Gender Wage Gap Op Ed

WASHINGTON, D.C.—One surprising demographic that saw a majority voting for Donald Trump in the 2016 election was white women. Many are surprised to have seen so many white, suburban women vote for a candidate who so notoriously had public issues with misogyny. A recent Washington Post article stated that since the Trump administration’s entry into office, there was been an extreme surge in the wage gap of staffed members of The White House (Mark Perry). With more recent exposure on this issue people are thinking to the future now and wonder if Trump can hold this niche in 2020.

The issue brings up a larger, ongoing discussion about women’s role in society and how they are reacting to the continuing inequality they face. Women have long held a subservient position to men in the patriarchal control of Americans society. Outdated gender norms and misogyny kept women in a position that was deemed less than capable compared to their male counterparts.

We as modern Americans tend to think that we have moved past this; yet, women are a group that continue to see inequality on a day to day basis. Despite a common notion that women have achieved greater equality, there are so many reminders that it is not full equality just yet. In fact, women still earn less than men in the same types of employment positions. That earning ratio is at about 80% of what their male counterparts earn. Researchers call this the gender wage gap, and it demonstrates how those outdated gender norms and patriarchal controls have not subsided just yet.

Interestingly, several groups saw the gender wage gap close faster than it has ever done so before in the last decade. Working-class women have witnessed the gender wage gap decrease significantly from the 1990s into the 2000s. Women in domestic, education, and various vocation fields have seen major improvement over the last twenty or thirty years, making much more of a percentage of their male counterpart’s income than ever before. This is a positive sign that women of this socioeconomic niche are moving closer to equality in terms of income levels.

Was this progress a factor in so many women turning to Trump, despite his very vocal issues with his own behavior with women? It could explain why so many working-class women in white areas voted for a candidate who represented conservative Republic values economically. Well, maybe not so much. In fact, the rate the gender wage gap is closing has stalled within the past few years, hovering at around the same ratio without much progress.

Moreover, the progress made in the last generation or so was also limited primarily to working-class and some middle-class circumstances. While working-class jobs saw major advancements in the closing of the gender wage gap, the jobs at the very top of the latter actually saw a reversal of this progress. Women in the top positions, like CEO, executives, managers, professors, and scientific researchers in the field, all saw the gender wage gap actually increase over the past few years. They receive around 60 to 70% of what their male counterparts do—a huge drop from the average employment situation.

The fact that women at the top of the ladder are being held back reinforces the notorious image of the glass ceiling still very much in place. It is extremely discouraging for women looking to put in the time and effort to get higher educations or work their way up the corporate ladder. What we need in American society right now is encouragement for women to keep entering those top and key positions in the workplace, not the discouragement the gender wage gap presents. Even worse, the fact that these top jobs are paid so much less really demonstrates the fact the gender equality has not fully satiated the most important power circles of American society. The wealthy elite that own multi-billion corporations still see it is appropriate to pay a woman executive one third less than what they would pay a male executive. The top academic institutions and government research agencies see it is appropriate to pay female deans, professors, and scientists less for the same type of work. I personally believe this is wrong and unjust. This reflects a deep, ongoing problem within the leadership and ruling class. While they may be willing to concede ground for the working-class to make it look like there is real progress happening, the fact that they still deny women equality in the ruling institutions and circles means that the patriarchy still refuses to allow gender equality to permeate on a deeper, more meaningful level.

With all this in mind, one has to wonder if the split among women economically speaking will also split them as a voting demographic. As working-class women continue to see improvement in their pay, they may be more inclined to vote conservative on economic issues and believe that they are reaching greater equality in society. Meanwhile, women in higher job positions, who continue to earn an increasingly smaller portion of their male counterpart’s salaries, may see things much differently at the polls. These women who see increasing inequality may turn more to the left and vote Democratically more often, considering a need they see to fit inequality.

The thing is, we can’t keep looking at women as a single group that have the same interests and political motivations. Women are incredibly diverse as a group and experience very different lives. Their socioeconomic position continues to differ, as the gender wage gap closes for some, but increases for others. This and other factors will continue to split women as a demographic in terms of political ideology and voting behaviors. Thus, don’t think to lump them all together when the frenzy of the next election starts up again.

Works Cited

Ingraham, Christopher. “White House Gender Pay Gap More than Triples under Trump.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 5 July 2017, http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/07/05/white-house-gender-pay-gap-more-than-triples-under-trump/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.1b96123f9a9f.

 

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Demagoguery of the Past

Throughout history, there have been numerous political leaders across the world who are considered demagogues. In Patricia Roberts Miller’s texts “Characteristics of Demagoguery” and “Democracy, Demagoguery, and Critical Rhetoric”, she defines demagoguery as “polarizing propaganda that motivates members of an in-group to hate and scapegoat some outgroup(s)” (Miller 3). Within these texts, she creates an outline of numerous characteristics that define demagoguery. After reading George Wallace’s Inaugural Speech as Governor of Alabama, it is clear that his ideology falls under Miller’s characteristics for demagoguery due to his polarization, slipperiness on crucial terms, and heavy reliance on fallacious arguments.

The first and most important characteristic of demagoguery from Miller’s text that Wallace falls under is polarization. Miller describes polarization as breaking policies and groups (in-group/outgroup) into two options/policies/groups. Wallace does this by creating two groups that one can side with: either the in-group, southerners who believe in segregation, and the outgroup, the federal government and anyone who goes against segregation. He highlights the split of both groups numerous times throughout his speech. For example, Wallace calls on people such as “natives of the great Mid-West” and “descendants of the far West flaming spirit of pioneer freedom”, expressing that they are “Southerners too and brothers with [them] in [their] fight” (Wallace 6). He implements this as a rhetorical strategy in order to seem as if he is including many types of people within his group, making his audience members feel a connection with him. He also establishes an outgroup multiple times throughout his speech, revealing the federal government as a “tyranny” in order to manipulate members of the in-group into being on one side. By polarizing these two groups, Wallace tricks the audience into believing that there is only one side that one can stand on, and clearly, he makes it seem as if his side is the best.

