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Jessica Territo
Prof. Marinara
ENC 3315
19 October 2014
The Art of Logos
Imagine reading an article on feminism and its necessity in a magazine dedicated to the
culinary arts. What about a billboard on a busy street exclaiming, 95% of Americans watch Fox
News, you should too! For the common person, those two scenarios are unimaginable. Why
would a social issue be in a food magazine and where did Fox News come up with that statistic?
These are made up examples, but people are subjected to those kinds of things a lot more often
than not. To evade those troubling situations, one must use the art of rhetorical devices and the
rules of persuasion to portray their ideas to the public in an easy and thought-provoking way.
There are many rhetorical devices to assist a writer or anyone to set their ideas in motion.
To convince an audience, one can use the rhetorical appeals: ethos, pathos and logos. The Greek
philosopher, Aristotle, founded the idea of these appeals for the main purpose of persuasion.
(Killingsworth) Ethos, the Greek word for character refers to the trustworthiness of the author
or claimant. Pathos, Greek for suffering or experience, helps one tune into the emotions of the
viewer. Appealing to sympathies and imagination will help the audience feel one with the
emotions of the author. Lastly, Logos, Greek for word, refers to logic. (Killingsworth) The
inherent truth of the matter can win over any audience with facts and statistics that are
undeniably correct. For the purpose of this argument, the appeal of Logos will be used to discuss
the group of Feminist artists, The Guerrilla Girls, and the ingenious ways they get their messages
across to the world.
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Logos involves references to reality, the same information that is readily available to both
audience and author. Risk of losing the audience or ruining ones reputation is at stake if logic is
lacking from any argument or appeal. The Guerrilla Girls are completely aware that to
emphasize the truth, they have to provide the facts to the general public. Every billboard, poster,
and project created by The Guerrilla Girls is painstakingly accurate for their messages to be clear
and to help the public understand the issues of todays world.
We could be anyone; we are everywhere, is a statement on the official Guerrilla Girls
website and sums up their influence. (Our Story) The groups first appearance was in 1985 to
protest the male-centric Museum of Modern Art show for new and upcoming artists. Tired of
rampant discrimination, the feminist collectively decided to take action and question the
authority of the art world, and eventuallysoon the world in general. The masked avengers use
facts, humor, and outrageous visuals to expose discrimination and corruption. (Our Story)
Always wearing gorilla masks, the women, some who have been in the group since the
beginning and some new recruits, want to be anonymous so as not to overshadow the topics at
hand. You'd be surprised what comes out of your mouth when you wear a mask, said one of
the Girls to Interview Magazine in 2012. (Bollen) The simple reality of having to don a disguise
to make sure ones message is heard can seem like an unfair existence, but the Girls are in
control of how they come across to their aggressors. Not only are they speaking out on topics of
racism and sexism, they are showcasing it to the world through different formats like billboards.
Guerrilla Girls take the normality of a public billboard and use it as propaganda against
the injustices of the world to broadcast to more than the elite few in the art world. The
advertisements are always fact-driven and usually include their famous weenie count. (How
Women) The early billboards were usually targeted against specific museums or artists. The
Comment [M1]: I just think this sounds
better, but if you want to keep soon that
works too.
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most iconic billboard was created in 1989 using Jean Auguste Dominique Ingress La Grande
Odalisque. The Public Art Fund of New York asked the Girls if they could design a billboard
and they welcomed the chance to appeal to a general audience. The PAF rejected the piece, but
the Girls decided to rent advertising space to further prove their need to be seen and heard. Even
then the company who owned the advertising space decided the image was too suggestive and
banned the billboard. (How Women) If anything rejection and banishment only fueled the
fire of the Girls and still had enough power to cement the feminist groups mantra.
The Ingres painting has one of the most famous female nudes in art history and is
celebrated as a masterwork. The French painters muse is made over Guerrilla style, donning a
gorilla mask. The billboard directed towards the Museum of Metropolitan Art asks the question
Do woman have to be naked to get into the Met. Museum? Along with the question comes a
statistic, Less than 5% of the artists in the Modern Art sections are women, but 85% of the
nudes are female. (How Women) Behold the first weenie count. Stating underneath the
quote, the Guerrilla Girls claim they are the conscience of the art world, which begs the
question, does the art world know that they are being insensitive to not only female artists, but
also women in general?
The use of Logos to enhance and cement the message of this discrimination rings true to
