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Ecofeminism: Blowing My Mind.

September 21, 2011

When I was a sophomore at Saint Mary’s, I remember skipping back to my dorm room in Holy Cross Hall each Tuesday and Thursday after my Intro. to Women’s Studies class.  Feminism was all new to me.  I felt like I was articulating something that had been under my nose my entire life.  Leaving that class always felt like leaving a 90 minute pep talk.  I was empowered.

It’s been a long time since I’ve felt inspired by a new bit of feminist knowledge.  I devoured so much of it so quickly.  But then I signed up to present an article on ecofeminism because I thought, well, that’s something I know nothing about.

Consider my mind blown.

I’m working with a classmate to present an article called “Engendering Environmental Thinking: A Feminist Analysis of the Present Crisis” by Ruth Perry.  And I figured if this was all new to me, then it’s probably all new to my blog readers.  So I figured I’d give you a brief introduction of the theory of ecofeminism according to Perry.

Humans have dominated the earth to make a profit, utilizing the “free” resources the earth has provided.  This disrupted women’s historical connection to the earth.  (Historically, women, being in the private sphere, have tended to gardens, gathered water for their families, or wood for fuel.)  Men, being in the public sphere, have overlooked environmental degradation because it impacts mostly women and children, who are often invisible, contributing to the feminization of poverty. But women are most sensitive to recognizing this degradation.  As traditionally responsible for a family’s health and safety, women often see environmental disruptions early.  Preferring technically sophisticated data, policymakers and corporations often discount women’s knowledge as superstition or old wives’ tales, even though women are far more locally informed.

That’s a super short version of one brand of ecofeminism (there are plenty!) that I think even CliffsNotes would find brief. But it’s a brand new theory to me and I wanted to share.

Are you environmentally conscious? Does it tie into your feminism? How? Why?

7 Comments leave one →
  1. September 21, 2011 9:57 am

    Oh yes, I was introduced to ecofeminism in a ‘Women in Politics’ course I took. So this is familiar – and like you, I was blown away – especially by how it made so much sense!

    I particularly remember how women are impacted by the degradation of the environment. A vivid example for me was women located in countries that produce a lot of products (i.e. mostly Asian countries) and because of how lowly women earn, and their placement in society, they had the most exposure to ecological disasters. As we know, a lot more women are in poverty than men, and because of this, women is say, China, extremely poor women are working in technology garbage dumps collecting potentially very dangerous products to sell – and because of this work they also exposed to many things like cancer, and other illnesses related to technology waste. And it’s not just women working in these wastelands, but also children.

    It’s horrifying.

  2. September 21, 2011 10:15 am

    One of my best friends is a academic leader in this field. Love this post!

  3. September 21, 2011 10:30 am

    Really enjoyed this, something, as an environmental planner I am very aware of. Women also focus on the home in many countries so the design of home zones, play parks and open space is something that they are much more aware of than men. We got to mother and baby groups to design new housing schemes, despite architecture, house building and design being the bastion of men. Great post.

  4. September 21, 2011 5:29 pm

    This is definitely something I had never heard of before, but it makes perfect sense. I am off to do more research!

  5. September 22, 2011 2:02 pm

    I’m vaguely familiar with the term, but not so much with the theory. Sounds like fascinating stuff for sure and not something I’ve really thought about. I’m pretty eco-minded and definitely consider myself a feminist, so this is something I should problem invest some research into.

  6. September 24, 2011 11:47 am

    What an interesting idea I have never thought of before. I am definitely sharing this with my sister.

  7. Kashif permalink
    January 14, 2012 6:56 pm

    So real.

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