Rhetorical and Contextual Analysis

  1. Martina Navratilova’s Girl Power

In the “Wall Street Journal,” William McGurn raises a rhetorical question on whether athletes who are born as males but identify themselves as girls cheating or not. William McGurn decided to put the question since the issue of transgender has been addressed several times by people who have different opinions about the male gender identifying themselves as female yet their phenotypes are totally those of the male generation. Martina Navratilova decided to raise the alarm on the same issue after noticing that males who had identified themselves as women were engaging in sports with women and winning awards yet their genotype is that of the male gender. According to her, such an act is not fair, and they should not be allowed to do so.

The goal of McGurn’s journal is to address the key themes of the rhetorical question and the expected actions. As such, two themes can be identified in the journal. Firstly, the theme of transgender is the core of McGurn’s journal. In this case, the theme of transgender runs through the whole article, and it is related to sporting competitions. Some of the women who win trophies in top games are those who have undergone a change in gender identity. Although they possess males’ sex organs and a masculine body, they claim to female due to their social upbringing and other factors which may be personal. Besides, such transgender females end up engaging in sports. Since they have masculine bodies, they always tend to outdo women who were born with that gender identity.

According to biology, sex and gender are mostly assigned to individuals based on the sexual organs they possess. However, the current world has come with social constructs whereby even those who were born as males decide to change their gender roles to begins performing feminine roles. Such men begin identifying themselves as women even in public. More so, they engage in activities meant for women. To make their bodies look a bit feminine, some treat themselves with feminine hormones such as progesterone and estrogen. In the end, they may convince strangers that they are of the female gender. Some people in society tend to accept their transgender decisions. Still, others such as Martina Navratilova deny this, especially when they engage in activities meant for women and outdoing women due to their masculine advantage. As such, Martina describes such transgender women as “cheaters” and that they tend to be unjust to those who are naturally born women.

As shown above, Navratilova considers the act of transgender women competing in sports with naturally born women and winning over them as an unjust act. Therefore, the second theme which is the theme of injustice comes in. Injustice refers to the denial of justice or being unfair to a person or a group of people. According to Navratilova, transgender women are unjust to naturally born when it comes to sporting. In the article, McGurn quotes her saying, “a man can decide to be female, take hormones if required by whatever sporting organization is concerned, win everything in sight and perhaps earn a small fortune, and then reverse his decision and go back to making babies if he so desires.” Based on this quote from Martina Navratilova, there is no guarantee that men who undergo transgender will remain with the female title forever since they still possess male sexual organs. As such, allowing them to engage in sports with real women is same as traumatizing women who are naturally born that way.

Furthermore, Martina Navratilova openly says: “It’s insane, and it’s cheating. I am happy to address a transgender woman in whatever form she prefers, but I would not be happy to compete against her. It would not be fair.” Such, a post indicates that she can no more tolerate transgender women. Having been a tennis player, she seems to understand the hardships of playing with a transgender female. Biologically, males tend to develop more energy than females due to the androgens hormones that they possess. The hormone is responsible for the development of masculine bodies which absorb more energy. As a result, they end up outdoing women in most of the activities which involve more energy such as sports.

To stress this theme of injustice, William McGurn also refers to an article written on the New York Times magazine by Andrew Sullivan. The headline of the article read “The Nature of Sex.” Mr. Sullivan supports Navratilova’s opinion by noting that the implications of biological identity should not be ignored while formulating the Equality Act. By this opinion, he also values the idea of justice for naturally born women rather than allowing those who possess male hormones to take over by winning all the awards in the top sports. Therefore, the issue of transgender women engaging in similar sports with naturally born women should be examined deeply so that justice can prevail.

More so, the rhetorical question posed by William McGhun has its role in the audience. In this case, the audience not only refers to transgender but also to the general public who gets the chance to read the article. As such, the writer intended to arouse thinking among those who could read the article so that they can as well have their opinions about the issue of transgender women engaging in similar sports with naturally born women. Besides, the writer wanted to bring Martino Navratilova’s views about transgender women engaging in competing with naturally female players top light so that others can have to see the reality about it. Since Navratilova was a tennis player, her opinion about the transgender women playing with women with biological identity can be taken seriously and maybe solved accordingly.

Moreover, the way the article is presented indicates that it is meant to warn men who intend to change their gender identity so that they can have an advantage in sports by winning over naturally born women. Any man who reads this article will definitely gain some information that can prevent him from making a decision for gender transformation, especially when the intent is to gain an advantage in sports. Thus, the article is not only meant to address the public about the issue of transgender women taking over naturally born women in sports but also to bring justice to warn men who intentionally change their gender identity so as to shine in female sports.

