Rhetorical Analysis of an Anti-Bullying Campaign

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Regardless of your age, gender, or race, we all have one thing in common; all of us have experienced bullying. This presses the question, what is bullying? Bullying is unwanted, aggressive, and repeated behavior among school aged children. According to the Center for Disease Control, one in every three students in America experience bullying at some point in their academic career. According to the same study, 28% of these students experience bullying from grades six through eighth. In another survey conducted by the CDC in 2014, bullying that results in suicide is considered to be the top cause of death among teenagers in America. The results of bullying vastly range from temporary sadness to suicidal thoughts and actions. The National Voices for Equality, Education, and Enlightenment, also known as the NVEEE, is on a mission is to help prevent bullying, violence, and suicide amongst today's youth. NVEEE is a community based non-profit organization that has no religious or political affiliation. The National Voices for Equality, Education, and Enlightenment was established in October of 2009 by Jowharah Sanders as a result of her experiences being bullied as an adolescent. Sanders has now successfully developed a school-wide bullying prevention program called “Be Outstanding” which teaches students to speak up and take action in order to reduce bullying in their school. This movement helps promote leadership within the community from a young age to even further act as a preventative measure. The organization, now in its ninth year of operation, has supported nearly 20, 000 children and teens throughout the United States in order to combat bullying. The NVEEE ad features three rhetorical appeals; logos, ethos, and pathos, in order inspire a change within their audience.

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NVEEE’s most recent advertisement makes a clear and definitive statement towards inspiring social change; to stop bullying once and for all by showing the consequences of using harmful language towards other children. The first and most prominent element in the ad is pathos through the use of imagery and language used. The picture of the young girl features what seems to look like cuts as a result of self harm on her inner forearm. However, upon further inspection these cuts include words or phrases that are examples of what might push adolescents to the point of suicidal thoughts or actions. As pathos is an appeal to emotions and feelings, this forces the audience to reflect upon a time that they have felt this way or a time that they could have hurt another as a result of their actions. As the founder of NVEEE, Jowharah Sanders’ first hand first hand experiences of bullying in her early adolescent years helped her become a crucial part of the planning in the ad campaign.

The ad displays an image of a young girls face and upper body featuring words that resemble self harm induced cuts across her forearm. The main slogan of this particular NVEEE ad “I can feel the rumors getting under my skin” symbolize the cuts that have become an increasingly popular form of self harm among teenagers. The main colors of the ad are on a rather darker and neutral wheel, while the NVEEE logo on the bottom left hand corner is very bright and colorful. This can be perceived as the “light at the end of the tunnel” of depression, which is also a symbol of hope. In addition to the bland color scale of the majority of the ad, the red text in the cuts are used as a contrast to offset the neutral tones in order to portray blood and pop the important parts of the text. This campaign is a social movement that's purpose is to shed light on the severity of bullying nowadays.

By the use logos in the advertisement, it clearly defines bullying to the audience. This adds to the campaign through the appeal of the audience's morals. Logos- logic, pathos- proof, and ethos- ethics, help the NVEEE’s ad campaign persuades the audience that bullying has gone from being a “right of passage” to a serious health concern that needs to be addressed and taken seriously. Within the campaign, a powerful metaphor is used to get an important point across to the audience.

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