Rhetorical Analysis Essay on Gender
“Why Do We Make So Much of Gender?” a piece by Alian G. Johnson explains a system of patriarchy and how that controls the way individuals look at the gender roles in society. Johnson has a PHD in sociology and taught at Wesleyan University and Hartford College for women. Through his use of pathos, sources, and appeal to culture, Johnson effectively states his argument that patriarchy is unruly and genders create contradictions to society.
The sole purpose of Johnson writing this piece is to explain and inform the issues that genders play in society. He states his purpose mainly when he says, “None of this means reproduction doesn’t matter… male dominated, male identified, and male centered society.” (Paragraph 10) By adding this the audience can then understand more clearly that even though women hold a big part in life, which is reproduction they are still not valued as highly as men.
Johnson used pathos in this article to appeal to the audience’s emotions and make the story seem more relatable. He explains that men seem to be held up as heroes even though women are just as much a hero as the man is. He explains this when he states, “This is especially true in relation to children, whom many fathers seem all too willing to abandon and all too unwilling to provide for when the going gets rough. In contrast, women rarely feel they have a choice about whether to stay with and care for their children.” (Paragraph 12) This appeals to one's emotions because they feel a sense that mothers do indeed do more for their children than a man does, but however somehow the man is always the one to get all the credit for holding a family together. Also, this is especially relatable for those who have grown up mostly without a father, like myself, because you can understand that in society the male gender is supposedly dominant, but you have only seen a woman be contributional to your life. Thus is also implied when Johnson states, “Qualities such as heroism, caring, and wildness are no more about maleness then they are about femaleness.” (Paragraph 14) Adding to before, the traits that are only used to describe a male, can apply just as much to a female.
Continuing on, Johnson uses other sources to prove that patriarchy is an issue and creates turmoil that men are superior in society. Through the use of adding other sources it creates a sense of a more reliable argument because it makes it evident that he is not the only one who believes in this issue. He uses Sam Keen’s article as a source when he states, “to take care of the place to which.. Empathy and compassion into an action of caring.” (Paragraph 11) Through the use of this article one can see the way a man is projected to be in society and see that those traits are actually traits a woman usually has. However, a man can indeed have those traits, so the point of only selecting one gender to put high above is pointless and unnecessary when they both can equally be as powerful. Adding, Johnson uses Robert Bly’s article as a source when he states, “Soft men to get in touch… the body and nature.” (Paragraph 12) This adds the fact that although men are sought to be superior in society they are being told to be more like women.
Moving forward, Johnson uses appeal to religion and culture to show that women have a significant part to life as well, and all they were ever appreciated for was the gift of reproduction, Women contribute to this world, but because of patriarchy all they are viewed to do is reproduce. Johnson states, “Goddess figures were associated with human mothers... people who are already born can eat.” (Paragraph 6) This implies that women were viewed as Goddesses because they were pregnant. Not because of how they kept this earth afloat and they make sure everyone else is being well taken care of as well.
Concluding, because of the use of patriarchy humans are being brainwashed into thinking that men are superior to women, even though there is clear evidence that women do just as much as the man. By even assorting certain qualities, traits, etc with genders we are contradicting ourselves because the other gender can do the same, and maybe even be more efficient at it. Because genderalizing still exists, patriarchy will also. Even though, all people can be similar no matter the gender.