The second part of polarization that Miller discusses and Wallace uses to manipulate his audience is breaking policies and options into two categories. He explains that the two options are either for Alabama to fight against integration in order to be free of the central government or to allow the government to desegregate the state, resulting in oppression. He does this by emphasizing segregation multiple times throughout his speech as he claims “[s]egregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” (Wallace 2). He explains that once they defeat the federal government, they can then “enjoy the full richness of the Great American Dream” (Wallace 20), acting as if there is no chance for the American Dream to occur without segregation. By breaking these options into two categories, Wallace is able to manipulate his audience into believing that desegregation results in oppression which in turn puts the audience in a “state of panic” (Miller 9), as Miller explains.

Miller’s second characteristic of demagoguery that Wallace easily falls under is slipperiness on crucial terms, which is heavily relying on terms that are vague and “not clearly defined” (Miller 23) but are accepted throughout society. She explains these terms as “god and devil terms” in which some words are associated with “good” and other words are associated with “bad”. By utilizing these terms, demagogues can associate good terms with the in-group’s cause and bad terms with the outgroup. Wallace includes terms related to “good” and “bad” multiple times throughout his speech; however, he never defines them. The term that he uses numerous times is “freedom”, which is exemplified when he explains that “today we sound the drum for freedom” (Wallace 1). He implements this word multiple times throughout his speech when discussing what he as Governor is attempting to accomplish, but he never defines exactly what freedom is and what will come out of this ‘freedom’ that he claims the audience will receive. Although it is not difficult to recognize this fallacy in his argument, the audience does not take the time to define what is being said which leads them to believe that what Wallace is saying is true. By using words like this, Wallace appeals to pathos as he evokes strong emotions from the audience which helps them to be on the side of the in-group.

The third characteristic that portrays Wallace as a demagogue is a heavy reliance on fallacious arguments. Almost all demagogues are guilty of this due to the large impact that it has on manipulating audiences. Throughout his speech, Wallace utilizes fallacious arguments emphasized by Miller in her text such as false dilemma, scare tactics, red herring, and ad personum. As one of his main fallacious arguments, he uses scare tactics in order to evoke a fearful response from the audience. He explains that southerners in Alabama have “become government-fearing people, not God-fearing people” (Wallace 14) and that the “government has become [their] god” (Wallace 15). By highlighting this, Wallace forces the audience into becoming fearful of the central government and what they will do to them. As well as these scare tactics, Wallace utilizes the fallacious argument ad personum. He uses this fallacy by making it clear that it is in the audience’s best interest to side with Wallace’s point of view no matter the validity of his argument. There are many times throughout his speech that he explains that he has the audience’s best interest at heart, especially toward the end of his speech when he makes a promise to his people, that he “will try to make [them] a good governor…[he] will be sincere with [them]. [He] will be honest with [them]” (Wallace 35). By making this promise, he uses ad personum by stressing that by siding with him, the audience will receive the best possible outcome of the situation. Both of these strategies that he uses, although fallacious and dishonest, contribute to drawing the audience toward his beliefs.

Along with scare tactics and ad personum, Wallace includes numerous common logical fallacies throughout his speech to manipulate his audience into siding with him. He mainly focuses on the false dilemma fallacy because he oversimplifies the issue with the federal government by declaring that the only two alternatives are siding with the federal government and being oppressed or siding with the in-group (Alabama) and receiving freedom. Wallace manipulates the audience into thinking that segregation is the only way to guarantee freedom, making it clear that the only reasonable side to take is his. The second logical fallacy that Wallace is guilty of using is red herring, which is bringing up irrelevant issues and taking attention away from the real problem. Wallace does this multiple times within his speech in order to draw attention away from the problem with the federal government. Toward the beginning of his speech, he goes off on a tangent about certain qualities of Alabama that other states do not have, creating a sense of nationalism. He explains that Alabama has “ample rainfall and rich grasslands…favorable climate, streams, woodlands, beaches, and natural beauty” (Wallace 9). Bringing this irrelevant topic up directs attention away from the problem with the federal government, and attempts to direct attention toward the beauty of Alabama in order to show love and appreciation toward the state. By directing attention elsewhere, Wallace is able to emphasize the fact that Alabama is an honorable state to be a part of, and to side with Alabama means to side with the in-group. Because Wallace polarizes the situation and creates only two sides, this red herring fallacy makes it easier for him to manipulate the audience into thinking that if one is for the federal government and desegregation, then one does not appreciate the beauty of Alabama, ultimately being considered the outgroup. Although these fallacious arguments are deceptive, they are a way for Wallace, and other demagogues, to manipulate their audience toward their beliefs.

Demagoguery is a way of manipulation that has been around numerous years and allows political leaders to work their way through the system and rise to power. In Patricia Roberts Miller’s text, she outlines many characteristics that define demagoguery in which George Wallace falls under, especially during his inaugural speech. Wallace’s ideology clearly falls under these categories from his utilization polarization, slipperiness on crucial terms, and fallacious arguments. Although his argument against the federal government and desegregation is invalid, he was able to manipulate his audience into being on his side with these characteristics, like many other demagogues have succeeded to do in the past.

 

Works Cited

Roberts-Miller, Patricia. “Characteristics of Demagoguery.”

Roberts-Miller, Patricia. “Democracy, Demagoguery, and Critical Rhetoric.” Rhetoric and  Public Affairs, vol. 8, no. 3, 2005.

Wallace, George. “George Wallace’s Inaugural Speech as Governor of Alabama.” 14 January       1963, Alabama State Capitol, Montgomery, AL. Keynote Address.

Comparing Arguments: Removal of Confederate Statues Around the United States of America

In 2017, there was an ongoing debate regarding the removal of Confederate monuments. Citizens across the United States take different positions over whether or not they should be removed. In his speech “Landrieu Speech on the Removal of Confederate Monuments” given in 2017, New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu argues to his audience—New Orleans citizens—that taking down the Confederate monuments in New Orleans will help citizens confront the history of the United States as it truly was and to move on from it in order to change the community for the better. John Daniel Davidson takes a different position in his text “Why We Should Keep the Confederate Monuments Right Where They Are” (2017) as he argues to his audience—United States citizens—that the Confederate statues should not be taken down because it will not change the past and would make for a poorer future.

