“He says that woman speaks with nature. That she hears voices from under the earth. That wind blows in her ears and trees whisper to her. That the dead sing through her mouth and the cries of infants are clear to her. But for him this dialogue is over. He says he is not part of this world, that he was set on this world as a stranger. He sets himself apart from woman and nature. And so it is Goldilocks who goes to the home of the three bears, Little Red Riding Hood who converses with the wolf, Dorothy who befriends a lion, Snow White who talks to the birds, Cinderella with mice as her allies, the Mermaid who is half fish, Thumbelina courted by a mole. (And when we hear in the Navaho chant of the mountain that a grown man sits and smokes with bears and follows directions given to him by squirrels, we are surprised. We had thought only little girls spoke with animals.) We are the bird's eggs. Bird's eggs, flowers, butterflies, rabbits, cows, sheep; we are caterpillars; we are leaves of ivy and sprigs of wallflower. We are women. We rise from the wave. We are gazelle and doe, elephant and whale, lilies and roses and peach, we are air, we are flame, we are oyster and pearl, we are girls. We are woman and nature. And he says he cannot hear us speak. But we hear. ”—Susan Griffin, Woman and Nature
“Ecofeminism is based on the theory that the oppression of women and the oppression of nature are fundamentally linked…. Ecofeminist literature asserts that the notion of power must be restructured. Collaborative relationships should be nurtured instead of a power dynamic. Underlying much of the activism is the aim of creating an interconnected community, absent of patriarchal or other forms of hierarchy. An ultimate goal might be described as a reality where all life commands its own essential value.”—
This is not really reliable source per say but I think it captures the idea of ecofeminism pretty well. The idea that nature, the environment, is essentially like a women, which the men, society in general, see as passive and something that lacks agency. It’s their for the men’s needs and desires, and that’s all their is to it.
“The assumptions are evident: nature is unproductive; organic agriculture based on nature's cycles of renewability spells poverty; women and tribal and peasant societies embedded in nature are similarly unproductive, not because it has been demonstrated that in cooperation they produce less goods and services for needs, but because it is assumed that "production" takes place only when mediated by technologies for commodity production, even when such technologies destroy life. A stable and clean river is not a productive resource in this view: it needs to be "developed" with dams in order to become so. Women, sharing the river as a commons to satisfy the water needs of their families and society, are not involved in productive labor: when replaced by the engineering man, water management and water use become productive activities. Natural forests remain unproductive till they are developed into monoculture plantations of commercial species.”—Vandana Shiva, “Development, Ecology, and Women”
some thoughts on ecofeminism, radical feminism, essentialism and transfeminist thought
I find it interesting and sad that radical feminism and ecofeminism are so commonly described as essentialist, given that to my knowledge they are the two feminist tendencies with the most explicit critiques of “essences”. Radical feminists challenge the existence of a female “gender essence”, which encodes women’s oppressed condition, and argue instead that women’s situation is created through social structures and women’s own resistance to those structures. And ecofeminists challenges the existence of a special “human essence” that inheres most strongly in white men and is linked to rationality, transcendence and control over the nature realm (understood as the realm not possessing that essence).
I go between blood and not.
I breathe out as loud
My lungs two hard
I breathe out
dark grey guttural clouds.
We cannot imagine
this body that holds us
the mating practices of wolves.
what is left of me churns
produces bits, fragments, leftovers
that feel close enough to nothing.
they asked me, age 5
“is the wind invisible?”
“I feel it, but I cannot see it.”
I smile, then later churn, again
the old mortar.
my past is stronger than me.
the news tells me nothing I didn’t already know
I want to hold the hand of all of my friends
whenever it was that they needed it most.
We cannot return or do it right.
This is it. Uneven and unruly
I begin to manage
this deep dark unknowing
this, whatever it is.
I’m sitting here reading my environmental science book and a section on ecofeminism is mushed between John Muir and Thomas Kuhn.
As a woman who thinks feminism is completely ridiculous, I’m already thinking this will be a hoot to read.
The textbook reads
Ecofeminism, argues that the patriarchal (male-dominated) structure of society - which traditionally grants more power and prestige to men than to women - is a root cause of both social and environmental problems.
Most often I am ashamed of feminists. After reading this section, I was ashamed of being a part of a sex that blames environmental problem on men - not humankind or mere time, but men.
honestly, how are some people not shot before their ideas go public?
“If we weren't living in a state of denial all the time, the whole idea of sustainability would clearly be our first priority. How is it that we can live in a world where we use the Earth in ways that are destroying it and not worry? We all know we have to breathe; we all know we have to drink water, we all know we have to eat food; and, we all know it's got to come from somewhere. So why isn't the preservation of the environment our first priority? It makes such logical sense that it's irritating to have to say it.”—Starhawk, ecofeminist author and activist
Science vs feminism
So texty post with lots of thinky thoughts. Basically just inspired by a chance encounter with one of my friend’s textbooks at school today. Feel free to skip.
I’m probably way more feminist than the average person on the street. I’m also a science student, studying biology at university with a view to becoming a paleobiologist somewhere down the line. I don’t think that these things are exclusive. Today, I was studying with a friend (who is taking sex and gender anthropology, considered a science option, natch) and on a whim, because I can’t see a book and not read it, I picked up her text for that class and flipped through it. I was pretty goddamn horrified. Much of the book was, although it purported to be a book on sexual selection, a takedown of science as “inherently male” and promoting an “ecofeminist” view, claiming that science was equivalent to the domination and abuse of all nature and inextricably linked with the abuse and domination of women.