A Woman’s Civil Right by Betty Friedan

Topics: Smith College, Liberation, Marriage Pages: 3 (1101 words) Published: April 9, 2014
A Woman’s Civil Right by Betty Friedan

Friedan presents her thoughts and feelings about feminism through many rhetoric devices used in her speech to persuade her audience that women’s liberation is an advantage for all and not just for women.

Her speech is structured into four sections, she anticipates the opposition straight away, opening by explaining that she is not going to say what her listeners expect. She does this with a rhetorical question, and asks two questions one after the other to create interest for her audience. She then answers both questions with a one word sentence, ‘No.’ This therefore has impact, and shoots down any opposition or preconceived ideas of what she would say or think in one clear word. She explains as soon as she opens what she is setting out to say, ‘I am saying that…’

In the second section of her speech, the largest paragraph, she explains what will happen to men if women are not liberated. She looks at the pressures men are under, and using humorous, sarcastic and hyperbolic language she ridicules the stereotypical image of masculinity, making it seem wrong and in need of change. She then moves on to describe the present, the ‘sexual revolution’ that is taking place, and what it really means to her. By comparing it to ‘cheap headlines’ she makes her view seem important and revolutionary. She ends this section by saying ‘And it is the emergence of men’, too, which gives the impression that it is a happy ending for all.

Her final section describes the future, what will happen ‘if we are finally allowed to become full people’. She describes a bright and wonderful age where there is not ‘so much hate and jealousy’ and ‘a whole new sense of love’ will reign. She is giving her audience something universal, which all people will want, and a hope. She wants to leave them on a positive note.

The tone of her speech is uplifting and optimistic, especially in the final paragraph. Friedan is not angrily ranting about how...
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