Disclosure analysis: Misogyny speech by Julia Gillard


Politicians, business people and other influential personalities in the society communicate using various means but the speech is the most frequent method used by politicians. A speech is defined as the ability of an individual to express his/her feelings and thoughts through speaking to a target audience. Notably, not all politicians are good speech makers because the act of requires precision and careful considerations of statements used (Raake 51). However, The Misogyny speech was made by Julia Gillard who was the first female Australian Prime minster when she was addressing the Australian parliament on October 9, 2012 after a heated debate about sexism was a masterpiece. The then opposition leader Tony Abbott had raised a motion demanding the removal of Speaker Peter Slipper. This was after alleged sexist text messages sent to an assistant implicating the speaker emerged. What followed was a heated debate about issues regarding sexism and the Prime Minster Julia Gillard intervened in support of the speaker. The objective of the speech was to persuade the members of the Australian parliament and the chair to oppose the motion. It also criticized the parliament for its sexiest actions and behaviors. Stereotyping and discrimination against women has been a trending issue over the last few decades with the many people opposing the vice (Ridell). According to Abbott, the opposition leader was fighting to have the speaker out casted because he believed that he was promoting sexism. The Parliament was divided over the allegations and Gillard made the speech condemning the opposition leader for lecturing the government about sexism and misogyny and yet the opposition leader was a sexist and a misogynist (Damousi,et al., 5).

The need to analyze the speech by Gilland is based on its persuasiveness that caused a significant stir all over the world (Ridell). According to Gartrell, the speech “.. was a devastating takedown of Tony Abbott that drew praise from world leaders and turned Ms Gillard into a global feminist icon”. Though with a lot of skeptics from opponents, Gillard managed to pass on her message using the speech and it gained worldwide reviews with notable influential individuals such Hillary Clinton stating that Gillard made striking remarks and sexism should be tolerated no matter how small or big it is. Not all people though were pleased by the speech, some people said that the speech was abusive and lacked credibility because of the kind of language Gillard used to present the speech.

Because of the speech connection with various stakeholders/audiences all over the world, it’s imperative to analyze its appeal using various discourse analysis tools such as rhetorical appeals and language styles.


According to Krippendorff, (8), disclosure analysis is afield in linguistics that over the years has generated variety of views when different scholars researching on the best way to define it. This is because the word disclosure has been used in different contexts and hence developing wide range of interpretations and also covers a wide scope making it hard to exhaust all the related information (Charteris-Black). Generally, disclosure analysis is used to describe different language patterns that people use in their utterances. The objective of disclosure analysis is identifying the particular patterns the speakers use to develop and make their speeches. People have different perspectives of interpreting various spoken word or written document, disclosure analysis comes is in applicable when trying to create the deeper understanding of national identity (Holmes, 23). Wodak, Ruth, and Michael Meyer, (45) describes disclosure analysis as a method that uses various tools in making a speech analysis. Rhetorical and stylistic tools are the most common approaches adopted by disclosure analysis (Charteris-Black). These tools are very effective in breaking down the speech into smaller units that reflect the various techniques used in creating an appeal to the audience. In rhetorical analysis, the speech is used for three main reasons, to persuade, inform and entertain. The art of persuasion is not simple and it calls for employment of unique styles to attract the audience. Barrack Obama is one of the few individuals who have come to be known as powerful speech maker. An analysis of Obama 2009 inaugural address speech shows that the speech carried a significance meaning to the American people and to the rest of the world because it was history in the making. In the analysis, he identified that the president used mostly pathos to create an appeal to the audience an element that went well. He managed to deliver a message of hope to the American people and this was made possible by the fact that, Obama crafted his speech well using a detailed disclosure analysis. Ethos and logos were the other rhetorical tools that were evident from the speech. According to Charteris-Black, stylistic devices have been applied in analyzing different speeches and pieces of work. Notably, the famous speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr is one of the most analyzed speech using stylic devices. Stylistic devices are usually used to enhance and give the speech a unique character that audience will find it interesting. The famous words I have a dream were mentioned on several occasions to emphasize the vision the speaker had on the American people. Repetition is a style used to stress on the key points on a speech and just as Martin Luther did. According to Matthew( 1) stylic devices are used to describe how people present the world through the use of language. It is used to provide in-depth analysis of the meaning of tests presented by people on various occasions. Matthew states that disclosure analysis helps to explain why different texts impacts on readers and listeners by uncovering the hidden ideologies. The Hilary Mantel speech at the London books review was analyzed using stylic analysis because the speech generated contradictory opinions which promoted the need to uncover the hidden ideologies behind the speech. In the speech, mantel discussed about the nature of British monarchy a topic that many people interpreted into different perspectives. The speech was analyzed by naming the opposition and speech presentation, the underlying ideologies were discovered. These tool is used to describe the nature of relationship between the speaker, audience and the message being delivered. In most cases, the audience is not pre-determined which makes important in analyzing the speech and hence understanding the kind of message being communicated and if it qualifies to be heard by ungrouped audience