Another sensitive aspect depicted in the article is the use of a linguistic tone which clearly brings out the intention of the article. Most of the quotes used by the writer depict a harsh and authoritative tone. For example, Navratilova says, “You can’t just proclaim yourself a female and be able to compete against women,” This quote shows that she is really carried away by the tendency of men changing their identity just to go and compete totally feminine women in sports so that they can get an easy win. She goes on by adding that “There must be some standards, and having a penis and competing as a woman would not fit that standard.” Also, this quote shows a high degree of harshness and authority. Therefore, the language used by Navratilova in writing her articles about transgender is of a harsh and authoritative tone so as to bring out her seriousness in addressing the issue.

Based on the way the article is written, including the use of a harsh and authoritative linguistic tone, it is clear that the implied audience is the female transgender generation. The writer, William McGurn referred to other Martino Navratilova and Andrew Sullivan who were against the engagement of transgender women in similar sports with naturally born women. Such a connection clearly shows that the writer wanted to address those men who wanted to change their gender identity so that they can pursue women in sports and other activities that require masculine efforts. Also, the title of the article, “Martina Navratilova’s Girl Power” also shows that the article supposed the female gender.

Lastly, different rhetorical strategies have been used in the article to bring out the deep meaning of the phrases and their intention in enhancing the readers understanding of the article. Firstly, Navratilova uses the “deductive reasoning” strategy when she starts by saying, “It’s insane, and it’s cheating,” and then ends the phrase by claiming that, “but I would not be happy to compete against her.” In this case, she starts from generalizing that transgender women engage in cheating. In the end, she specifies that she will not be happy competing against them.  Secondly, Navratilova uses the strategy of “hasty generalization” by making blunt conclusions. For example, she abruptly comes to a conclusion that transgender women are insane and they engage in cheating.

Another rhetorical strategy is the use of ‘pathos” or “emotional appeals” which is evident when Navratilova claims: “Well, I’ve now done that and, if anything, my views have strengthened.” This quote shows some sort of emotional appeal. Furthermore, “red herring” as a rhetoric strategy is applied whereby Navratilova is quoted by the writer claiming that transgender women can take part in sports with naturally born women, win awards, and the go back to their manhood. In this regard, she is only trying to avoid any opposing arguments. The last rhetorical strategy applied in the article is the use of “circular argument.” Navratilova is quoted saying “It’s insane and it’s cheating.” In this case, she is just repeating the argument rather than proving it. In short, there are many rhetorical strategies used by the writer in the article to make it lively for readers.

  1. Principles of Choice for selecting Rhetoric for Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

            Being a newly elected member of the Congress, critical analysis and evaluation should be applied to choose her rhetoric. As such, the following three principles can guide critics to make a choice of the rhetoric to consider;

  • Relevance- The principle of relevance enables critics to consider rhetoric that relates Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to her current position as a Congresswoman. In this case, critics can analyze why she fits in the position of Congress representative. By doing this, they will understand why the former Congress Representative was replaced by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
  • Distinctiveness- In this principle, critics choose to analyze rhetoric which differs from what is expected from other Congress Representatives who had been elected before. As such, critics of the rhetoric will observe and analyze something strange in Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez so that they can analyze it. For example, if she is outgoing and other Congress Representatives were not that way, then this aspect will be analyzed. Also, the odd behaviors exhibited can be chosen to act as rhetoric.
  • Immediacy- immediacy as a principle entails analyzing the activity or task assigned to the person at that moment. It also depends on the person whose rhetoric is being analyzed. Since Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is an elected Congresswoman, her immediate duties to the people she represents should be taken as rhetoric for analysis. Analyzing this aspect will enable critics to rate her capability compared to that of previous Congress Representatives. Therefore, immediacy is an important principle while choosing rhetoric as it helps to identify what the individuals are doing at that exact time.
  1. Rhetorical Advantages encountered by William McGurn while writing the Article “Navratilova’s Girl Power.”

Some of the advantages encountered by William McGurn while writing the article include the following;

  • The rhetor found it is easy while found it easier while formulating the rhetorical question before discussing it in detail for the audience to understand the concepts behind it. The rhetorical question formulated by the writer was: Are athletes who are born male but identify as female cheating girls? He seems to have just derived it from one of Navratilova’s quotes which says, “It’s insane, and it’s cheating.” This quote meant that transgender women who engage in athletes with naturally born females tend to cheat.
  • The quotes derived from Navratilova’s posts about transgender made it easier for the writer to come up with a linguistic tone for the article which made it captivating for the audiences.
  • Also, the quotes from Navratilova’s posts made it efficient for him to incorporate rhetoric strategies in the article such as deductive reasoning and circular argument.
  • Besides, the presence of other sources about the issue of transgender enabled the writer to come up with reliable proof concerning his article. He used Andrew Sullivan’s article on New York Times magazine to emphasize on Navratilova’s claims about transgender.
  • Lastly, the writer did not strain to write the article since most of the important content consisted of quotes from Navratilova’s posts. Therefore, his task was to do a little research to bring out major themes in the article.


