Metaphor in the Construction of Gender in Media Discourse: Analysis of Metaphors Used to Describe Women in Nigerian newspapers
Umar Ahmed

Scholars in linguistic anthropology and discourse analysis (e.g. Zubair, 2007; Mele, 2008) note how gender can be constructed through metaphor. These researchers further argue that metaphor is not just a mere rhetorical ornament or a literary device but rather, a powerful means by which people constitute their social identities and relations. In this paper I report an analysis of the complex and often subtle ways in which some female authors used metaphors to describe women in Nigerian newspapers. I also discuss the presuppositions and inferences associated with the indexing of feminine gender through metaphor, highlighting the role they play in the process. Drawing upon Lazar‟s (2005) notion of feminist critical discourse analysis, Lakoff and Johnson‟s (1980) conceptual metaphor theory and the pragmatic notion of presupposition, I analyze a total of 339 metaphors about women identified in the 100 opinion articles on gender in five Nigerian newspapers, namely: The Guardian, Daily Trust, New Nigerian, The Punch, and Vanguard from 1999 to 2014. The analysis demonstrates that Nigerian women still use metaphorical expressions, which largely kept in place a gender ideology, which upholds male dominance and female subordination. It also reveals that the underlying cognition of (some) Nigerian female authors of opinion articles indicate their consent to patriarchal hegemony. Hence, the study makes the claim that how one may perceive and describe gendred self in relation to others can be influenced or constrained by the dominant gender ideology in society.

Full Text: PDF      DOI: 10.15640/ijgws.v6n1a8