“Sucking on [America’s] Tit”: Metaphorical Dimensions of the Family in Conservative American Discourses on Europe

  • G.H. Joost Baarsen University of Groningen, Radboud University Nijmegen, Saint Louis University


I will be keen to track how “adulthood,” “maturity,” “dependence” and “independence,” and the feminine/masculine function, and how these inform political discussions in the United States. I contend that the metaphor of parent and child is used with such fervor precisely because this one simple image clearly visualizes a panoply of narratives conservatives hold about Europe. The image invokes questions of authority and authorship — who gets to “author” the idea that Europe is a child in the first place? – and makes Europe exist as these Americans “know” it.7 This renders America’s superiority both explicit and implicit. Although I believe the metaphor may advance our understanding of current transatlantic relations, I am also aware that through the inherent paradoxes I intend to lay bare, it may complicate and problematize that very understanding.

Author Biography

G.H. Joost Baarsen, University of Groningen, Radboud University Nijmegen, Saint Louis University
G.H. Joost Baarssen studied American Studies with minors in Peace and Safety Studies and Political Science at the University of Groningen and Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands, and Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri. Currently, he is a DAAD-scholarship recipient working on a dissertation project that deals with anti-Europeanism in the United States at the RuhrCenter of American Studies, TU Dortmund University, in Germany. He is the author of America’s True Mother Country? Images of the Dutch in the Second Half of the Nineteenth Century