Deborah Blum’s Essay on Gender Blurring

Ethos, the pathos and the logos will always be the bases and the key area of focus in the rhetoric analysis. In writing of an essay, every writer brings out the above three appeals that contribute to the outcome of his or her work and how the audience will take or see it. Deborah Blum’s essay on gender blurring talks about the biological differences between Men and Women.  She has been able to support her work through a lot of concrete evidence and from a more personal stand by the use of her experiences.

The ethos refers to ways in which a writer brings him/herself in terms of credibility and trustworthy in her work. If the writer is able to use ethos in the correct manner, the audience is likely to fully trust him or her thereby ending up trusting and buying his argument. This appeal has been manifested in her essay from the begging to the end. She begins by capturing the audience’s trust by bringing out her personal experiences. For example, at the beginning of her work, she talks of her childhood experiences. “I was raised in one of those university-based, liberal elite families; my parents wasted no opportunity to bring this point home. One Christmas, I received a Barbie doll and a softball glove” (Deborah, 64). This makes the audience interact with her childhood and is able to identify her as a young child who was brought up in a good family setting. This is brought out by the ethos that “My parents wasted no opportunity to bring this point home.” Well raised children will always be sincere in what they say and in all their dealings. She continues with the appeal by the mentioning the number of children she had as a parent; “It wasn’t until I became a parent—I should say, a parent of two boys” (Deborah, 64).  This portrays her as a person who has a lot of experience in what she is talking about. “This dawned on me during my older son’s dinosaur phase, which began when he was about two and a half. I looked down at him one day, as he was snarling around my feet and doing his toddler best to gnaw off my right leg, and I thought” (Deborah, 64).

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Later in her work, Deborah brings out a strong support of her argument with a wide range of evidence from different authors through the use of a lot of scientific facts thereby bringing her audience to believe in her argument; “There’s plenty of room in society to influence sex differences,” (Deborah, 64). This is a credit to bring her audience closer to her argument. She has also employed quality language with the correct semantics that uses terms which are related to the subject “Sex differences are always generalizations” The audience is always impressed by the correct choice of words that relate to the subject under discussion, which Deborah has been able to bring out very clearly.

Logos concern the writer’s logical reasoning in terms of the organization of his or her essay and also the research was done in writing the essay. This has been openly and expertly used to put up the different bits of the argument together to come up with an essay that is full and that is able to take the audience from the beginning of the argument to the end and be able to grasp the direction of her argument. First, she explains the reproduction process that gives rise to the newborn: “It’s a given that humans rely on two sexes for reproduction; It appears that sex doesn’t matter in the early stages of embryonic development; we are unisex at the point of conception” (Deborah, 64). At this point, she is trying to explain the reproduction process that gives rise to either a female or a male child. “We get one each from our mother and our father, and the basic combinations are these: XX makes the female, XY makes the male” (Deborah, 64).


She is able to show the appeal by use of her logical thinking to explain the whole process of reproduction to the audience without leaving uncertified points. This helps her to take her audience from one point to another without creating any form of confusion. She goes from one process to another making sure that she explains each process fully. She also shows logos through the proper arrangement of her work through the use of proper flow. “I was raised” (Deborah, 64) shows how well she is able to organize her argument beginning from her childhood, to her adulthood as a parent and finally introduces her main topic without any mix-up.

She continues to demonstrate the expert use of quality resources in her research to support her argument: “Back in the 1950s, the famed biologist Alfred Jost showed that if you castrate a male rabbit fetus, choking off testosterone, you produce a completely feminized rabbit” (Deborah, 64).  This statement proves to the audience that her argument can be trusted since it is related to credible research and evidence. She is able to bring tangible evidence to support her essay “And, returning to children for a moment, there’s an ongoing study by Pennsylvania researchers” This shows that she is not only talking about things in the past but also current happenings.


Although Deborah has not been able to bring out the pathos in her work to involve her audience emotionally, she has been able to capture their trust through the use of the other two appeals which has come out very clearly during her argument. This argument does not involve emotions but, there is the use of first-hand personal experiences that are able to make the audience look and think about the argument from a personal level. This has contributed to the successful use of the appeals in making her argument a capturing and persuasive one. Also, the use of supportive evidence and a lot of research has brought out the argument very clearly. This combination has succeeded in giving the intended audiences a more critical thinking on the argument thereby laying down the foundation by capturing the audiences’ trust and interest in the argument.

According to the author’s argument, the appeals have come out very strongly to defend her arguments on gender blurring, since they have captured the attention of the audience very clearly. The use of her personal experiences during her childhood as well as her parenthood has made the argument come to a closer perspective to the reality hence making her audience associate with it. The use of research and evidence shows that the argument can be traced to some evidence hence indicating that the argument can be trusted. I think Deborah’s essay has arguments to go by for any serious learners who are interested in the topic since it has concrete evidence. I am for the view that this essay is persuasive enough to the intended audience and the writer has been very successful in driving her point home.

Work Cited:

  1. Deborah Blum, “Sex on the Brain.” The Biological Differences between Men and Women. Penguin. 1997.

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