Emmy Rossum and Sheryl Sandberg are two prominent women in the Western world today. Rossum most notable for her starring role in the television show Shameless and Sandberg for her work in the social media community, pioneering work done in Facebook and being their first woman Coo. In this piece I’m going to compare an Interview Rossum did with Chelsea Handler on her show Chelsea, and the book written by Sandburg titled Lean In. I will be analysing how Rossum and Sandberg use rhetorical factors to build their ethos and fight for women’s rights.
Rossum’s episode aired in 2016 during a difficult election cycle in the United States. Trump, a president elect and now the current president, was fueling debate with his anti immigration propaganda and disrespect for many minority groups. This sparked an uproar of disrespect on social media and Rossum attempts to take a stand against this when she tweeted “I am a women. I am Jewish. I am Marrying an Arab American. My sister in law is handicapped. I’m a victim of sexual violence. It’s personal. ” Rossum’s words open her up to the audience exposing vulnerable and personal aspects of herself and inner community.
She makes the audience sympathetic to her issue and see her as a strong woman for sharing something so deep with the public. In the interview Rossum talks about standing idly by being just as bad as saying hateful things, when she says this she is pressuring the audience to do something about the growing issue with the threat of being considered a hateful person by being complacent. She uses her ethos now established by sympathy to put pressure on the audience to start a movement. Sandberg employs ethos to reach a variety of people, but as a businesswoman she approaches her work with more analytical mindset. Her book Lean In was published March 11, 2013. A time that was blowing up with the Feminist movement. During this year Beyonce reached out and became a feminist icon with the release of her album, Wendy Davis filibustered an anti-abortion rule in texas, and Kerry Washington was nominated for an emmy lead, the first time for a black women since 1995. During this formative period, Sandberg, one of the world’s most powerful women, came out with this book. She shares many of her experiences and realizes that the conclusions she has come to are backed of by tons of evidence.
She talks about “women who have it all” This is a popular term given and promoted to women who have a thriving career and a happy family and partner. The language of this promotes the idea that having it all is this unreachable accomplishment that is something all women should be expected to work toward, but her work combats this idea. She gives examples from her own experiences working up the professional ladder and becoming COO of a big company and realizing the increasing division that has become a social norm in the workplace.
She opens up to her reader and shows them that even she, an extremely successful businesswoman, has seen and experienced these struggles first hand, and through logos states that this is a common problem for women. She destroys the idea that the have it all mentality is only for women and states that there needs to be more equal distribution of responsibilities between genders. As a woman who has had the family and the career her personal stories allow her to connect with any reader who has experienced anything close to what she has been through.
Both of these women use their ethos to their advantage but they drive the point through with the other rhetorical aspects they pair with their ethos. Rossum focuses on Pathos to benefit her ethos in her argument. She tries to connect the audience to her personal experiences and after sharing how hostility and discrimination has broken her down, she goes into a story about how she worked hard and valued herself and moved up in her career. At this point in her interview she already has a sympathetic audience that considers her a credible person, she is now able to take her audience on an emotional journey through pathos benefitting her ethos.
She talks about her show Shameless and how she recently got the opportunity to try out directing a few episodes and will be even more involved with directing in Season 7. She said that she mentioned to her boss offhand that she wanted to try out directing and was always brushed off, but after she took a classes at NYU she realized “you have to ask” directly because otherwise no one in charge will take her seriously. She talks about how she was hesitant to be direct before because ” you don’t know if you really are” (worth of something).
This hits the heart of many people right from the start because this insecurity is something that everyone can relate to and immediately the audience is rooting for her to gain confidence and get what she wants. She sat down with her boss and asked to be more involved and he gave her the opportunity. By reaching this positive climax the audience is happy for Rossum and is excited to see her career develop as an influential woman. She says “I think it’s so important for women especially now, to take a leadership role if you can.
A lot of women will feel inspired by this and encouraged to go for more leadership because Rossum is leading by example through her narrative, establishing herself as a credible source, and is connecting with the audience on an emotional journey. Through this narrative she cries out for alliance and improvement in society, Sandberg takes a more analytical approach to the same idea. Sandberg pairs logos with her ethos to create a shockingly powerful piece that points out the flaws in society and the business world. To start of she says that “Of 197 heads of state, only 22 are women.
Of the top 500 companies by revenues, only 21 are headed by women. In politics, women hold just 18% of congressional offices. ” She comes to the conclusion that this is a world run by men and that if women don’t jump for more high level positions the world will always be run by men. She blames a lot of this on the fact that women often don’t go for that promotion or for something ambitious because they feel like they will be hindered by their family or they are insecure they won’t do the work as well as someone else could do the work.
For the women that do ask for what they want Sandberg reports that “thirty percent of women said they’d received feedback that they were “bossy” or “aggressive” vs. 23% of men. ” Women are told to be a certain way and act a certain way and when they try to reach for what they want they are often judged and outnumbered. This statistic will be a reality check for men on some level because this is a social norm that is not a conscious thought. Sandberg gives a statistic about being promoted to manager and says that “for every 100 women who are promoted to that title, 130 men receive the same bump”.
Through this analytical lense she reaches out to an audience that is professional and important in the business world. Her vast knowledge of this issue benefits her ethos undeniably. Her overall message is once there are more women in the higher up positions it opens up the possibility for further equality, because a women in charge would be more attuned to the gender issues that occur in the workplace. Sandberg specifically mentions parking and closer spots for the expecting mothers. This is something that might not have been thought of by someone who hasn’t experienced pregnancy before or thinks about it in the workplace.
Sandberg highlights this obvious discrimination against women with logos that she incorporates and her experience to formulate a claim about gender inequality in the business world and the call to all women to rise up and take a stand against sexism. They are both credible women because they have lived the experiences that they talk about and can be inspiring to people everywhere because they are running off of the mindset that” if it can work for me than it can work for you. ” Sheryl’s book has a lot more hard facts that can convince people of the obvious social issues.
She has the ability to asset her claim through facts and expiriences and share her call to action with a serious audience. Though Rossum’s interview is not factually based her simple tweet has the ability to evoke such emotion. She grabs the audience from the start and takes them on an emotional journey and by the end they cannot help but believe in her ideas. Both of these women show how powerful ethos can be especially when paired with another rhetorical artifact and when used in the correct way it can inspire millions to make a difference in the world.