Thursday, October 29, 2009

Ecofeminism... Some Thoughts

The topic of ecofeminism -- the theory that the subjugation of women and exploitation of the environment are directly connected -- interests me and intrigues me, but for some reason I have trouble finding useful stuff online for it. However, today I came across a decent article from the University of Western Ontario titled Ecofeminism: our last great hope?

The article emphasizes a point I have read elsewhere in environmental and ecofeminist literature, from theorists like
Thomas Berry and James Lovelock -- which is that ecofeminism needs to be, should be, and very well could be an integral and necessary belief system in a world coping with a damaged planet. Tied up in this idea is the hypothesis that we are heading towards a new era of environmental awareness that Berry called the Ecozoic.

The following quote really cuts to the heart of the matter, pointing out the current imbalance (both between humans themselves and also between humans and nature) that needs to be corrected:

"Since women were often associated and even conflated with earth/nature it was a simple logical step to both see women as objects and as passive, with men retaining a higher position in the symbolic order as active subjects. Aristotle did not mince words on this issue. He writes in De Generatione Animalium 'the female, as female, is passive and the male, as male, is active, and the principle of movement comes from him.'"

The male as active and the female as passive? Yep, seems like classic sexism to me... pun intended. Nature has also been traditionally painted as a passive body that receives the influence and admiration of men, rather than as a prime actor in its own right (which of course it is). Until a hurricane hits or a bear attacks, that is, and then nature becomes an evil/destructive presence that really must be conquered. And the cycle of domination proceeds as before.

Another valuable resource I recently discover is's (a great site, by the way) Ecofeminism bibliography.

That's all for now, but I'll probably have more to say on this topic in the future.