Nature is a Feminist Issue

“Nature is a Feminist Issue” is a common slogan for Ecofeminism, which is “a term used for an ancient wisdom” within the intersection of feminism and environmental studies. It first came to prominence in the early 1980s, based off of feminist philosophy, environmental activism, and the peace movements of the late 1970s.

The first ecofeminist conference, the 1980 ‘Women and Life on Earth: A Conference on Eco-Feminism’ focused on the connections between feminism, militarization, healing, and ecology.

The early perspective of ecofeminism from the 80’s focused on the ethics of the connections between women, nonhuman animals, and nature. Ecofeminism has grown into an umbrella term for a variety of different and often incompatible, perspectives on the connections among women (and other marginalized groups) of diverse races, ethnicities, ages, education level, socioeconomic statuses, state of employment, and geographic locations versus nature (including nonhuman animals).

“Nature is a feminist issue” is an accurate slogan because an understanding of nature and environmental problems often helps us understand how oppression is linked with the unjustified domination of nature. Poor, rural women in less developed countries who are heads of households suffer disproportionately harms caused by environmental problems such as deforestation, water pollution, and environmental toxins.

There are three distinct kinds of perspectives within ecofeminist philosophy.

  1. Positions whose historical beginnings are located in non-feminist Western environmental philosophies
  2. Positions that were initially identified with the original meaning of ecofeminism
  3. New positions on “women-nature connections” that are not identified with either of the first two perspectives

I will go through each of these in individual posts soon!

Western rationality, as opposed to ecofeminism, stresses that the basis of human civilization consists in a progressive detachment from nature. The more women and other people were associated with their bodies’ natural processes as well as the entire natural world, the more inferior and barbaric they are considered.

 

pyramid1

The pyramid of importance underlying many societal norms. Ecofeminism stands in direct opposition to this. (graphic from heart-head-hands.com)

 

Ecofeminism, however, stresses the connectedness of the Earth itself and how it can lead to healing of natural systems as well as our relationships within our own species. Humans, as a part of this community depend on earth and sea, and the life this generates for survival, but they are even more fundamentally a part of nature, one part of the whole.  Ecofeminists reject the idea that freedom and happiness depend on an ongoing process of emancipation from nature and the natural state of humanity.

pyramid

The new proposed “pyramid”. Importance is shown Top to Bottom and not Left to Right. I shuffled them so there is no illusion of an order.

The Earth itself is often referred to as a female parental figure of all living things on Earth. Like with women, Western societies have/had an obsession with conquering and taming the Earth.

 

 

I hope y’all continue to re-establish a sense of connection with nature, as well as treat all of the human species and parts of nature as equally important and worthy.

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