  1. Evaluation of President Robert Nelsen’s recent speech at the spring 2018
  • According to my view, it will not be sensible to use external data to evaluate the president’s speech. This because most of the ideas he put across were first-hand. Besides, he outlined all his plans for students in Higher Education including all the planning that were supposed to be fulfilled thereafter. Therefore, external information could not help since the president’s speech was to mark a new beginning.
  • However, I could not rely on internal information in the case of McGurn’s editorial. This because the editorial was about the issue of transgender which has raised many questions among the public. Thus, it would be sensible to search for external data to compare with information from Martina Navratilova’s claims so that people can prove the reliability of such information.
  1. The Success of Barack Obama’s Persuasion

                  Barack Obama is trying to apply a rational argument with the Veterans of Foreign Wars which has a powerful defense policy. According to me, Barack Obama will be able to persuade the VFW so that the US troops can be withdrawn from the states of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria so that they can avoid the impending harm from the atrocities. Firstly, the Veterans of Foreign Wars held a strong defense in that they support the American troops in its military operations. Therefore, the rational argument will mostly be a problem-solving argument and not a political argument. As such, Barack Obama might be in a good position to persuade with the VFW to withdraw American troops from such areas that are likely to result in more harm to American troops.

Secondly, the issue of atrocities causing harm to American troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria is a world fact, and rational argument tends to be successful in such facts. As shown, before, the Veterans of Foreign Wars possess powerful defense policies. Thus, they understand what atrocities mean, especially to foreign military forces. Besides, the VFWs support the American troops, and they will not ignore Barack Obama’s rational argument which is aimed at saving the American troops. The issue of American troops remaining in such dangerous countries can be easily resolved since they also have their country to protect and so it is not so complex for the VFWs to deny their help to the US.

As hinted above, the issue of removing American troops from insecure countries is not so complicated since there is a valid reason for doing so. Besides, every country aims at protecting its own troops before helping others. The American troops were camping in those foreign countries with a reason for maintaining security. However, the increased risk of harm due to several atrocities means that they are prone to harm at any time. For that matter, they should withdraw from such places so that they can return to their country to maintain peace there, and also ensure that they are free from harm.

Furthermore, a rational argument is likely to be successful if the other party is interested in the argument. Interested parties always have a clue about what is being discussed. In this regard, the Veterans of Foreign Wars understands issues concerning security and military activities. They as well recognize American troops very well, and they are always ready to offer their support. As such, they will not hesitate to listen to Barack Obama’s rational argument to save American troops.

Lastly, a rational argument can be successful if the issue being handled is unfamiliar. The problem accompanying American in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria is an emerging new since atrocities that could cause harm in those countries were not witnessed before. In this regard, the Veterans of Foreign Wars will hear Barack Obama’s rational argument, analyze the new problem and come up with a solution. Such a problem is new, and so it should be examined appropriately by the Veterans of Foreign Wars so that they can give guidelines concerning what the military troops should do before they face the harm.

  1. Strengths and Weaknesses of Evidence Types
  2. The type of evidence shown in this quote is “comparison” such that the speaker explains complex concepts using familiar terms. Besides, he makes the concepts interesting more that if he had no compare them. However, this evidence is perceived to be weakest and may not connect with the intended audience. As such, this quote is unlikely to persuade the audience since it does not bring out the actual evidence. For instance, Senator Kennedy says, “I would multiply the instances of name-calling, sometimes on both sides.” Such a comparison can merely be understood by the audience unless it is evaluated further. However, the other quote; “Dr. Falwell is not a ‘warmonger,’ and ‘liberal clergymen’ are not,” can be understood since it is a direct comparison between the two parties. Therefore, senator Kennedy uses both simple and complex evidence in inform of comparison so that critics can choose what to analyze as rhetoric.
  3. This type of evidence is called statistical evidence. It is hard to understand due to the closeness of information contained in it. Also, it is referred to as statistical evidence since it contains inter-related ideas which are brought together to bring out bring meaning. Focusing on this quote, it is more difficult to understand unless it is emphasized. When spoken, it is boring since it seems to be less connected to the audience. For instance, the speaker says: “There is no morality in the mushroom cloud. The black rain of nuclear ashes will fall alike on the just and unjust.” Such statistics are not related to the audience in any way. Therefore, those who do not understand some of the terms used will never understand their meaning. Besides, such a rhetoric phrase requires an explanation so that critics can understand what the speaker meant. Still, it has some advantages such that it indicates the magnitude of the problem. It as well contributes to the credibility of the rhetor due to the ability to use strong phrases during his speech.
  4. This is an “example” type of evidence provided by the speaker. In this case, he gives a direct example in his phrase so that his audience can use it as evidence. In the phrase, the speaker says: “As President Eisenhower warned in 1953, ‘don’t join the book burners.'” In this regard, he gives an example of what had been said by another speaker. Evidence in the form of a direct example can be easily understood by the audience. Besides, giving examples is more interesting in that it can easily capture attention from the audience. As well, processing a given example is easier than any other type of evidence. However, examples also have weaknesses such that they can be interesting to the extent of distracting the audience from the main points of the speech. Also, examples can be disapproved easily, and this makes the rhetor to look unprepared and straightforward.