Rhetorical tools


Ethos is a core rhetorical technique used in speeches to create a relation between the society culture, believes or people’s expectations and individuals character with what the speaker’s message. Ethos is a tool used to increase the credibility of the message delivered by the speaker. Julia Gillard demonstrated her abilities to make powerful statement by incorporating ethos as a method of persuading the audience to oppose the motion and at the same time she informed many people about the purpose of standing up against sexism. “The Leader of the Opposition says that people who hold sexist views and who are misogynists are not appropriate for high office”, according to the statement, Gillard used the leader of opposition character to build on her argument. She introduces the topic of misogyny in rather interesting way and the audience reacts by applauding an indication that they are attentive and following. Her main agenda was to persuade the audience on the reasons why they should oppose the motion and not listen to the calls made by the opposition leader. Gillard had mastered the act of using the Abbott influence to present her statements an element that continuously increased her credibility throughout the speech (Donawerth, 4). She over and over again questioned why the house should listen to the leader of opposition. She spoke about the role of women in the society and what the modern community expects of them, in this sense, she was emphasizing on the reasons why the matter at hand was serious and people should respect women and the position they hold in the country. “I want my daughter to have as much opportunity as my son.” To which the Leader of the Opposition says “Yeah, I completely agree, but what if men are by physiology or temperament, more adapted to exercise authority or to issue command?” By attacking the Abbotts character, Gillard was able to demonstrate that the opposition leader has no credibility of telling others about what sexism is because his character and personal opinions shows otherwise. This sends strong appeals to the audience and there was high probability likely hood that the majority of the proposing members found a relation with the remarks made by the Prime Minster. The use of the ethos in the speech is evident due to the fact that, Gillard was creating a relation between what was happening to the society and sexism. Other examples which clearly demonstrate how ethos was applied can be found on paragraphs6, 8, and 25 of the misogyny speech. She concludes very strongly by saying that, “And on that basis, because of the Leader of the Opposition’s motivations, this Parliament today should reject this motion and the Leader of the Opposition should think seriously about the role of women in public life and in Australian society because we are entitled to a better standard than this”. Clearly, the Gillard successfully managed to create an argument based on the character of the leader of opposition and the speech remains to be one of the most notable things that define her tenure as a Prime Minister


Pathos is the most common rhetorical tool used in speeches since it involves attaching emotional appeals to attract and gain the audience attention. It is a well-known fact that, by clearly portraying the emotion side of an individual, a common understanding foundation is created and the audience will be finding meaning in the message being delivered. It is human nature to be emotional and often people can read other peoples emotion just by listening to them. To make a speech effective, the speaker needs to create that sense of emotional attachment and it will be the first element the audience will relate with. Gillard made a speech that was well perfected and contained several pathos appeal in it. The first instance can be shown in the opening remarks that stated that, “Thank you very much Deputy Speaker and I rise to oppose the motion moved by the Leader of the Opposition. And in so doing I say to the Leader of the Opposition I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man”in this statement, she appeals to the audience emotionally by first thanking the deputy speaker for the opportunity to present her views, she continues by speaking out her thoughts and anger related emotion is visible. At that point, she manages to capture the audience attention because; many people will want to know why she was angered by the opposition leader remarks. The use of pathos is still evident from the following statement, “let’s go through the Opposition Leader’s repulsive double standards, repulsive double standards when it comes to misogyny and sexism”. From this comment, she is appealing to the audience to listen to her as she presents her arguments why the opposition leader should not lecture the government or any one on matters relating to sexism and misogyny. “Well this kind of hypocrisy must not be tolerated, which is why this motion from the Leader of the Opposition should not be taken seriously”, this is another instance where the prime minister demonstrates her abilities to use pathos to appeal to persuade the audience on the so many reasons why they should oppose the motion. Gillard continues to explain why she was offended by the contents of the texts messages and at the same time by the leader of the opposition comments. She explains why the issues of sexism means a lot to her and the court should be allowed to deliberate on the issue without the interference of other factors.” I am offended by those things in the same way that I have been offended by things that the Leader of the Opposition has said, and no doubt will continue to say in the future. Because if this today was an exhibition of his new feminine side, well I don’t think we’ve got much to look forward to in terms of changed conduct”. In conclusion, the strong emotional appeals attached to the speech forms a strong foundation on which all the other arguments are based on. She does not only persuade the members about opposing the motion, she also managed to inform a large group of audience outside the parliament what sexism and misogyny is all about (Donawerth, 7).


