Mothers, sisters, daughters, women alike all suffer unequal, unfair treatment every day worldwide, due to the absolute absence of gender equality in much of the world. In fact, on average, women in the United States are paid seventy-nine cents to every dollar a man makes (Payscale). In UN Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watsons 2014 speech, Gender Equality is your issue too, Watson discusses the hardships that women face globally. Watsons speech ultimately introduces a campaign called, He for She, trying to gain support from all people to help further gender equality.
Watsons speech is an effective addressal of gender issues implanted in society because of her credibility, her use of statistical evidence, and her use of figurative language.
In Watsons speech, she is directly targeting an audience of boys and men, in an attempt to raise awareness for gender equality struggles. To ensure that the message is validated, she has to establish herself in the topic and her expertise.
In order to establish credibility, Watson uses a number of techniques. First of all, she mentions her UN position, by stating, I was appointed six months ago (Watson). In this addressal of her position, it reminds the audience that she is specifically qualified to be appointed to such a position at the United Nations. However, the position does not yet hint at her qualifications to speak about gender roles and equality.
Following her position, she starts to recall her own experiences with discrimination. Watson begins with, I started questioning gender-based assumptions when at eight I was confused at being called bossy, because I wanted to direct the plays we would put on for our parentsbut the boys were not (Watson), before describing an array of memories of gender stereotyping and inequality experienced by her and her close friends. As a speaker, this helps give context to why Watson is speaking about, and cares so much about the topic and HeForShe.
Although Watson is able to develop a strong credibility, she also includes a statement which emotionally helps the audience relate to her on a more personal level. To question her own credibility, she states You might be thinking who is this Harry Potter girl? And what is she doing up on stage at the UN. Its a good question and trust me, I have been asking myself the same thing. I dont know if I am qualified to be here. All I know is that I care about this problem. And I want to make it better (Watson). This is an effective strategy as rather than thinking of her as an important celebrity or possibly egotistic ambassador, it makes her seem more down to earth and like a normal citizen who wants to encourage positive change, just like some of the audience members. Overall, the development of expertise and the use of her own point of view establishes an effective credibility for her speech, allowing the audience to rely more heavily on her statements.
On another note, the UN speech is effective because it has a well thought out and timely placed inclusion of statistical evidence and logical reasoning. To start, Watson uses opinions followed by her evidence in order to create a reliable statement. For instance, she describes, I think it is right that as a woman I am paid the same as my male counterparts. I think it is right that I should be able to make decisions about my own body. I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decision-making of my country. I think it is right that socially I am afforded the same respect as men, before following up with a blunt fact that, …there is no one country in the world where all women can expect to receive these rights No country in the world can yet say they have achieved gender equality (Watson). By including a fact after her emotional appeals and opinions, she solidifies her statement to be more reliable.
Further in her speech, Watson includes a nicely timed piece of evidence. Prior to the inclusion of logical reasoning, she creates an emotional appeal to the male audience by stating, I want men to take up this mantle. So their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice but also so that their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human too (Watson) to appeal to those emotionally close to them. After making this emotional appeal, she follows up with an ultimatum of what will happen if the audience and society do not take action. Watson states that if nothing is done, Because the reality is that if we do nothing it will take 75 years, or for me to be nearly a hundred before women can expect to be paid the same as men for the same work. 15.5 million girls will be married in the next 16 years as children. And at current rates it wont be until 2086 before all rural African girls will be able to receive a secondary education. The inclusion of these facts as an ultimatum helps show the audience the harsh reality of the future sans change. In summary, Watsons logical reasoning is well timed and thought out, which makes her speech more effective and reliable.
Finally, the speech to the UN is effective because of Watsons use of figurative language. The most effective rhetoric she uses are anaphora, rhetorical questions, and antimetabole. The first strategy she uses in the speech is anaphora. An anaphora is the repeat of the beginning sequences of neighboring clauses, which she uses in the beginning of her speech saying, When at 14 I started being sexualized by certain elements of the press. When at 15 my girlfriends started dropping out of their sports teams because they didnt want to appear muscly. When at 18 my male friends were unable to express their feelings (Watson). The use of anaphora to describe her personal experiences puts a special emphasis on the magnitude of importance to her own credibility. The next method she uses is antimetabole, which Watson utilises to hook the audience towards the end with effective summary statements. In order to summarize her statements about achieving equality by making the powerful antimetabole, If men dont have to control, women wont have to be controlled (Watson). Another example of an effective antimetabole Watson creates is, We are struggling for a uniting word but the good news is we have a uniting movement (Watson), in order to address the uniting action for change through the HeforShe movement. The final approach she uses are rhetorical questions. This is used as an effective conclusion to her speech, where she states, …ask yourself if not me, who? If not now, when?. In the end, Watsons use of figurative language in her speech helps make her speech effective.
Watsons speech ultimately introduced the campaign, He for She, in an effective way. Watsons speech is an efficient addressal of gender issues implanted in society because of her buildup and question of credibility, her use of logical reasoning to back emotional appeal, and her use of figurative language to emphasize and summarize.