Landrieu and Davidson value their opposing positions because they both believe that the monuments have different meanings. Landrieu believes that the monuments represent The Cult of the Lost Causes’ goal to hide the truth about the Confederate history while Davidson sees the monuments as “a memorial of our ancestors who died, a challenge to understand their time and its troubles, and a warning for the present day” (Davidson 22). Within their pieces, Landrieu and Davidson both make numerous claims in support of their arguments. Landrieu makes the claims that there are hidden truths about history that people need to confront and quit ignoring, the monuments were originally put up to hide the truth about the real history of the Confederacy, and many people were aware of the horrible message that the cult intended to make. Within these claims, he appeals to ethos, logos, and pathos, includes assumptions, and incorporates numerous rhetorical strategies such as metadiscourse, metaphors, authorities, rhetorical questions, exemplification, and anecdotes which all strengthen his argument. In his text, Davidson makes the claims that the statues can educate future generations about the horror of slavery, taking the statues down would lead to the removal of other monuments, and that the “left wing” is attempting to get a rise out of the “right wing” by removing the monuments. He appeals to ethos and logos as well as incorporates rhetorical devices such as prolepsis, rhetorical questions, and authorities. Both Landrieu and Davidson effectively make their argument toward their position on this debate; however, Landrieu has a more effective argument because the appeals and rhetorical strategies that he incorporates strengthen his argument more than Davidson’s strategies.

Landrieu begins his speech by welcoming his audience and describing New Orleans in a positive matter before he shifts toward his first claim that there are hidden truths about the history of slaves in New Orleans that must be confronted. He backs up his claim with evidence and an appeal to logos as he gives numerous facts explaining that New Orleans was a large slave market with a port “where hundreds of thousands of souls were bought” and that almost “4,000 of [their] fellow citizens were lynched” (Landrieu 2). Although Landrieu does not give a source to where he got this information, these facts still strengthen his argument because he initially establishes credibility for himself by being the mayor of the city which leads the audience into believing that what he says is true. Through this evidence, it is revealed that Landrieu makes the hidden assumption that many people are unaware of the facts of history and need to be informed on it. Because he hold this assumption, he strengthens his argument by giving the audience facts that they may not have known already. Within this evidence, Landrieu includes a metaphor, explaining that slaves were “beaten to a bloody pulp” (Landrieu 2). This metaphor appeals to pathos and strengthens his argument as it forces the audience to internalize the words “bloody pulp” and feel sympathy toward those who went through this horrific time, which leans the audience toward his position. Another way that he strengthens his claim is by quoting an authority, President George W. Bush. He adds Bush’s quote, “‘A great nation does not hide its history. It faces its flaws and corrects him’” (Landrieu 4), strengthening his claim because it appeals to ethos and it is common for people to be persuaded into thinking what well-known authorities say, leading to trust within his argument.

After his first claim, Landrieu incorporates metadiscourse as he explains to his audience that he will be speaking about “why [he] chose to remove these four monuments” (Landrieu 4). This strengthens his overall argument because it gives the audience a clear idea on exactly what he will be talking about and there is no confusion on the position that he is arguing for. He then goes into his second claim which emphasizes that the monuments were originally put up to hide the goring truth about the history of the Confederacy and only one side of the story is told. His claim is strengthened due to his incorporation of evidence that appeals to logos, explaining that The Cult of the Lost Cause had one goal, and that was to “rewrite history and hide the truth, which is that the Confederacy was on the wrong side of humanity” (Landrieu 5). This appeal strengthens his argument because it informs the audience on the true facts about the Confederate history that they may not have been aware of, changing their opinion on the meaning of these monuments. Landrieu further expands on this claim as he explains that because only one side of the story is told, the problem is ignored by many even though it affects others who connect with the history. As he expands on this claim, he includes a personal anecdote about when one of his friends asked him to take the perspective of an African American parent who needs to explain who the Confederate soldiers were to their five-year-old child, followed by rhetorical questions such as “Can you look into that young girl’s eyes and convince her that Robert E. Lee is there to encourage her?” (Landrieu 8). This anecdote and set of rhetorical questions strengthen his argument because it forces the audience to put themselves in the shoes of an African American parent, which in turn causes the audience to take a different perspective on the Confederate monuments because it makes them realize that the monuments affect people in everyday situations.

In support of his argument, Landrieu makes his third claim that although many people may not be aware of the true history of the monuments, others are clearly aware of the message that the cult intended to make—the Confederacy was still in charge of the city—and with these monuments present, they are constantly reminded of this message. Through this claim, Landrieu is making the assumption that many citizens are “painfully aware of the long shadows their presence casts” (Landrieu 16). This assumption strengthens his argument because he has already established enough credibility throughout his speech that the audience believes what he says is true. Landrieu backs up his claim with exemplification as he provides an example of a man, Terence Blanchard who looks at the monuments as what they truly are. He explains that Blanchard “never looked at them as a source of pride” (Landrieu 17), which reveals that his claim is true and that there are people who are aware of the sickening message made by the cult.

As Landrieu powerfully argues his reasoning on why the Confederate monuments in New Orleans will be removed, Davidson argues that the United States monuments should stay right where they are. To support his overall argument, Davidson makes the claims that the statues can be viewed as a way to educate future generations about the “evils” of slavery and teaches them a lesson, taking the statues down would lead to activists demanding the removal of other monuments, and that the “left wing” is attempting to get a rise out of the “right wing” through the removal of these monuments. Throughout his argument, he appeals to ethos as he includes authorities such as Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. and Kevin Williamson which establishes credibility and leads the audience to believe that what he says is true. As well as ethos, Davidson appeals to logos many times as he backs up his claims with evidence. For example, when Davidson claims that taking the statues down will lead to activists demanding more monument removals, he backs this up with evidence by listing many activists who are doing this such as a pastor in Chicago who “asked the mayor to remove the names of Washington and Andrew Jackson from city parks because they owned slaves” (Davidson 15). This contributes to his argument because it proves to the audience that there is evidence that backs up his claim and makes it true.

Davidson incorporates numerous other rhetorical strategies in his argument that strengthen as well as weaken his argument. A rhetorical device utilized by Davidson that strengthens his argument is prolepsis. In the introduction of his text, he addresses the counterargument that “we shouldn’t honor a bunch of racists who fought to preserve slavery” (Davidson 1). This strengthens his argument because he deals with arguments that can be made against him before the audience can do so. One way that he weakens his argument is by adding a quote from Kevin Williamson which states that “the Left’s vandalism is intended mainly to get a rise out of the Right” (Davidson 12). This quote weakens Davidson’s argument because it can be taken offensively by certain audience members who are a part of the left-wing which can turn the audience against him. Despite this weakness, Davidson still strengthens his argument in many areas. For example, he incorporates rhetorical questions such as, “Why shouldn’t we view them as we should, as a haunting and a cautionary tale?” (Davidson 10). These questions force the audience to become engaged in his text and allow the audience to think strongly about the questions that he is putting forth.

