Commodification of women through conceptual metaphors
the metaphor woman as a car in the western Balkans
Keywords:conceptual metaphor, woman, car, BCMS
Commodification of women in a society can be reflected in its language and its conceptual metaphors. Thus, conceptualising women as possessions in the western Balkans has engendered the conceptual metaphor WOMAN IS A CAR, which the present research has shown to be widely-spread and commonly used among the speakers of BCMS (Bosnian/Croatian/Montenegrin/Serbian). The study has been carried out on excerpts from online discourse, mostly fora and readers’ comments on news portals, whereby the authors have extrapolated the extensions (i.e. the submetaphors of the most general metaphor studied – WOMAN IS A CAR). Bearing in mind that conceptual metaphors form mental frames in the minds of individuals which are difficult to dispel and which operate at subconscious levels, the implication is that the significant presence of the metaphor WOMAN IS A CAR in BCMS suggests that its speakers see women as objects to be disposed of by their owners (men); that is, that women continue to occupy a lower position in the societies of the western Balkans. Metaphors such as this one support and perpetuate such social relationships, which is why it is of great significance to uncover their underlying discourse mechanisms.
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