A speech becomes more efficient if the speaker has the capability of using logical reasoning and factual information to support his/her opinions and arguments. The use of facts in a speech provides a point of reference while logical reasoning is used to explain different elements that people view as common and acceptable. When using logos in a speech, the timing has to be right to a conflict that may arise in using too many facts that give slightly different information. Only the facts that support the speaker’s message should be used. In the speech presented by the Gillard when opposing the motion to remove the house speaker due to sexism allegations, she used facts and reasoned logically with the audience to show why her position was valid and the basis for opposing the motion. He has said, and I quote, in a discussion about women being under-represented in institutions of power in Australia, the interviewer was a man called Stavros. The Leader of the Opposition says “If it’s true, Stavros, that men have more power generally speaking than women, is that a bad thing?” She referring to an interview that the opposition leader did and it was a well-documented fact that people could easily check for clarifications. She continued to pin point other facts that significantly made her arguments much stronger, she even quoted the exact date when Abbotts made a statement regarding abortion. This demonstrated that, Gillard had conducted a conclusive research about the issues which give her an upper hand in attacking the opposition leader character and hence destroying the motions credibility. Well can anybody remind me if the Leader of the Opposition has taken any responsibility for the conduct of the Sydney Young Liberals and the attendance at this event of members of his frontbench? From the statement, Gillard was using logic to reason with the members of house, she asks a question that required no immediate answer but intended to create a reflection on the audiences minds which was a strong move on her side in making her argument more credible and valid. “The Leader of the Opposition keen to lecture others about what they ought to know or did know about Mr Slipper. Well with respect, I’d say to the Leader of the Opposition after a long personal association including attending Mr Slipper’s wedding, it would be interesting to know whether the Leader of the Opposition was surprised by these text messages. She used the statement to show the kind of relationship opposition leader shared with the house speaker and thus logically reasoning with the audience on why the motion didn’t have relevant background to seek the removal of the speaker (Donawerth, 5). Evidently, the speaker was able to use logos to justify her arguments another element that made the speech relate well with the audience. With no doubts, the speech has portrays very strong persuasion abilities due to how the tool was applied.

Style and figures of speech

Exclamatory tone

A tone is defined as tool used in speeches to signify the attitude or emotion of the speaker. They are used in emphasizing different key notes during the speech delivery; a speaker will use a high and aggressive tone to symbolize his/her anger towards something. A low tone is used when the speaker wants to engage the audience (Saville-Troike, 33). Depending on the nature of the speech, the speaker have the freedom to select regulate his/her tone variation. Gillard when addressing the parliament used different tone variations; she raised her voice when she was questioning the validity of the opposition leader role in lecturing the government about sexism. She raised her voice in that context to show her frustrations.


Repetition is stylistic tool used by speakers to show the importance of an issue or a point. Gillard repeated the words I am offended several times in her speech to show the sexism issue affected her personally. By doing so, she managed to send a strong message to the audience by emphasizing why she felt so much affected by the opposition leader’s actions and the misogyny concept. She also continuously repeated the role played Abbotts and mentioned the opposition leader in her many remarks to show that she was against him and his actions and she was not promoting sexism


Diction is defined as the choice of words and phrases when making a speech or writing. The words selected are responsible for giving the speech a definite meaning. It also refers to the enunciation style adopted by the speaker. The Prime Minster Gillard speech had a very impressive diction style with carefully selected words and phrases that were used to emphasize on the various points. The use of the word misogyny become popular after she made the speech, she intentionally used it on almost every paragraph to emphasize on the importance of the matter. Even though the word almost means the same as sexism, she used the two words together sexism and misogyny as if she was talking about two different things but all she wanted is to give the issue the attention it deserved.


Imagery is a style used to create visual impressions or figurative language to drive home some critical points with significance meaning. Imagery is also used to introduce a comical aspect to the speech and hence creating a light moment with the audience. Gillard uses imagery style when she says“I was offended when the Leader of the Opposition went outside in the front of Parliament and stood next to a sign that said “Ditch the witch”


Syntax is defined as the arrangement of words and phrases to develop sentences that are cohesive and well-formed. Syntax is a stylistic devise that primarily focuses on the grammatical aspects of the speech or a written document. The speech made by Gillard observed all the grammatical aspects in linguistics and the well-structured to create a flow that was appealing.


After a detailed disclosure analysis of the misogyny speech, it is evident that, Gillard is an individual who can use various analysis methods to formulate a speech that is appealing to the audience. Rhetorical tools and the use of stylistic methods were the two methods used by to explain how disclosure analysis has been applied in the speech. Overall, the tools are used to enhance the speech delivery and improve the credibility of the speaker’s message.


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