Within his speech, Mitch Landrieu argues that the Confederate monuments in New Orleans are being relocated in order to remember the truth about our history and finally move past it. While Landrieu argues for the removal of the monuments, John Daniel Davidson argues against the removal because it will not change the past and make for a poorer future. Both Landrieu and Davidson incorporate numerous appeals and rhetorical strategies such as rhetorical questions, metadiscourse, authorities, metaphors, exemplification, and more. Through these appeals and rhetorical strategies, both writers effectively make their arguments about the Confederate monument removal but Landrieu’s argument is more effective because the appeals, evidence, and strategies that he incorporates better support his argument compared to Davidson.

 

 

Works Cited

Davidson, John Daniel. “Why We Should Keep The Confederate Monuments Right Where They   Are.” The Federalist, August 18, 2017. http://thefederalist.com/2017/08/18/in-defense-of       themonuments/

Landrieu, Mitch. “Landrieu Speech on the Removal of Confederate Monuments.” New York          Times, 23 May 2017, New Orleans, LA. Speech.

Smoking Products: Analyzing Rhetorical Strategies

In order for one to construct an effective persuasive argument, one must utilize effective rhetorical strategies that back it up. “Op-Ed: E-cigs Are a Risk to Everyone, Not Just the User” (Diona Shelbourne), “Smoking Ban Diminishes On-campus Diversity” (Simon Shieh), and “A Smoker’s Plea” (Stephen Miller) all attempt to persuade their audiences—university students and staff—into believing that their opinions about the ban of on-campus smoking are true. In Shelbourne’s text, she attempts to persuade her audience into believing that smoking on-campus should be banned because it does not only harm the user, it harms the people around them as well. Shieh and Miller take a different route as Shieh tries to persuade his audience into believing that banning on-campus smoking limits diversity and sets restrictions on the students and Miller tries to persuade his audience into thinking that banning on-campus smoking takes away the students’ liberties and will then lead to further restrictions.

Shieh, Shelbourne, and Miller all combine numerous rhetorical strategies within their texts in order to craft their arguments, attempting to persuade their audiences. Throughout their argument, Shelbourne appeals to ethos and pathos, Miller appeals to ethos and logos, while Shieh appeals to all three. Shelbourne uses the rhetorical strategies of narration, exaggeration, and assumptions, Shieh incorporates the use of narration, and Miller uses metadiscourse and transitional questions. Although they differ in their rhetorical strategies used, all three writers utilize a cause and effect analysis to construct their persuasive arguments. Due to the difficulties of constructing an effective persuasive argument, all three periodicals contain areas within their strategies that weaken their arguments. Due to the great deal of evidence that backs up his argument, Stephen Miller’s, “A Smoker’s Plea”, is the most effective argument out of the three in persuading his audience of what he attempts to get them to believe.

All three writers incorporate a cause and effect analysis; however, they all use this analysis in order to persuade their audiences into believing different claims. Shelbourne’s analysis explains that if the university bans on-campus smoking, then students will not be exposed to the dangers of secondhand smoke. This cause and effect analysis differs from both Shieh and Shelbourne’s analysis’ as Shieh’s analysis reveals that if universities were to ban on-campus smoking, then the universities would be limiting diversity and restricting social bonds and coping mechanisms while Miller discusses that banning on-campus smoking will result in the loss of the students’ liberties and will then lead to further infringements. Shieh, Shelbourne, and Miller all use this type of analysis to emphasize the consequences of either banning or not banning on-campus smoking, engraving their beliefs into the minds of the audience members.

In order for Shelbourne to persuade her audience, she appeals to ethos and pathos. In the beginning of her text, she establishes credibility for herself as she explains that she was a smoker “for 10 long years” (Shelbourne 114). By doing this, she builds a sense of trust with the audience that helps to persuade them to believe that what she claims is true. She appeals to pathos by revealing a personal experience that happened in her life. She explains that after smoking for 10 years, her “lung collapsed” (Shelbourne 117) and she was “rushed to the hospital” (Shelbourne 117). This appeal strengthens her argument by making the audience sympathize for her and take into consideration the harm that smoking has on its users. As she makes the claim that secondhand smoke is harmful, Shelbourne again appeals to pathos by stating that she “had to miss class entirely because [she] wasn’t able to make it to across campus without coming in contact with smoke” (Shelbourne 129-130). This weakens her persuasive argument because she is exaggerating the harm of secondhand smoke, which causes the audience to rethink the effectiveness of her argument. Shelbourne again weakens her argument because she lacks a strong appeal to logos and does not give facts using credible sources, making it difficult for the audience to be persuaded because she solely focuses on her own biased opinions.

Throughout her text, Shelbourne incorporates rhetorical strategies that both strengthen and weaken her argument. She begins her text with a narrative in order to convey a personal anecdote about the time that she almost died due to smoking cigarettes. She incorporates this narrative in order to emphasize the harm that smoking can do the body, supporting her argument that on-campus smoking should be banned. There are two areas within her text that weaken her argument. One of these is the use of exaggeration. She over exaggerates the harm that second hand smoke can do to the body and she explains that “tobacco is targeting our schools and our students” (Shelbourne 147), which is an exaggeration because that is not the aim of tobacco manufacturers. These exaggerations weaken her persuasion because they cause the audience to question her credibility and if what she is saying is true. The other area that weakens her argument is the incorporation of a false assumption. She makes the assumption that “many people think that vaping threatens Big Tobacco” (Shelbourne 143) and that by using e-cigarettes, they are reducing “their dependence on tobacco” (Shelbourne 143). This assumption weakens her argument because she is assuming other’s thoughts and lacks evidence to back up her claim. Due to weak areas within her text, Shelbourne’s argument is ineffective in persuading her audience that on-campus smoking should be banned because of the harm it has on the users and those around them.

