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Music with a Message: Gender Inequality

             Each day, millions of people listen to the radio and are exposed to the social critiques that are apparent in many popular songs. With the recent popularization of feminism, many of the social critiques in modern music discuss inequalities between men and women, in hopes of educating the public. Geneva Murray defines feminist music as "providing conscious raising of the struggles that many individuals still face due to a patriarchal system," which allows feminist theory to become "more approachable and accessible for those outside of academia" (1). Lily Allen is one musician drawing attention to feminism, as she sings about the stereotypes and discriminations in place against females through her song "Hard Out Here," in a way that is easily understood by the public. Recognizing the Aristotelian concepts that are apparent in Allen's song can help assess its rhetorical power, and whether the song is persuasive. In her song "Hard Out Here," Lily Allen uses sarcastic enthymemes to magnify stereotypes regarding females' traditional roles in domesticity along with double standards about women's appearances, in order to evoke anger in female listeners.
             On Rhetoric, Aristotle described the power of enthymemes, and how they can be used rhetorically to persuade an audience. An enthymeme, according the Aristotle, is "a syllogism" in which "you must not begin the chain of reasoning too far back" and "you must not put in every single link" (Aristotle in Cooper 155). Leaving out information allows the audience to fill in the blanks of the syllogism and draw their own conclusions. Scholar M.F. Burnyeat expands Aristotle's study of enthymemes, and investigates the relationship between enthymemes and generalizations. Burnyeat argues that enthymemes must also work in cases where the premises do not necessarily lead exactly to their conclusions (104).

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