A critical-rhetorical analysis of Michelle Obama's messages on the abduction of the Nigerian Chibok girls
Abstract Several existing studies have examined the feminist rhetorical strategies Michelle Obama used in her public addresses; however, there are n...
Several existing studies have examined the feminist rhetorical strategies Michelle Obama used in her public addresses; however, there are no current studies that examine the rhetorical strategies she employed while communicating about the 2014 terrorist abduction of the Nigerian Chibok schoolgirls by Boko Haram. The response to the African plight, which gained global attention and generated several discourses, has been credited to Michelle Obama's involvement. As such, this essay uses the Afrocentric feminist epistemology with models of African feminism to examine how Michelle Obama rhetorically framed the kidnapping, strategically communicated about the African experience, and the way that the incident partially led to the subsequent program, Let Girls Learn. The analysis indicates that Michelle Obama's messages about the Nigerian schoolgirls' abduction are strategic in that they reveal her ability to be a connector, challenger, and an agent – when she connected through inclusive language, empathize with the situation, advocate for action as well as create an outlook that change is possible. Michelle Obama's actions portray her as an African feminist (a womanist and motherist) who utilized the Afrocentric worldview when speaking out against the incident.
Key Words: Afrocentricity, African Feminism, Boko Haram, Chibok Schoolgirls, Michelle Obama
JCMR Journal of Communication and Media Research, Vol. 13, No. 1, April 2021, pp. 13 – 26
© Association of Media and Communication Researchers of Nigeria (AMCRON).
About the author
* Doris Ekeminiobong Wesley is a Lecturer at the Department of Communication Studies, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, U.S.A. Her research revolves around understanding the role of communication in terrorism and how communication can address, manage, combat terrorism issues, and examine the problems of terrorism among established terrorist organizations within the African continent. Her research interests are political communication, counterterrorism, conflict resolution, communication pedagogy, and trauma survivor testimonies.
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Wesley, D. E. (2021). A critical-rhetorical analysis of Michelle Obama's messages on the abduction of the Nigerian Chibok girls. Journal of Communication and Media Research, 13 (1): 13 – 26.