Throughout his text, Shieh appeals to ethos, pathos, and logos. He first establishes credibility for himself as he explains that he had been around smoking for a great part of his life. Because he is still healthy today, this appeal backs up his claim that secondhand smoke is not as harmful as people think, allowing the audience to trust what he is stating. He again appeals to ethos, as well as logos, as he incorporates evidence from the California Environmental Protection Agency, stating that “the concentration of nicotine in the outdoor campus setting would be 0.051 μg/m3” (Shieh 76). This supports his claim that if one is smoking outside, it is unlikely that the people around the smoke will be in danger; however, this evidence weakens his argument because he does not explain what these numbers mean which may confuse the audience and make it difficult to understand what he is asserting. Shieh appeals to pathos as he explains that smoking is “a coping mechanism” (Shieh 91) for stress and anxiety and it would be “unfair” (Shieh 91) to take that away from students. This creates a sense of sympathy within the audience for those who use smoking as a way to relieve stress and anxiety, but it can also force the audience to think about the dangers of this “coping mechanism”; therefore, this appeal can either strengthen or weaken his argument, depending on the opinions of the audience.

Similar to Shelbourne, Shieh begins his piece with a narrative in order to report a personal experience. Within this anecdote, he reveals that he once lived in “a remote mountain village in southern China” (Shieh 63) where cigarette smoking was everywhere. He explains that what he learned in China is that a “healthy lifestyle [is]…completely arbitrary” (Shieh 67), revealing his personal opinion that smoking is one’s choice and there is no reason to take that away from users. This narrative both strengthens and weakens his argument. It strengthens his argument in the sense that he is revealing a real experience, which helps to persuade the audience into believing that secondhand smoke is not harmful. However, his argument is weakened because he begins his argument by going off on a tangent about China which may confuse the audience and make it difficult for them to understand what he will discuss. Throughout his argument, there are numerous weaknesses which outweigh the strengths, making his argument ineffective and unpersuasive to his audience.

Miller’s argument differentiates from the other two as his argument is heavily based upon the appeals to ethos and logos. Throughout his piece, he includes a great amount of evidence with credible sources that back up his argument that banning smoking on campus takes away students’ liberties. Miller utilizes evidence from the sources of the British Medical Journal and Cato Institute which state that smoking is not as harmful than everyone thinks, the Centers for Disease Control which declares that “smoking is healthier than getting too little exercise or eating poorly” (Miller 30), and the New England Journal which explains that secondhand smoke is exaggerated. By appealing to logos and ethos with the incorporation of evidence, Miller strengthens his argument by gaining credibility and trust with his audience. This allows the audience to be persuaded into believing that smoking is not as harmful as everyone thinks, which then allows them believe that on-campus smoking should not be banned.

Toward the beginning of his text, Miller includes the rhetorical strategy of metadiscourse. Through this, he takes his stand and explains to his audience what he will discuss throughout his piece. He starts with, “I shall nonetheless…” (Miller 10), then explains exactly what he will discuss. This strengthens his argument because he takes a forward approach with his audience and does not create any confusion within his motive of the text. As well as metadiscourse, he incorporates transitional questions throughout his argument. For example, he includes questions such as, “And what of second-hand smoking, you say?” (Miller 35) and, “What does this all mean?” (Miller 48). He uses these transitional questions in order to lead into his next point that he will explain. This rhetorical strategy strengthens his argument because it gives the audience an idea about what will be discussed next, making it easier to understand what is being stated. Miller weakens his argument with the incorporation of a logical fallacy. He claims that it “is safer for college kids to smoke than drive” (Miller 14). This fallacy weakens his argument because he is including facts that are clearly false which causes the audience to question his credibility. Overall, Miller’s strengths outweigh his weaknesses, leading to an effective persuasive argument.

Stephen Miller, Simon Shieh, and Diona Shelbourne all wish to persuade their audiences to believe that their opinions about the ban of on-campus smoking are true. Shelbourne attempts to persuade her audience into believing that on-campus smoking should be banned because of the harm it inflicts on both the users and the people around the smoke; however, her argument is ineffective due to the rhetorical strategies she incorporates. Miller and Shieh both attempt to persuade their audiences that on-campus smoking should not be banned due to the loss of freedom that the students would have, but Shieh’s argument is ineffective as well. Because of the large incorporation of evidence and the inclusion of many rhetorical strategies that Miller provides within his argument, he makes the most effective argument in persuading his audience to believe that on-campus smoking should not be banned.

 

Works Cited

Miller, Stephen. “A Smoker’s Plea.” 9 Apr. 2007.

Shelbourne, Diona. “Op-Ed: E-cigs Are a Risk to Everyone, Not Just the User.” 10 Feb. 2016.

Shieh, Simon. “Smoking Ban Diminishes On-campus Diversity.” 29 Jan. 2014.

Digital Media & Youth: Analyzing and Evaluating Multiple Texts

It is revealed through many lessons that have been learned and internalized throughout society that putting labels on people and groups leads to negative consequences. “Digital native” is a relatively new term that has been brought to the public’s attention regarding the individuals who were born into the digital era where social media is a part of everyday life. In the chapter “Literacy: Are Today’s Youth Digital Natives?” from her book It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens written in 2014, Danah Boyd addresses the issues and concerns that are brought about by the use of “digital native” terminology. Throughout her piece, Boyd argues that as a society, we need to abandon our current ways of thinking about the new generation born into the digital era as “digital natives”.

Within the chapter, Boyd includes many different claims in order to support her argument that society should abandon the current use of digital terminology. She makes the claims that people who were born into the technological era do not automatically know how to utilize media, that the term “digital native” hides the unequal distribution of technological skills among socio-economic classes, and that it is crucial to develop skills to critically evaluate information regarding real and fake news and if society assumes that the people of this generation are “digital natives”, then they will not be taught the skills necessary in order to do so. She further expands on these claims as she discusses the importance of learning technological skills to succeed in life and how society can do so by teaching these skills in schools. Throughout these claims, Boyd appeals to ethos and logos as well as incorporating rhetorical strategies such as the use of first person, repetition, an anecdote, and assumptions in order to support and strengthen her argument. Throughout this paper, I will be arguing that Boyd effectively makes an argument against the use of the term “digital natives” through the incorporation of appeals, evidence, and rhetorical strategies.

