Here is a short summary of our analysis of the “HeForShe Speech” by Emma Watson.
Emma Watson’ speech revolves around the topics of gender inequality and gender roles. More specifically, it is about how stereotypical gender roles contribute to creating and preserving gender inequality.
As a speaker, Emma Watson comes across as credible and reliable and sends her message across by building a trust relationship with the audience. This trust is built as Watson admits both her strengths (which are her strong principles about gender equality and her personal experiences) and her weakness (she does not a lot of have experience as a UN Goodwill Ambassador).
Watson engages the audience – formed by all those attending the UN Women conference or seeing it televised and online— through a number of language techniques and rhetorical devices.
She uses short sentences to capture the audience’s attention in the beginning. She uses numerous repetitions and enumerations to make her ideas stick with the receivers and to add emphasis. Furthermore, she engages the audience by using all three modes of persuasion: ethos, pathos, and logos. This means that she makes the audience have emotional reactions, draw logical conclusions, and trust her and themselves as capable of affecting change and promoting gender equality.
The speech is also specifically addressed to boys and men as it is the opening speech at the launch of the UN campaign HeForShe, aimed at engaging men and boys in advocating women’s rights. The circumstances of the speech imply that much of the speaker’s intention is to inspire the target audience to take action and promote gender equality in accordance with the UN campaign.
Additionally, Watson’s intention is to clarify what feminism and gender equality mean, to raise awareness about the negative consequences of gender inequality, and to make the audience understand why taking action is necessary.
You can read the full analysis of the speech in the following pages.