ECOFEMINISM versus patriarchy & sexism Basic insights of Ecofeminism Types of Ecofeminism: cultural and constructivist Nondualistic and nonhierarchical Holistic understanding Contextual knowledge Pluralism Communitarianism Ethics of care Power-with
A different kind of progress Basic Insights of Ecofeminism 1. 2. 3. 4. Conceptions of nature and of women have been linked: earth as female, female as earthly/animal-like.
Devaluation and abuse of nature and women have gone hand in hand. To overcome this problem, we must analyze and resist both together, and devise an ideal which liberates both. Expansion often made: all oppressions (race, class, gender, environment) are linked and need to be fought together. Two main types of ecofeminism Cultural: essentialism 2. Social construction
1. 1. Cultural Ecofeminism Women have an essential and distinctive connection to nature that men do not have. Women should recognize and celebrate these unique qualities, and we need a culture based on them. The earth is inherently feminine: Mother Earth.
Essentialism. 2. Constructivist Ecofeminism The link between women and nature is a social construction. Essentialism is: Not true: women do not have an essential relationship to nature that men do not. Bad: any positive affirmation of womens essential link to nature ultimately reinforces transcendental dualism that is at the root of
oppression. Constructivist Ecofeminism Culture has inculcated the feminine qualities in women and the masculine qualities in men. While these are not essential, they have to be recognized and dealt with. In many cases the socially constructed feminine qualities are superior to masculinism.
COMMON FEATURES IN ECOFEMINISM Nondualistic & nonhierarchical Versus Patriarchy as dualistic & hierarchical The world is fundamentally an interrelated web of relationships. The world is fundamentally egalitarian rather than hierarchical. Dualities and hierarchies are social constructions of patriarchy, not essential qualities of the world.
Holistic understanding Versus Patriarchy in the form of rationalism We are emotional and bodily beings as much as we are rational beings. Emotions are essential to being fully human and they offer us a critical window to the world. The body and the senses are essential to being fully human and they are necessary to realizing our connection with the world. A rationalist approach that cuts itself off from emotions and the body will be distorted. We need to affirm our emotional and bodily
existence and integrate reason into that. Contextual knowledge Versus Patriarchys view of knowledge as objective & universal We are always embedded in specific contexts: social relationships, historical moments, specific cultures, and local environments. The attempt to transcend those contexts by achieving an objective, universal view is impossible. A supposedly objective view cuts us off from our essential relatedness, giving a false view of
the world and keeps us from fulfilling our relationships. Pluralism Versus Patriarchys view that there is only one true perspectiveours. There is no single true perspective. That idea and ideal has been historically associated with imperialism and colonialism. We need to recognize the validity of various views and affirm a multiplicity of voices. What we should seek is an open dialogue among these views and voices.
An attempt to achieve a single, monolithic view silences those who lack cultural power (e.g., women, minorities, third world). Communitarianism Versus Patriarchys atomistic individualism People are essentially not individuals but selves in and of a community, intrinsically related to other people and the earth. We are distinct individuals, but in the sense of having a unique set of relationships, not in being autonomous and independent of others. These relationships mean that our identity is
complex and multiple. The ideal is to realize our individuality -- as an integral part of the communities we live in. Ethics of care Versus Patriarchys rationally determined justice Ethics begins with our essential interrelatedness, not autonomy as individuals. Our interrelatedness locates us in a situation of responsibility to others, naturally caring for them (as long as we are open to our connections). Ethics are developed not by rationally
determining justice but by deepening our awareness of our interrelatedness and extending our natural caring. Power-with Versus Patriarchys drive to maintain power over others. The urge for power-over comes from a desire for domination. It is top down and authoritarian. Power-with is an alternative, the power that comes from collaboration of fellow members of a community. Democracy is inherently a system of power-with,
from the ground up, inclusive of all groups. Our culture, politics, and economics should reflect power-with rather than power-over. Progress Versus Patriarchys notion of progress is domination over nature and other cultures in pursuit of material affluence. The spread of patriarchal civilization is not true progress but rather the extension of the domination of those in power. Individual and cultural diversity, like biodiversity, are the basis for cultural health and richness. True progress comes from a multiplicity of individuals
and cultures working in dialogue and cooperation. The ideal is to empower diverse individuals and cultures and engage them in cultural, political, and environmental processes.
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