            In arguing against the current forms of thinking about the technological generation, Boyd begins with making the claim that people who are born into the era of technology do not automatically know how to use it and skills must be learned and internalized in order to do so. This claim supports her argument because it reveals that those who are born into this mediated world are not born with the skills and knowledge to use media; therefore, it is incorrect to call this generation “digital natives” if they do not naturally possess these skills. Within this claim, Boyd incorporates evidence from a study that she performed in which she “interviewed teens who used programming scripts to build complex websites” (Boyd 176) as well as “teens who didn’t know the difference between a web browser and the Internet” (Boyd 177). Through this evidence, it is revealed that the youths in this generation vary in their level of skills regarding technology. This evidence appeals to ethos as she establishes credibility by explaining that she interviewed people who are a part of the generation that is being evaluated and logos by giving the audience information about what she studied. These appeals strengthen her argument because they allow the audience to gain trust to believe that what she is saying is true and it allows them to further understand the inaccuracy of the term “digital natives”. Within this incorporation of evidence, Boyd repetitively utilizes first person as she repeats the word “I” four times within consecutive sentences. This repetition of the word “I” establishes credibility for Boyd as she emphasizes the amount of research that she specifically has done which in turn strengthens her argument against the term “digital natives”.

            The second claim made by Boyd that supports her argument is that the term “digital natives” conceals the “uneven distribution of technological skills and media literacy across the youth population” (Boyd 179) due to differing levels of socio-economic status. By including this claim, she strengthens her argument by explaining that by calling the whole generation “digital natives”, one is not accounting for those who do not have access to technology. Within this claim, she emphasizes that this divide is caused by the lack of teaching technological skills and knowledge in education. In order to support her claim, Boyd includes an assumption that explains that the cause of the lack of teaching technological skills in education is because society assumes “that teens natively understand anything connected to technology and in part existing educational assessments do not require this prioritization” (Boyd 180), which leads people to not feel responsible to teach the youth about these skills. This assumption is an example of a cause-and-effect analysis utilized by Boyd as she emphasizes that the cause of the lack of teaching technological skills to the youth is due to the assumption that the youth natively has these skills and in turn, leads to a clear division between those who are surrounded by technology and those who are not. This assumption and cause-and-effect-analysis help to strengthen her argument as it reveals reasons as to why the term “digital natives” is inaccurate as it is not connected to all the youths that are born into this generation.

            The third claim that Boyd includes further discusses the ideas of the importance of teaching technology to youths. She claims that it is important for people to develop skills to critically evaluate information regarding the credibility of sources and if people assume that all of the people who are born into this media literate generation are “digital natives”, then there will be no one to take the responsibility of teaching them the skills and knowledge to do so. Throughout this claim, she emphasizes that the youth are being taught to evaluate online information incorrectly and raises the question about “fake” and “real” news. In order to support her claim, Boyd incorporates an anecdote about a white thirteen-year-old named Corinne. Within this anecdote, she explains that Corinne “proudly exclaimed” that she did not use Wikipedia because she “‘heard that it’s not true, and usually if [she’s] looking for something that [she] want[s], and it’s true, [she] usually [goes] on Google’” (Boyd 183) because her teachers have encouraged her to not use Wikipedia. Following this anecdote, Boyd further explains that by teaching the youth to only use Google and never use Wikipedia, society is failing in teaching ways to critically evaluate information found online. Through this anecdote, Boyd appeals to ethos as she utilizes a real and true experience that has happened as well as logos by stating factual information about the failure of informing youth on critical evaluation skills. This anecdote and appeal to ethos and logos strengthen Boyd’s claim because it reveals a true story to the audience that supports the idea that youths are being taught how to critically evaluate information incorrectly.

            Boyd further expands on her three claims as she discusses the importance of learning and practicing the skills of technology due to the fact that “we live in a technologically mediated world” (Boyd 180). She explains that being born into this generation, it is crucial that people learn and internalize the skills to use technology because of the everyday use of it. She portrays the idea that “technology is increasingly important for everyday activities: obtaining a well-paying job, managing medical care, [and] engaging with the government” (Boyd 180), summing up the fact that in order to succeed in life, one must develop technological skills. This statement is clearly true because it is obvious that in the world today, almost everything that is done requires some form of technological work and there are other pieces that support it. In his article, “The Digital Native: Myth and Reality”, Neal Selwyn discusses the truth about the so-called “digital natives” and shares their overall future. By appealing to ethos and logos just as Boyd has done, Selwyn explains that “[m]uch of the writing around the digital native theme is concerned that the general practices and dispositions that digital technology supports and facilitates within their lives” (Selwyn 1). This article supports and extends Boyd’s argument that individuals who are well informed about telecommunication devices have a higher chance of being hired at a well-paying job. Selwyn and Boyd are both effective in making this claim through their incorporation of a cause-and-effect analysis that emphasizes that if one is educated in technology, then one has a better chance of a successful future. Through this cause-and-effect analysis and appeals to ethos and logos, Selwyn is effective in making her argument about “digital natives” just as Boyd is.

            The importance of gaining technological skills and media literacy raises the question that if one comes from a background in which they are not surrounded by technology, how will one learn the skills necessary to succeed in future careers? Boyd explains that there is an uneven distribution of technological skills that puts many individuals at an unfair advantage for succeeding in life because they do not have the easy access to technology that others do. She states that educators “end up reproducing digital inequality because more privileged youth often have more opportunities to develop these skills” (Boyd 183), revealing the idea that society is continuing to produce a digital inequality between the “media literate” generation. In support of her argument, she introduces a solution to this in which schools should “focus on the skills and knowledge that are necessary to make sense of a mediated world” (Boyd 190) rather than focusing on general education courses. In her article “Digital Immigrants Fare Better than Digital Natives due to Social Reliance”, Sarah Ransdell emphasizes that the loss of jobs and the fear of being downsized “have sent many older boomers back to school to complete degrees to acquire new skills” (Ransdell 1). Ransdell’s work supports Boyd’s idea that there needs to be more time spent teaching youth the skills of technology and provides evidence as to why it needs to happen. By arguing that the basics of technology need to be taught in schools to avoid children having unfair advantages, Boyd and Ransdell both support the argument that “digital natives” is an inaccurate representation for all youths in this generation. Just as Boyd is, Ransdell is effective in making her argument toward the negative aspects of the new digital terminology that is used in today’s society with her incorporation of numerous appeals to ethos and logos and rhetorical strategies such as anecdotes and assumptions.

