What ailment do horses fear most? Hey fever!
- Mary Wollstonecraft was a proto-feminist, and here are subsequent movements:
- Coalition of Feminist Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition
- WWI Propaganda Posters (quick look)
- Last Extremists (15 min)*
*Please note that this video contains a reference to sexual assault that could be seen as mitigating the severity of such actions. I assure you there’s a larger comment on patriarchy’s denigration of women that the video is making, and it’s very difficult to believe the intent is to downplay the seriousness of any crimes.
- Lia Thomas in context
This article on ThoughtCo. from Richard Nordquist might be helpful in understanding the ways scholars are approaching feminisms and rhetorics (notice the plural usage).
Before getting into Poirot’s article, let’s return to some basic Aristotelian concepts of ethos, pathos, and logos:
- Ethos: “[There is persuasion] through character whenever the speech is spoken in such a way as to make the speaker worthy of credence; for we believe fair-minded people to a greater extent and more quickly [than we do others] on all subjects in general and completely so in cases where there is not exact knowledge but room for doubt.” (Aristotle 1.2.4, Kennedy p. 38; Part 2, para. 3 Online)
- Pathos (Aristotle 1.2.5, Kennedy p. 39; Part 2, para. 4 Online; Chapter 2-[1356a]): “[There is persuasion] through the hearers when they are led to feel emotion [pathos] by the speech.”
- Logos (Aristotle 1.2.6, Kennedy p. 39; Part 2, para. 5 Online; Chapter 2-[1356b]): “Persuasion occurs through the arguments [logoi] when we show the truth or the apparent truth from whatever is persuasive in each case.”
Aristotle probably assumed an audience made up all, half, some, or none of their minds prior to a speech, but, as we learned, he placed an emphasis on the ways audiences were moved during a speech. It’s hard to believe that no one has an opinion about a common topic beforehand. Also, it’s rare that someone actually has an opinion about everything…anyway, in your analyses, it’s best to consider a type of persuasive approach rather than get bogged down in the infinite number of ways a message could be conveyed.
We have to draw boundaries when we present a topic in writing or speaking to attempt a coherent argument. One of the goals of academic projects is to not “bite off more than you can chew.” When you discover the secret of how to avoid attempting too much in your initial go at a project, please let me know your secret!
Other Ways to Define the Three Modes of Persuasion
Aristotle defined these terms about 2500 years ago, so we should consider a few updates. Although rhetoricians might not all agree with the expanded definitions below, if they don’t recognize the instability of meaning, they’re not recognizing fundamental etymological transitions.
1) the presentation of or appeal to one’s character
2) the characterization of a document or speaker (consider this to be the “look and feel” of a document, its attributes)
Notice the two parts of this definition…be able to analyze a document from both parts separately.
- Pathos: not really any change I can think of
1) appeal to emotions
2) but scrutinize “feel” vs “feeling”
1) appeal to logic; explicit or implicit deductive arguments
2) stating assumed facts (e.g., statistics, addresses, date/time)
Remember, we often describe emotions (anger, happiness, sadness, etc.) as our “feelings.” However, be aware of an oversight we often have with the word “feel.”* One can feel good** in terms of emotion, but one can also feel something is right, wrong, common, typical of a group, etc. In that sense, “feel” is synonymous with “think” or “believe,” and it shouldn’t be immediately associated with emotions (or pathos). Consider the phrase the “look and feel” of the something. That phrase refers to the attributes of something: it could be physical as in the “look and feel of pinecone,” or it could be more abstract as in “the look and feel of a city,” which means the attributes of that city. This comes up when people say a place is a character in a film or TV show (i.e., the character of Baltimore in The Wire).
Consider the “look and feel,” the ethos, of the following webpages:
*Grammar/usage fun: Can you feel bad, or do you feel badly?
