"Feminism and the Media through a Cognitive Perspective "
Sayana Kabeyama’s thesis was selected for the award as it provides an excellent example of rigorous research. The research question, while related to previous research, stakes out new ground in the field. Moreover, it is of both theoretical and practical interest. At the theoretical level, it provides important insights into social attitudes as revealed through linguistic analysis and is consequently of interest to researchers in both linguistics and cultural studies. At the practical level, it is of interest to readers who seek a greater understanding of attitudes in Japanese society. Moreover, the introduction provides an excellent overview of related research in the field and demonstrates a clear understanding of the key ideas and thinkers who have discussed the topic of metaphor. The data collection was very thorough, and the results were more reliable and generalizable due to the examination of two media sources (both TV episodes and manga). The analysis demonstrated careful consideration of the data. Instead of merely listing instances of metaphor, the thesis considers what the metaphors reveal about cultural stereotypes of women and men in Japanese society. Much of the data and analysis are included in appendices, allowing the reader to verify the writer’s conclusions and providing valuable materials for researchers examining similar topics. In short, the thesis provides an excellent example of undergraduate research, and with some more work, could form the basis for research at even more advanced levels of study.
Sayana Kabeyama’s thesis investigated which cognitive metaphors were used to describe women and men in the Japanese mass media. Focusing on metaphors that appear in TV dramas and manga, the thesis analyzed the metaphors in terms of a cognitive linguistic framework. Especially laudable was the study’s careful examination of the mapping from the source to the target domain and the entailments of each metaphor. Analysis revealed that the source domains of food, merchandise, animals, and plants were often used to describe women. The same source domains were used to talk about men, but instead of plants, buildings were often used. Another excellent aspect of the study was the careful consideration of the social implications of the results. Metaphor, according to cognitive linguistics, ultimately reveals how we think about abstract ideas. Based on this idea, the thesis speculates that the metaphors, in some instances, reveal somewhat negative views of women within society. It is noted that even seemingly positive metaphors such as WOMEN ARE FLOWERS may have a dark side as they imply that women are valued merely for transient beauty. It is also speculated that source domains such as food and merchandise, which are used for both men and women, may reflect modern consumer values.
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