“For all of us”: Feminine Style in the Rhetoric of Rosalynn Carter
In her essay “A Woman of Power: Rosalynn Carter and the Mental Health Scene,” Marie Whelan provides an insightful neo-Aristotelian analysis of Rosalynn Carter’s rhetorical tactics as she campaigned for mental health care reform in the United States. Whelan’s investigation provides an excellent context for Carter’s feminine persona and role as a mother of the nation figure, though her neo-Aristotelian framework does not fully address the connection between Carter’s rhetorical tactics and her public image. This paper examines Carter’s rhetorical tactics of using personal anecdotes, encouraging unity between herself and her audiences, and inviting audience participation through the lens of the feminine style. Specifically, I examine how Carter utilizes these rhetorical tactics in two newspaper op-eds to effectively support her point while fulfilling her role as a mother of the nation figure. An analysis of Carter’s rhetoric through the lens of the feminine style allows for a more nuanced understanding of Carter’s rhetoric in the context of her public persona and better accounts for the historical period in which she campaigned.