Ecofeminism is a form of philosophy that explores the relationships between women and the natural world. It is concerned with environmental degradation and environmental justice as well as gender equality and feminist theory.
Cultural ecofeminism was first proposed by Francoise d’Eaubonne in 1974 in her book, Feminism or Death.
It has a political slant with, as you’d expect, a heavy Green basis and asserts the need for a society in which everyone is equal and collaborates and where no group is allowed to dominate the conversation or natural resources. Thus it still tackles gender equality as the rest of the feminist movement does.
The Core Concepts Of Ecofeminism
Science And Ecofeminism
Ecofeminists reject modern science not because they disbelieve in the principles of science but because they believe that it has been built around men’s (and particularly Western men’s) value systems.
They feel that women and nature have been neglected and they say that environmental issues such as climate change can arise from this neglect.
They say that the binary constructs of man vs woman, human vs animal, black vs white, arise from this faulty science and they challenge their value and truthfulness. This is less about sexual politics, of course, and more about feminist political ecology.
We’re all for a plant-based diet and many ecofeminists reject any cruelty in the food chain and would prefer that we all ate more vegan gummy bears and fewer animals.
They also support the kind of sustainable development and environmental protection that prevent climate change.
This is because they say that it is male violence and the patriarchy which is sustained by killing and eating animals. When practicing spirit ecofeminism this becomes a symbol of environmental destruction.
They see carnist pursuits as incompatible with a pursuit of natural justice. They feel this may oppress women and, in particular, indigenous women in certain regions.
Materialism And Ecofeminism
The ecofeminist tends to take a socialist or even Marxist perspective to the world of capitalism and this is because they view the world of labor, power and property ownership as an example of the power of the patriarchy to suppress women.
To redress the balance they demand social hierarchies that cease to favor men and, instead, promote equality.
Environmentalism And Ecofeminism
Ecofeminists have participated in many of the modern environmental movements and the Green Belt Protests of Kenya and the Chipko Movement of India back in the 1970s were the first such movements of the modern era.
Criticism Of Ecofeminism
While much of what ecofeminism has to offer is positive there are some critical positions on the movement and the main points of contention are:
- It often appears to be too much about mysticism and not enough about pragmatism and getting things done
- It doesn’t seem to leave much room for intersectional considerations with too much focus on gender only
- Some critics feel that ecofeminism is a form of essentialism and thus, diverging viewpoints may be suffocated even if they hold some validity
- One critic feels that there’s too much emphasis on the natural world’s suffering at the hands of the patriarchy and this can lead to real concerns about animal cruelty due to natural processes being ignored
Final Thoughts On What Is Ecofeminism
As you can see, ecofeminism is an interesting subculture of philosophy, spirituality and feminist values with a focus on connecting women to nature.
It is a movement not without its critics but at its core, ecofeminists have achieved many favorable outcomes for the planet and which movement is perfect anyway?