After watching the 20 Hours in America speech from television show “the West
Wing”, I knew that the power of the monologue was an aspect of communication
that many people have been overlooking in creating dialogue between humans and
cultures. With this political speech, I was aiming to recreate the powerful structure
and persuasive language that President Bartlett used in his campaign speech.
Studying pieces of rhetoric from all aspects of history, I began compiling power
stylistic devices that I believe important to use, to create a strong speech.
Repetition and epistrophe create images and thoughts in the minds of the viewer:
thoughts that will stay with them long after the speech. Dialogue with hypophora
raises questions for the viewer, and gives them the answers that they need to make
a decision. The distinctions of reality and hyperbole aren’t often clear for the
viewer, giving the speech maker a strong position in swaying their views.
Those four distinct stylistic choices affected and manipulated the language that I
used in my speech, and helped shape it into a text that can move the viewers into
taking action. I aimed to link this piece with the work from Part 1 of IBLL by using
my skills of studying political pieces to try and analyze how purpose (such as
looking at Equality and Gender) can shape the structure of the speech. I believe that
I achieved my goal, and I am definitely proud of my work.
Speech: “The Lie of Equality.”
All our lives, we are told that we are at the start of a new page for mankind: a blank
page, where all equal men and women can make their mark, and help move the
Last weekend, world-class debater Rebecca Meredith was heckled during her final
speech at the Glasgow University Unions debate. Unlike the six males in her debate,
she had abuses like “shame woman” and “frigid bitch” thrown in her face in a
moment that should have been defining. Yet Ms. Meredith and other women at the
event were told by organizers “please do not say anything” and to understand “that
it’s just how it is”.
That is just how it is?
Please don’t say anything, because that’s just how it is?
Some of the smartest and most well spoken women on the planet can’t retaliate to
men’s derogatory comments because “that’s just how it is”?
That blank page is a lie. It’s a cover for the pages filled with misogyny and
masculinity that scribble and deface women throughout the decades.
These ladies, who had spent months and months of time travelling and speaking, to
try and create a greater good, belittled by some boys trying to have a laugh? That’s
not “how it is”. Women who are standing up and working for their dreams should
stand down in the face of petty comments because that’s just how it is? No. They
most definitely should not.
I will not say that I am a feminist, which could be a shock after the subject of this talk,
but I will say that I am an advocate for equality. Whether it’s for equality between
sexualities, between races, between ages, I believe there should be equality in
opportunity for all. That is why when people tell me “women already have
equality”; I laugh in their faces. And it’s not because the phrase is funny: it’s
because it is so obviously untrue.
The United States, where President Obama just signed the Violence Against Women
Act, has an average 18.8% difference in wages for men and women in equal
working positions. In Sweden this ridiculous gap has manifested into the 15:52
movement: protests that women are only being paid to work until 3:52 in the
afternoon. This movement is strong, and gaining speed, but it disappoints me.
What hurts, is that we need to have these movements occurring. Women gained the
right to vote in New Zealand in 1893, and this continued to spread throughout the
world over the next three decades. In these wondrous 120 years since that first
vote with women’s input, we apparently are no further forwards in giving women
Our blank page is now here, and it’s ready for our work. We just need to pick up the
pen, and begin writing. Unfortunately, it isn’t as easy as it sounds.
Some other nations have began taking huge steps for equality of women. In India,
where the decades have been plagued with overtly male dominated offices, women
are trying to change the tides, especially after the publicated gang rape of a 23-year
old on a public bus in Delhi. This event, and the mass-movement to bring her
attacker to justice after she died in a Singaporean hospital caused the gaze of the
international world to focus on the attack, and bring light to the many that weren’t
This is what we need to do.
The publicity has sparked mass protests across India, with men and women fighting
to change the terrible social stigmas that have plagued their country for decades.
We need to stand.
We need to fight.
We need to scream and shout.
We need to make noise, to make waves.
Only through this, can we stir up change. Only from the mass movement of people,
and the mass protest of the many, can we change the cultural imbalances that affect
women in all aspects of life.
And this is a cultural issue. We’ve been grown and raised in a culture that values
masculinity above femininity, and tries to foster the male dominance in our boys,
ignoring the strength and power that women can wield.
Women across the globe need to stand up. They need to understand that we have the
power. We have the strength and the courage to walk against the tide, and to
change the treatment of women across the world. We are fierce, and blunt, and we
can change everything.
Rebecca Meredith and her colleagues have stood up. Following their debate, the
Cambridge Debating Union pulled out of all debates against the Glasgow Union
Team, stating that “the Union seems to be fostering misogynistic tendencies, and
we will not support their beliefs any further”. She took her stance, and managed to
win, through all the threats and comments hurled towards her.
So this is my challenge: let’s actually be civilized human beings. Let’s actually hold
some respect in our hearts. Let’s actually have kindness and empathy for others.
Let’s actually start a new page for mankind. With a new pen, and a new mindset. Let
us band together, as human beings, not men and women, and try to create
something bright and wonderful, that we all deserve.
Thank you very much.