Investigating Romanian radical right populism, I evidence the gendered nature of conceptual metaphors and provide insights on the specific masculinities that they underpin in such political discourses. With the 2004 presidential elections as a backdrop, the analysis focuses on how the radical right populist candidates articulated in their discourses the conceptual metaphor of the “strict father.” At first, the theoretical standpoints on conceptual metaphors are corroborated with the conceptualization of populist charismatic leadership. Subsequently, a gendered perspective is added to the populist conceptualizations. The leaders’ self-representation as messianic fathers of the national family is evidenced by investigating their discursive appeals to protect, discipline and punish the people. Furthermore, I elaborate how conceptual metaphors may be employed to consolidate a position of uncontested leadership and moral superiority of the radical right populist leaders.
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