A Rhetorical Analysis Essay Project
of 2015 Super Bowl Commercials

By Geno Smith
English 12 with Mr. Smith at CNHS

Always: Run Like A Girl
2015 Super Bowl Commercial

Mr. Smith's English 12 Essay Project

Rhetorical Analysis Essay
By Geno Smith

Geno Smith

Mr. Smith

Commercial Assignment - 6

27 February 2015


Being the son of a therapist I have heard copious stories supporting the claim that girls confidence plummets during puberty. Lack of confidence can lead to issues that change people's lives such as: cutting, eating disorders, attempted suicide, lack of social skills, relationship issues, etc. I have seen first hand the destruction that a lack of confidence can do to a girl. In the 2015 Super Bowl commercial the feminine product company Always challenges the perpetuating stereotype that girls are inferior to boys that gets ingrained into girls head during puberty that ultimately leads to a lack of confidence. This commercial has different people acting out how they imagine a girl would run and throw. For example they ask the question “show me what it looks like to run like a girl” followed by a number of people running awkwardly. Always is trying to get more awareness of the heinous sexism our culture permits and encourages a different way to view women via pathos, logos, and ethos.

Is sexism a problem in our culture? We know how Always would answer that question is, but do you feel that sexism is a relevant issue in todays society? If you feel that sexism is not a relevant issue in our society than this commercial will not affect you. Always is targeting everyone who feels strongly about sexism, women, parents who want their daughters to grow up to be a strong women, and parents who do not want their son to be an ignorant adult on this subject. They do an excellent job setting the tone when they asked the question, “do you think you just insulted your sister” to a young boy who had been indirectly insulting girls by acting out how he thinks girls run and throw in a mocking manner. The mood of the first half of the commercial was joking and upbeat, not making any serious claims. When that question got asked the whole audience started paying more attention to the commercial. The mood switched from upbeat and funny to serious really fast which shows the genius of Always. When the boy answered, “No, girls, but not my sister,” Always showed how the sexism in this society is not a personal attack on girls, it is a perpetuated joke that people interpret as funny but in reality it is not.

In Erik Erikson's eight psychosocial stages of development, he identifies adolescence in stage 5, identity vs role confusion; "There is much role exploration and fad experimentation." Many people do not complete the task of finding their identity and many of their beliefs will be based on other peoples emotions. Sexism has become a fad in teens today; Always is trying to get girls going through puberty to complete the task of finding their own identity and not following what other people believe. IF people do not complete this stage it leads to beliefs solely on others peoples emotions.

The sexism in this country spawned from the very beginning when women were treated as second class citizens. Ever since then sexism has been considered funny so it has further hindered the integrity of many people around the world. Always is showing how there needs to be a change in the worlds view towards the view of girls. Another sad thing this commercial shows is the lack of confidence in adult women. In the beginning when adult girls got asked how to run and throw like a girl they acted very childish as if they couldn't run or throw. Always showed how sexism is subconsciously in females as well as males.

After the mood switches from funny to serious, Always asked young girls what it was like to run and throw like a girl. They replied with the opposite reaction of the people in the first half of the commercial. Instead of not trying and making a joke out of the question, they ran and threw as hard as they could. By using younger girls, Always appealed to the parents of young girls by making them say, “I want my daughter to be like that!” Confidence is a key characteristic in any person and Always knows that. These young girls have obviously not gone through puberty yet which supports their claim that a girl’s confidence plummets during puberty. In the end, Always shows how every girl should feel by asking a young girl, “what does it mean to you when I ask run like a girl?”; She replies, “It means run as fast as you can.” Run as fast as you can means way more than its denotation. It means to go as fast and do anything with all your strength. Don’t let anyone else tell you what you can or cannot do, all you need to do is run as fast as you can and you will be successful.

Always uses pathos to make the audience think about a larger issue, sexism, and feel a strong bond to the younger girls showing confidence. Sexism is not an issue that can be expressed with logos and ethos. It is more profound to make emotional appeals on this issue. Always makes you feel on the girl's team, like you are rooting for them to win. When they contradicted what the adult women and males did when Always asked the question “run like a girl” everyone in the audience felt an emotional connection to the girls. Always makes you want to feel like every girl should be that way and they do an excellent job of that. Also, when the young boy got asked the question, “do you think you just insulted your sister” and was stymied by it everyone in the audience thought about his actions as well. Not a lot of people looked at this video as sexist in the beginning and it all changed when he got asked that question. People were forced to analyze themselves to see if they acted sexist or not when watching the commercial. Always did a great job using pathos to make the audience feel something personally about this issue.

Logos and ethos were mostly omitted in this commercial due to its pathos style of writing. The author wisely chose to focus on pathos in this commercial due to its content. In terms of logos, Always made the audience believe that if you want your daughter to be a strong woman, you should support always since they understand women in ways other brands don't. In terms of ethos, Always knows what they are talking about when it comes to women with their wide variety of feminine products. If I were the author I would have added some statistical data about how many women go through depression in adolescents or something of that nature. That being said, Always still produced an amazing commercial! The only people that would object to this commercial are people who are not well educated on the subject of sexism.

This ad is made to perfection. Hopefully it will prove to be an important tool in changing our sexist society so my mom will quit bringing home sad stories of women's issues that stem from low confidence.

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