the public because of the statistic, which is based in factual evidence. Nobody is going to argue
that truth, instead the public is going to feel a sense of anger, injustice or even sadness. That
feeling of emotion or Pathos is what the Guerrilla Girls intend. They want to scream out the
unfairness in the world along with the help of the informed public.
There are two kinds of Logos: inductive and deductive reasoning. Deductive reasoning
involves generalization in the beginning and then goes into a specific example. On the other side
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is inductive reasoning which requires reliable and powerful evidence to present the argument.
(Definition of Logos) The Guerrilla Girls used deductive reasoning to reinforce their message
of inequality with the statistic. In society, rational thinking and factual evidence hold more power
to persuade than an appeal based on hasty generalizations and emotional outbursts. If the
Guerrilla Girls claimed that the Metropolitan Museum hosted no female artists whatsoever in
their galleries, which is untrue, the message would scream false and lose all sense of importance.
Billboards, and even art in general, are seen by the masses but the time in which one actually
looks at a specific piece is only a matter of seconds. If deductive reasoning were used instead of
inductive, the message of the Girls billboard wouldnt have been realized in a few second
intervals. Quick facts and clear information are the fastest ways to persuade the general public.
The argument being presented by the Guerrilla Girls is one of blatant sexism. They are
not saying that all female artists are worthy of being in a prestigious museum. They are merely
giving the facts that will lead the audience to question the matter further. The Girls are providing
the ammo, but the audience has to pull the trigger on the issue, so to say. In The Art of Rhetoric,
Aristotle states that appealing to reason means allowing the words of the speech itself to do the
persuading. (Stevenson) The Guerrilla Girls do exactly that, and yet there is a possible downside
to Logos. Usually logic is based in fact and facts are undeniable truth, but when a topic is more
subjective or controversial, there has to be more than Logos to argue it. The way the Guerrilla
Girls display the facts of the matter leave the general public to decide whether or not they
disagree with the lack of female artists in museums. The humor aspect of the billboard helps the
message translate to the masses that arent aware of the original painting by Ingres or the art
world in general. Pathos can assist Logos to make the message that more powerful.
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With the simple information being handed to the public, the speaker (Guerrilla Girls)
becomes a credible source that then cements the statement as a logical one. The use of weenie
counts and solid facts has been used by the Guerrilla Girls in many other pieces over time. They
are not only commenting on the art world, they call out politics, pop culture and culture in
general. In the words of the Guerrilla Girls themselves in the same Interview magazine,
Our M.O. is to be as direct as possible. In fact, we get grief for being too in your
faceour advice is to be realistic in spite of your idealism, stay honest with your
collaborators and your public, and be prepared for anything. (Bollen)
The 1989 billboard by the Guerrilla Girls didnt win over the masses, but it caused
questions to bubble up from the surface. With controversy comes negativity but the Girls
continued on like all the other great activists in history. Feminists claim the Girls as their own,
but any kind of social activist can use the ways of the Girls to express the need for equality.
The Guerrilla Girls do not want acclaim or power over the public like a politician or
world leader would. They want justice, equality, and everything in between for those whose
voices are not heard. By creating a revolution and questioning the nature of the world, those
unheard voices will rise up and join together to create a united front. As long as the collective
stays aware of how they are persuading the public, the masked avengers will always have an
audience who agrees and takes their message out into the world. They are still going strong and
being studied in contemporary and feminist art classes after almost 30 years. The Guerrilla Girls
will remain fighting illogical nonsense as long as the world keeps churning it out.
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Work Cited

Killingsworth, M. Jimmie. "Rhetorical Appeals: A Revision." Rhetoric Review. Taylor & Francis
Ltd., 1 Jan. 2005. Web. 19 Oct. 2014. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/20176660>.

"Our Story." Guerrilla Girls Reinventing the "f" Word: Feminism! 1 Jan. 2014. Web. 19 Oct.
2014. <http://www.guerrillagirls.com/press/ourstory.shtml>.

Bollen, Christopher. "Guerrilla Girls." Interview Magazine 1 Mar. 2012. Print.

"How Women Get Maximum Exposure in Art Museums." Guerrilla Girls Reinventing the "f"
Word: Feminism! 1 Jan. 2014. Web. 19 Oct. 2014.
<http://www.guerrillagirls.com/posters/getnaked.shtml>

"Definition of Logos." Literary Devices: Definition and Examples of Literary Devices. 1 Jan.
2014. Web. 19 Oct. 2014. <http://literarydevices.net/logos/>.

Stevenson, Daniel C. "Rhetoric by Aristotle." Classics Archive. Web Atomics, 1 Jan. 2009. Web.
20 Oct. 2014. <http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/rhetoric.1.i.html>.