In the book No Turning Back, feminism was described as a different kind of social revolution. Feminism is a social upheaval that questions the contemporary and mainstream principles of male supremacy (Freedman). It is very exciting that women are starting to empower themselves and give their voices to the cause of gender empowerment. According to H. K. Manion, ecofeminism is On a very basic level, ecofeminists are unified in the exploration of the commonalities between gender oppression and environmental degradation mainly caused by male Western dominance.
It is a movement based on fighting discrimination against women and the destruction of the environment (Manion 4). All of these problems, they believe, are caused by the supremacy and the tyranny of men (Manion 4). Bina Agarwal, cited in the same book, enumerated the four main principles guiding the ecofeminist ideology. The first one the interconnection between gender discrimination and the destruction of the environment brought about by Western ideologies usually created by men. The second one pertains to each genders predisposition. Agarwal said that women are more inclined and similar to the environment.
She believes that women are more connected to Mother Earth and described men as intrinsically more inclined to the development of culture. She said that due to these similarities, women are naturally undermined because of the obvious suppression of the land by culture. Often culture develops at the cost of the environment. The third concept is that discrimination against women and the environment have occurred hand in hand. Throughout the course of history, men in search of power and glory have conquered lands and used resources at the expense of the environment.
With this is the subjugation of women who, by the coercive force of men, remained at the sidelines. And the fourth one is the fusion of feminism and environmental preservation, both ideologies, they believe seek the same equal and just causes. The dominance of men over both women and the environment has been a cause for action for the ecofeminist movements. Ecofeminists believe that it is the sacred responsibility of women to protect the earth. A belief rooted on the fact that men subjugated both women and the environment and both are yearning for freedom from the chains of oppression.
It is interesting to note the spirituality and mysticism associated with the ecofeminist movement. Though some dismiss this movement as non-academic some believe otherwise. Linda Marina, in her paper entitled Women and the Land, presented a very animistic and mystical view of how these two are interconnected. She citied an Iroquois creation myth involving the planet and the earth mother as an example to show the connection between the two (Marina 8). She said that it is only because of the western view of religion that things changed and the goddess became god (Marina 8).
It was only the transgressions of Eve in western religion that caused the stratification of women. Making men lords over women by Gods Command (Marina 8). Most of the ecofeminists are vegans as a way to harmonize with the Earth they abstain from eating other animals whom they believe are also victims of male dominance. However, it is necessary to first point out a clear difference between a vegan and a vegetarian. A vegan abstains from all products made from animals including clothing and dairy products while a vegetarian is someone who abstains from eating animal meat but not poultry and dairy products (Ecofeminism.
org). Ecofeminism is an interesting manifestation of the feminist movement. It not only fights for the feminist cause but also for the rights of the environment. Truly, we have forgotten to care for and concern ourselves with the screams of the dying earth. It is true that men have spearheaded the cause of technological advancement often at the expense of the environment. According to an article published the New York Times, the Amazon rainforest rate of deforestation has increased drastically over the past years. In a 12-month period almost 10,000. 00 square miles of rainforest disappeared.
These rainforests are vital for the survival of rare animals and plants. Moreover, based on the same article, the international environmental organization Greenpeace estimated that in 80 years the whole Amazon rainforest would be wiped out if deforestation is not stopped. This is a disturbing reality that we must all face. Sooner or later, without us knowing the earth will get back at us. The manifestations could be destructive but we can only blame ourselves for our gross neglect for the environment. Recent calamities that have hit many different places around the world could be considered as earths cry for help.
Not only is this an issue of the environment but also an issue for women. Women at the same time have been discriminated against and hurt by the male populace. In other parts of the world women are still considered as mere commodities. Commodities that men utilize in any way that they want to. According to BBC, in Afghanistan, women are still stoned to death under religious laws. In a certain case, a woman demanded a legal separation from husband after he abandoned her. However, her husband accused her of adultery and without sufficient evidence the religious courts handed out a ruling sentencing her to be stoned to death.
I think this is such a deplorable act and a manifestation of the gender struggle faced by women around the world. Such display of despicable violence against women should further motivate not only women but men as well over the atrocities faced by women. Such atrocities against women portray such wickedness in men and even in the pristine conditions of the rainforests, humanity at the same time is condemning it to death through deforestation and degradation just like how the men sentenced that woman to death.
This connection that binds women and the environment is sacred. Sacred because they are both fighting for what is right and what is just. Men do not have the right to commit such despicable atrocities to both. It is sad to see that the current social order has created a world that condemns both. The feminist movement has gone through such a transformative process the past few decades. In No Turning Back, the author pointed out the many different manifestations and causes the feminist movement has pursued.
According to a staunch feminist Anyone who challenged prevailing gender relations might now be called a feminist¦ which encompasses the whole feminist movement (Freedman). Ecofeminisim has been one of its many manifestations. I think that the whole feminist movement pursues a valid and important cause for everyone. Since it started, it has challenged the common stereotypes of the female gender. Moreover, the current social order condemns them to a world of subjugation and inferiority. Wherever we go we see images that condition us to believe such ideas.
These ideas often promulgate the dominance of men over women. When women are used as commodities in certain parts of the world they disrespect their humanity. When the environment is degraded, we disrespect its right to exist and flourish. Even in developed countries we can see how women are being discriminated against. When men objectify them as mere objects of lust, it is the same discrimination that they share with women in poorer countries. It is not only a third world issue but also an international feminist issue, the objectification of women in media.
We often see images of women stereotyped as mere objects of lust. Certain celebrities perpetuate this image that disenfranchises other women and empowers men to rule over women. It is sad that in our world today, such things still happen. In spite of the advancement in thought and ideologies the rape of the earth and women still prosper. Hopefully things would change for the better.
BBC. com. Afghanistan Woman Stoned to Death. 23 April 2005. The British Broadcasting Company. 22 May 2008.
Ecofeminism http://www. lancs. ac. uk/staff/twine/ecofem/ecofemlinks2. html Freedman, Estelle. No Turning Back Ballantine Books. 2003 Manion, H. K. Ecofeminism Within Gender and Development. 2002. EcoFem. org. 22 May 2008.