Ordinal-linguistic personification is a type of synaesthesia in which concepts such as letters and/or numbers are involuntarily thought of as having individual characteristics usually associated with people, such as genders and ages and personalities. One the face of it this might seem pretty odd, but the linking of personal characteristics with non-living things is certainly not limited to the arena of obscure psychological phenomena. In our shared culture ships are often ascribed with a female gender, and cyclones are given personal names. One very effective make of vacuum cleaner has a cute face on it and is named Henry. It appears that moving objects are especially likely to be associated with human-like characteristics, possibly because their mobility and agency causes the more primitve and instinctual parts of our brains to “read” them as people or intelligent animals.
The car in the photograph above was spotted recently in an outer suburb of Perth, Western Australia. I’m not sure whether the personification of an inanimate object or the creation of a gender identify statement was the insipration for this quaint bit of motor vehicle decoration. Another odd type of motor vehicle decoration that I’ve seen recently is like the male version of this idea. It is a thing that looks like a nutsack draped over a towing assembly at the back of a motor vehicle, generally seen on the back of utes which tend to be associated with male drivers. They appear to be made out of an empty plastic balloon and two tennis balls. The car eyelashes appear to be an accessory that does not come with the car but can be purchased through the internet, should you require a more cute-looking mode of transport than your standard car.
Tyler, Alison Blinking madness! Car lashes are the most patronising ‘female-friendly’ gimmick of the lot. MailOnline. 6 September 2010. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1309380/Blinking-madness-Car-lashes-patronising-female-friendly-gimmick-lot.html#ixzz1pRfWtTGU
BullsNuts. YouTube. uploaded Jun 7, 2010. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwz4zCMwA54 (an advertisement for truck decoration accessories that appear to be sold by an Australian business)