsafe at public spaces. An appeal to British Transport police follows this argument to reinforce her message and convince them of the urgency of the matter, so as to "create spaces where all women feel they are safe to look their harasser in the eye” CITATION Buc15 \l 1033 (Buchanan, 2015)
Pathos appeals can be observed throughout the article as the author strengthens her argument with emotional rhetoric to create empathy, a sense of urgency, as well as the need to prioritize this issue. In the beginning, as soon as the Buchanan (2015) develops her own credibility, she tells the reader that politeness, which is otherwise a good quality, has become her mother’s “biggest regret”. The reader immediately is able to feel strongly about her sister's ordeal, as the author tells them that “She wept. She was 14 at the time”. The experience of a woman minding her own business in a station buffer or a coach is described to be an unpleasant experience by recounting how “it’s horrible to sit silently while a man shouts” CITATION Buc15 \l 1033 (Buchanan, 2015). It evokes the emotion of the reader who learns first hand how it feels like to be on the receiving end of a verbal outburst in front of a packed crowd, only for (politely) rejecting a man's advances. Moreover, her description of a range of emotions she felt after being harassed by an individual, whose mental health was under question, create an insight within the reader about what would the person experiencing the harassment have gone through. The confusing emotions are described as feeling “bewildered to frightened to embarrassed to ashamed," precisely the kind of emotions when one lands in a situation they are not sure how to react in. The feelings of being "fearful, anxious, and wildly self-conscious” are conveyed, which all help the reader empathize deeply with the author’s emotional experiences.
To conclude, the article by Buchanan (2015) uses a variety of rhetorical appeals to capture the audience's attention and draw them to towards an understanding of the situation that a substantial number women have to face on a daily basis. This is the fear that leads women like Daisy Buchanan to impose a curfew on her self, for which women like her "cage ourselves in." It indicates the author's sense of helplessness to the audience to whom she makes frequent appeals. The audience's sense of empathy is invoked from her appeals, reinforced by her logical appeals throughout the article. With regards to the element of Kairos, it is clear that the author has taken up the issue at the right moment in time, when awareness regarding sexual harassment is spreading fast, especially through social media. As the world grows in awareness, it is the right time to convey to them that not all harassment has to involve penetration, rape or forced touching; verbal harassment can be just as frightening and uncomfortable for women. Although the #MeToo movement began late in 2017, it is clear that the conditions were ripe for the movement to go viral, since a few years. In this context, the article contains an adequate level of Kairos to go along with powerful rhetorical appeals to ethos, logic, and emotions.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Buchanan, D. (2015, August 20). I’m tired of being kind to creepy men in order to stay safe. Retrieved February 11, 2019, from The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/20/sexual-harassment-women-curfew
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