Nasar Rana

Guided Language Analysis

Introduction

In response to the press criticizing Naomi Osaka’s choice to withdraw from the French Open due to mental health issues, Vanessa Beedleman has written an article. Beedleman believes that mental health issues should be treated like physical injuries. The article is written in a sympathetic and approving tone towards Naomi Osaka and endorses her decision to withdraw from the French Open. The article is written in a judgemental and disapproving tone towards the press. The title “Double-fault: Journos who criticise Naomi Osaka are letting down anyone who deals with depression” seeks to evoke feelings of anger towards journalists that criticize Osaka, and empathy towards Osaka from the target audience who are people who have struggles or have seen people struggle with mental illnesses.

Main Arguments

A distressing situation such as a press conference will put lots of pressure on someone with a mental illness.

It is basic self-care that a person struggling with depression should avoid stressful situations.

The media has little sympathy for Osaka and only wants to profit from her struggles.

Analysis

Beedleman uses an expert opinion, stating “When you’re suffering from depression, the medical advice is clear – check in with your therapist, take walks, eat well, sleep properly and avoid distressing situations.” With this statement, Beedleman justifies Osaka’s decision with advice from medical experts, giving the reader a sense of trust and showing them that anyone should be able to take a break from a situation for mental health reasons.

Beedleman employs emotive language, saying that “At no point is it advised that you should get in front of the international media and face an aggressive press conference designed to elicit extreme emotional responses from you for the benefit of the media.” The words “aggressive” and “extreme” highlight how stressful Osaka’s situation could have been, causing the reader to develop a sense of disapproval towards the media and encouraging them to support Osaka and other people with mental health issues.

Beedleman utilises emotive language to appeal to the reader’s sense of fairness by stating “The truth is, the media is out to do one thing – make money. And it thrives on drama and spectacle.” With this statement Beedleman maligns the media by emphasizing their harmful motive in this situation. This causes the reader to loathe the media and respect people that may have been damaged by them.

Beedleman uses an analogy, stating “One of Osaka’s fellow opponents, the Czech tennis champion Petra Kvitová, suffered a freak ankle injury after a fall that occurred, not on the tennis court, but at a French Open press conference this week. Kvitova has also withdrawn from the tournament.” And a rhetorical question- “Does the journalist who denounced Osaka as “lame” and a “princess” for missing that press conference for mental health reasons also begrudge Kvitova for going off to get an MRI?” to compare the media’s respect for a physical injury, versus their ignorance towards sufferers of mental health problems. These statements further show the reader how the media can be cruel and brutal, teaching them not to base their opinions of people off of news headlines and malicious articles.

Beedleman utilises an appeal to a sense of fairness, stating “Maybe if Wilander had been subjected to relentlessly humiliating questions about his sexuality, or his looks, or buying handbags, or asked to do a “twirl” like a piece of dancing meat – y’know, like female players are – he’d have more sympathy.” With this statement, Beedleman compares how differently female tennis players are treated to male tennis players by the media, triggering the reader’s sense of fairness. This may cause the reader to consider treating women in the tennis industry with the same respect that they might treat men with.

Image Analysis

The image appeals to the reader’s sense of humour by showing if people considered physical injuries to be as trivial as they might consider a mental health problem. This causes the reader to realize how ignorant people and the press can be towards mental health issues such as depression, which could cause them to rethink their approach towards mental health problems.

Conclusion

The article Double-fault: Journos who criticise Naomi Osaka are letting down anyone who deals with depression written by Vanessa Beedleman seeks to persuade a target audience to treat sufferers of mental health problems with respect, specifically individuals in the public eye by using the example of Naomi Osaka withdrawing from the French Open to deal with depression, and how journalists are wrongly criticizing her for this decision.