            After researching credible sources from Boyd, Ransdell, and Selwyn, it is clear that the term “digital native” should be abandoned due to the facts that teens do not automatically know how to evaluate media, it ignores the digital inequalities between youths, and it takes away the responsibility of people to teach critical evaluation skills to this generation. Through these pieces, I have learned that there are many people in my generation that have not had the same access to technological resources that I have had access to and because of this, society needs to focus on teaching children of all backgrounds ways to critically evaluate information presented to them. Through the appeals to ethos and logos, the use of rhetorical strategies, and the outside sources that I have researched, it is revealed that Boyd effectively makes her argument for leaving the term “digital native” behind.

 

 

 

Works Cited

Boyd, Danah. “Literacy: Are Today’s Youth Digital Natives? It’s Complicated: The Social Lives    of Networked Teens, Yale University Press, 2015, pp. 176-198.

Ransdell, Sarah, et al. “Digital Immigrants Fare Better than Digital Natives Due to Social     Reliance.” British Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 42, no. 6, 2010, pp. 931-938.,              doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2010.01137.x.

Selwyn, Neil. “The Digital Native: Myth and Reality.” Aslib Proceedings, vol. 61, no. 4, May                     2009, pp. 364-379., doi:10.1108/0012530910973776.

 

 

 

 

 

Gender Wage Gap: An Analysis

Now more than ever, the issues of gender inequality matter. With issues of sexual harassment, assault, and discrimination being explored in greater depth, it is important that policy makers also address the persistent gender wage gap that places women at a disadvantage in that they are paid less for the same work as their male counterparts. The gender wage gap reflects the patriarchal hegemonic dominance that lies at the very foundation of our society. It represents the fact that women have retained a second-class status for generations. Although there have been significant strides in closing the gender wage gap after the feminist movements of the 1960s and 1970s, progress in this closure has slowed and has even grown in some cases for women at the top of the employment hierarchy. Clearly, more needs to be done to close the gender wage gap and bring greater potential for gender equality by empowering women financially to be on equal grounds with their male counterparts and coworkers. The gender wage gap is the difference in pay between men and women. It represents the different ratios each sex is paid for typically the same type of work in the same employment positions. According to the research, “on average, women continue to earn consistently less than men” (Gault, Hatman, & Hegewisch 1). Today, that average hovers around 80%. That means that women are paid only 80 cents for every dollar a man is paid for the same or similar work. Unfortunately, “irrespective of the level of qualification, jobs predominately done by women pay less on average than jobs predominately done by men” (Gault, Hatman, & Hegewisch 1). The difference in pay is present at all socioeconomic and education levels, demonstrating how it clearly plays a major role in dividing the opportunity and financial stability between the sexes. The fact that women and men are paid different amounts for the same work is a reflection of deeper gender inequality issues within American society as a whole. American society is based on patriarchal traditions, where men typically are the breadwinners and women are restricted to the role of house keeper, wife, and mother. This has discouraged women from entering the workforce for generations. Moreover, the type of characteristics needed to be successful in high profile or corporate jobs are often not associated with the ideal feminine archetype. Women are often discouraged from showing ambition, competitiveness, or aggression in the workplace or any environment for that matter (Blau & Kahn 43). Thus, when women are trained not to exhibit those types of characteristics, it makes it harder for many to succeed in more competitive employment environments. When women do demonstrate the desired characteristics in male executives, society often stereotypes them as bitter or undesirable. Clearly, the male dominated society wants to dissuade women from competing with men because the concept of women doing top jobs the same as—or better than—men is threatening to the very foundation of patriarchal dominance. Even in the middle class, there is a patriarchal influence that dissuades women’s equality in employment as a way to reinforce the male hegemonic dominance in society. There is an outdated belief that “it’s generally better for a marriage if the husband earns more than his wife” that is still pervasive in society (Blau & Kahn 44). The idea here is that by allowing the husband to earn more than his wife, he still retains the higher authority in the marriage. If the wife earned the same—or more—than he did, it would threaten the position of power than the man and husband has held for thousands of years in the family unit. Women who earn as much as men do not need to depend on men and thus are free to enjoy a greater degree of autonomy that would tear down the patriarchal dominance so embedded within society. Millions of women thus see the gender wage gap as one of the most important gender issues to combat. According to the National Project for Women and Families, “nearly six in 10 women (58 percent) in the United States identify equal pay as one of the most important issues facing women in the workplace” (1). The feminist movements of the 1960s and 1970s helped gain steam for efforts demanding equal pay and stopping discrimination. These movements won great successes, especially seen in the Equal Pay Act of 1963 that made it illegal to discriminate in pay or promotions because of gender. As society has pushed towards more progress towards gender quality, so have demands for better financial compensation. Thanks to such efforts, there has been a decrease in gap over the last decades that demonstrates the underlying demand for gender inequality. In a 2017 study using Census data from 1980 to 2010, Blau and Kahn found that “the long-term trend has been a substantial reduction in the gender wage gap, both in the United States and in other economically advanced nations” (791). There was a major decrease in the gender wage gap during the 1980s, just a decade or so after major feminist movements began demanding gender equality on a scale much larger than ever seen in this country before. Women today are paid more percentage of men’s wages than ever before. As society has opened up more educational and training opportunities for women, there have been more women in the workplace overall. Therefore, “women have been increasing their relative labor market qualifications and commitment to work” as more break free from the traditional role of housewife into the workplace (Blau & Kahn 792). Today, female workers make on average 82% of men’s wages. Even more optimistic, women between the ages of 25 and 34 make 89% of what their male counterparts do, which is a significant increase from earlier in the 20th century (Graf, Brown, & Patten 1). Women today are paid more percentage of men’s wages than ever before. Part of this stems from social movements that afford women greater opportunities that make them more equal to men. For example, more women attend college than ever before, which then helps them succeed more within the workplace. In the 25-34 age group that makes the highest ratio compared to men, 40.7% of women have a college degree, while only 36.6% of men do (United States Department of Labor 1). Clearly, greater social progress has been helping combat the gender wage gap and securing a more equal stance for women in the workforce and overall. The following chart shows the progress over the last decades in regard to the gender wage gap. (Graf, Brown, & Patten 1) Yet, even though the average wage has seen a decrease in the gender gap, it is still quite troubling that women in the top echelon of jobs are not seeing the difference between their pay and the men in similar roles around them. No matter what educational level of socioeconomic position, the gender wage affects women (National Partnership for Women and Families 1). Unfortunately, Blau and Kahn found in their 2017 study that “the gender pay gap declined much more slowly at the top of the wage distribution than at the middle or bottom and by 2010 was noticeably higher at the top” (789). Women in top corporate and academic positions are paid much less than the national average ratio, sometimes even only between 60-70%. The difference in pay also extends to stock and equity benefits, with men often being given greater equity shares in companies compared to female executives. This “suggests the possibility of a glass ceiling among highly skilled women,” who hit a limit on how equal they are allowed to be with the men in top positions in American society (Blau & Kahn 10). At the top positions, where women are the greatest threat to the patriarchal hegemony, they are still being placed at a major disadvantage. It seems that the male dominance wants to keep women out of the greatest positions of power, where they would be able to make the most difference in combatting gender inequality. Moreover, even the decrease that was seen in middle- and working-class jobs as slowed in its degree over the past decade. According to the Pew Research Center, “the gender wage gap in pay has narrowed since 1980, but it has remained relatively stable over the past 15 years or so” at women making around 82% of what their male counterparts do (Graf, Brown, & Patten 1). Even this smaller gender wage gap can have a major impact on the financial stability, and therefore autonomy, of women at all levels of employment. Graf, Brown, and Patten explain that based on women making around 82% of what men do in the same jobs, “it would take an extra 47 days of work for women to earn what men did in 2017” (1). This is a huge difference in the work and financial capabilities of average women. It causes women to have to worker harder and longer just to be on equal financial grounds with the average male worker in similar positions. To the National Partnership for Women and Families, “on average, women employed full time in the United States lose a combined total of more than $900 billion every year due to the wage gap” (1). That is major capital that continues to put women at a disadvantage. Even more concerning is that fact that minority women often make much smaller ratios compared to men and whites. The gender wage gap “is widest for many women of color,” as African women only make 61% of what a man makes, and Latina women only making 53% of what men make (National Partnership for Women and Families 1). Due to the intersectionality of race and gender oppression, women of color face multiple layers of discrimination in compensation compared to the dominant group—white men. The Institute for Women’s Policy Rights states that with the current circumstances, “Hispanic women will have to wait until 2233 and Black women will wait until 2124 for equal pay” (Gault, Hatman, & Hegewisch 1). This is simply unacceptable. Women of all races and socioeconomic statuses should have equal opportunity in a country where it is technically illegal to discriminate based on gender. Today, it is critical that we as a society work harder and more diligently to close the gender wage gap at the top levels, and all levels, as we continue to push for gender equality. Cohen and Huffman claim that “greater representation of women in management does narrow the gender wage gap” for all the women working underneath them in their teams (681). This also applies with executive positions, as women in leadership helps improve a company’s commitment to gender equality. As such, “the promotion of women into management positions” and top executive positions “may benefit all women” (Cohen & Huffman 682). From a practical perspective, it is important to review the potential for women in management and executive positions to influence within their individual organizations. According to Hultin and Szulkin, “gender wage inequality is to a substantial degree driven by everyday decision-making in organizations” (145). When there are only men at the top making these types of decisions, they may intentionally or unintentionally make decisions that keep women at a disadvantage. When women are high in the organizational power structures of a company, they are more likely to be able to influence larger decisions about employee compensation and promotion. Thus, even on a microlevel, women in top positions will have a greater impact on reducing the gender wage gap overall. Recently, California has made impressive moves to include more women in top positions. Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill on October 1 that made California “the first state to require publicly traded companies to include women on their boards of directors” (Bollag 1). By 2019, companies will need to have at least one woman serving on the board, with that number increased to 4 by 2021. Clearly, gender inequality is still persistent in the United States. Women on average still make less than their male counterparts in the workplace, which reflects ongoing gender discrimination and inequality. The worst is that the gender wage gap is highest at the top positions, where women have more of a say in organizational behavior that could be used to promote gender equality in the workplace. California recently saw Governor Jerry Brown pass a bill to force California companies to have women on the board of directors. This is a huge move that aims to even the playing field for women by putting more in a position of power to help raise the bar overall. Time will tell how effective the strategy is in combatting not just the gender wage gap, but gender inequality as a whole.

