Publication details [#6298]

Janusz, Sharon. 1994. Feminism and metaphor: Friend, foe, force? Bakhtiniana: Revista de Estudos do Discurso 9 (4) : 289–300. 12 pp.


For several years now, feminists from different academic disciplines have been considering the role of metaphor in feminist discourse. Some contend that because metaphor has often been used as a weapon to disparage women, metaphorical language is unsuitable for feminist use. Others contend that metaphorical language exerts a force that can empower feminists. This article sketches a brief history of metaphor as it has been used against women in order to inform those unfamiliar with this facet of its history. I argue that metaphor is inherently subversive in a patriarchal, phallocratic system, and as such it can be used by feminists as a most powerful tool. To support my position, I demonstrate how Adrienne Rich and Audre Lorde, through metaphorical language, reconstruct a worldview vastly different from the traditional phallocratic view. Finally, I contend that the problems confronting feminists are not linguistic per se, but rather stem from the intent or the motive of those persons who use metaphor as a weapon with which to debase and degrade women. (Sharon Janusz)