16th November 2014
British Actress, Emma Watson was appointed as Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women earlier in the summer. She gave a speech about gender inequality and how to fight it in September, She launched a campaign HeForShe, which aimed to get men and boys to commit to join the feminist fight for gender equality. This speech makes a very important point that in order to achieve gender equality, harmful and destructive stereotypes and expectations about masculinity have got to change. This UN speech that Emma presented, contains ethos, pathos, and logos to support her arguments.
In this speech, Emma used ethos to establish her credibility, character and worth. She does not portrait herself as a “Harry Potter Girl”, that she delivered a flawless and powerful speech to end the perception that she is just the “Harry Potter Girl”. She was appointed 6 months before she delivered the speech, and she did much research on the issue – gender inequality. In the beginning of her speech to get the audiences’ attention, she declared that her audiences are from all over the world, from elders to youngers, and from males to females. She spends an adequate part of her speech to show her personal experience of gender inequality and information from researching, for example, “I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent being valued less by society.” Also, “When at 15, my girlfriends started dropping out of sports teams because they did not want to appear masculine. At 18, my male friends were unable to express their feelings. I decided that I was a feminist.” This personal story illustrates that feminism is not just for women. Emma considered herself as a feminist because women feel the pressure to be “feminine” and men feel the pressure to be “masculine”, and these are stereotypes. Later on, she started pointing out the symptoms that something is so, “the more I spoke about feminism, the more I realized that fighting for women’s right has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain is that this has to stop.” She used strong language in this clause, for instance, “certain”, “has to”, which shows the level of sureness.
Although this is an informative speech, it is a really possessive speech, she used pathos to approach audiences’ feelings. Emma applies all sorts of carefully chosen words to arouse the emotion of audiences, she applies various phrases and clauses that create a mental picture in audiences’ mind. She is showing her goal and dream in the speech, and hoping that the audiences will realize the seriousness of inequality and give a helping hand. She forcefully repeats the similar message, similar dream, similar words and similar proposal. Emma started out by telling how lucky she was, that her life is a “sheer privilege”, because of her parents, school, and mentors, she showed her gratitude for all of those people who have trusted her. And she claimed that “we need more of those”, because they are the gender equality ambassador, they are the reason and motivation that led Emma to being a UN Ambassador. Then, she asked “how can we effect change in the world when only half of it is invited or being welcomed to participate in the conversation?” The campaign is about making men feel comfortable in standing up and calling themselves feminists, which Emma powerfully highlighted by pointing out how few men she saw at a feminism meeting once, she appealed to what the audiences are supposed to want, to motivate people to change their minds. Lastly, she added a personal touch that urged us to ask ourselves the same question – “If not me, who? If not now, when?” She spoke about what was important to her, and her motivation to deliver the speech, which appealed to what all audiences are supposed to value – opportunity.
Lastly, she used logos to persuade and support her ideas. Throughout the speech she stresses upon the importance of gender equality, she believes that “we must try to mobilize as many men and boys as possible to be advocates for change.” It is a really strong opening remark that will catch everyone attention and make them stop and listen. Firstly, she stated the definition of feminism to give audiences a clearer idea of what it exactly is – “the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities”, used for supporting her point of view and general accuracy, since the argument is based on the audiences’ acceptance of a certain meaning of the key term. Secondly, she referred to the famous speech about women’s rights that Hillary Clinton made in Beijing in 1997, and that less than 30% of the audience were male, which proofed that male does not really care about feminism. Thirdly, she followed this by giving the true definition of feminism, which is more persuasive. Emma also compared and contrasted the different gender stereotypes that kept both men and women from feeling equal, between men feeling the pressure to be aggressive, and women feeling the pressure to be submissive. She called attention to the fact by making analogy, which gender is a spectrum – “it’s time that we all see gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals.”
This speech shows Emma’s passion fighting for equality between men and women. She did a lot of research and quoted from different credible people to support her arguments. And she added some of her personal experience into the speech, which make it more persuasive. She is fully aware of the techniques that can persuade the audience to listen to her when she delivers the speech that proves a momentous push for change. The speech is a piece of passion, emotion, skills, incredible belief and daring hope – “If not now, when?”