**Of course, if the rhythm feels good to you…
These terms–ethos, pathos, and logos–may be important for your Rhetoric/al Project, so please, please, please ask questions if the terms are confusing. If we have time tonight, though, we’re going to go over assumptions based on experience, bias, conventional wisdom, etc. One type of rhetorical analysis, and I argue Poirot is doing this, compares similarities in discourse. What might we say about a group of designs for pizza places…
Kristan Poirot’s “Domesticating the Liberated Woman”
Now that we’re all wanting pizza…let’s dive into the reading! Kristan Poirot is an Associate Professor in Communication at Texas A&M. Let’s consider these areas of the text:
- p. 264: “[Poirot] read[s] woman-identification rhetorics in I terms of broader discursive efforts to manufacture “woman” in a way to meet various movements’ demands.”
- p. 265: Main thesis–“woman-identification’s ultimate rhetorical failure might not be its expulsion of certain kinds of women (i.e., heterosexual ) from feminism, but its commitment to liberation that necessarily entailed a rhetoric of confinement and containment, domesticating woman and feminism.”
- What does Poirot mean about “domesticating “woman and feminism”?
- p. 266: “containment rhetorics…attempt to tame the threat of alternative views through discipline and confinement, clearly articulating the other as outside of the dominant values and structures of U.S. culture.”
- “dissent was domesticated when the press and administration success fully redirected the agitator ‘s energy into a much more palatable and culture affirming activity–voter registration.”
- Obviously, voter registration and voting rights have been fully establish today and aren’t contested…
- p. 267: Via Murphy–“domestication” had the goal “to strengthen the status quo, minimizing the damage that alternative rhetorics and/or social dissent could inflict on dominant values and meanings.”
- “social movements them selves participate in modes of containment and/ or domestication.”
- pp. 267-268: “identity political movements are prohibitatory,* demanding that subjects conform to predetermined (recognizable) definitions and, sometimes, politically viable identifications.”
*Why you ought to be more generous and forgiving when using [sic] in quotations from other sources…
- p. 268: “identifications create disciplinary and boundaried locales. These locales normalize and strengthen a supposed border between the movement’s claims to radical authenticity and the status quo.”
- p. 269: Media…part of the solution or the problem?
- Planned Parenthood has a media wing: Associate Dir. of Arts & Entertainment job (pdf created from a LinkedIn ad)
- p. 270: Betty Friedan on the “lavender menace”
- I highly recommend Hulu’s Mrs. America series
- p. 271: “the mainstream press demonized feminism through its cove rage of unpalatable radical elements and the inauguration of reluctant leaders.”
- p. 272: Radical feminists wanted to explode hierarchies and assumptions of traditional social relationships.
- p. 273: Woman must free themselves first before a revolution can occur.
- What might Wollstonecraft think?
- p. 275: Quoting Tate (2005)–“”W-I-W” ‘provided a rhetorical site of revolutionary identity, a constitutive rhetoric marked with the telos of liberation from male tyranny,’ positioning ‘lesbian feminists at the center of feminist identity’.”
- p. 299, n5: “constitutive rhetoric” as “a discourse that constitutes an identity that presumes to be both pre-given and ‘natural'”
The Life of Brian (1979) “So funny it was banned in Norway”
Here are some clips that require a caveat because they’re a bit dated on the humor. However, I think you’ll find that the parody might reflect the infighting that Poirot brings up in her article.
- Religious/political sectarianism: The People’s Front of Judea
- Cost-benefit analysis on revolting against the Romans
- The right to have babies and pronoun politics
- This might seem transphobic today, but others herald it as prophetic. Remember, this was humor form 1979, so you should determine whether or not it ages well.
- Btw, a few Jewish groups were not happy about the film when it came out
Be on the lookout for texts you can use to construct an argument about rhetoric, meaning making, or discourse in general. Any ideas for your Rhetoric/al Project?
We’re back to a more normal reading load next week. You’ll have Ch. 3 from Knoblauch along with an article on Canvas: Glen McClish’s “The Instrumental and Constitutive Rhetoric of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Frederick Douglass.” Also, I added Judith Butler’s very quick read “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution”; Angela McRobbie’s “Feminism, Postmodernism, and the ‘Real Me'”; and Adrienne Rich’s “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Experience” (cited by Poirot) for those wanting to explore today’s discussion further. These aren’t required reading.
Although this is more appropriate for a class one cultural studies, you might want a refresher from last year’s New Media class: Social Construction of Gender and Sexuality and McRobbie and Rich. Again, these aren’t required but are possibly helpful, so enjoy!