Commodification of women through conceptual metaphors

the metaphor woman as a car in the western Balkans


  • Vesna Bratić The University of Montenegro
  • Milica Vukovic The University of Montenegro



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.

Author Biographies

Vesna Bratić, The University of Montenegro

Vesna Bratić is an assistant professor of English language and literature at the Faculty of Philology, University of Montenegro. Her professional interests lie within American and English literature, cultural and gender studies in American literature, contemporary American drama and Balkan–US cultural connections.

Milica Vukovic, The University of Montenegro

Milica Vuković Stamatović PhD is an assistant professor of English language and linguistics at the Faculty of Philology, University of Montenegro, where she has worked for the past decade. She currently teaches discourse analysis, phonetics and phonology, as well as English for specific purposes. Her main research interests lie in the field of discourse analysis and pragmatics.


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How to Cite

Bratić, V., & Vukovic, M. (2017). Commodification of women through conceptual metaphors: the metaphor woman as a car in the western Balkans. Gender and Language, 11(1), 51–76.