Independent Musician’s vs. Streaming Platforms and Labels: Chance The Rapper

Today, there are a multitude of successful and famous artists who chose to ditch the record label route and pave their own paths. For example, Chance the Rapper, an independent artist, has amassed millions of fans and dollars in revenue without the help of a record label. His first album was released through Soundcloud. At the time, Soundcloud was completely free for consumers and artists, and the only way for music to get popular on Soundcloud as a DIY artist was through self-promotion and word-of-mouth. Chance did just that, as the album was downloaded over one million times and became a hit. Chance the Rapper continued to pave the path for successful DIY artists in 2016 when he released his album, Coloring Book. In fact, Chance raps about how much he despises record labels throughout the entirety of the album. Chance clearly and openly expresses his dismay for record labels and is a pioneer for DIY artists to become successful and mainstream. The album “holds the title as the first ever release to appear on the Billboard 200 chart with 100 percent of its equivalent album units coming from streaming, as its 57.3 million streams account for 38,000 equivalent album units.” But, this time there was a catch. The album was streamed exclusively on Apple Music for the first two weeks as a “streaming-only” album, which means that consumers could not individually purchase or download the album and could only listen to it by streaming it on Apple Music. Chance the Rapper made a $500,000 deal with Apple Music for the exclusive album streaming, along with a commercial. Although Chance has not signed to a record label, he still works with the music streaming service with the incentive of money, showing that online music streaming services like Apple Music could become just as powerful as major record labels and publishing companies. Chance the Rapper and his exclusive deal with Apple Music clearly proves the shift of importance on record labels to the importance of music streaming services. Despite his clear stance against record labels, streaming services still hold the same values as these labels as they, too, are simply striving for more profit. In addition, this example shows the radical shift in ideology through the exploitation of the harm in record labels and how artists should maintain power and dignity over their music.