What is Ecofeminism: Through My Lenses

When I first heard/saw the term “ecofeminism” I thought, it could only have one meaning; all women regardless of race, sex, class, fighting to preserve nature.  However, getting to understand the meaning of the word truly dismantles it a bit more; breaking it down to many parts of “ecology” in “feminist” terms.  At the center of this complexed term is “duality” which may shape many aspects of our lives.  Yet it conflicts with the way in which history has linked women’s lives, in upkeeping roles set forth in historic, philosophical terms.  When I say this, I’m talking about the fallacies that have been embedded into our society for generations.  These are the fallacies that Hobgood-Oster’s reading sheds light on, as she discusses the many “dualistic” components in regard to “patriarchy” and “oppression” of women:

“Ecofeminism claims that patriarchal structures justify their dominance through categorical or dualistic hierarchies: heaven/earth, mind/body, male/female, human/animal, spirit/matter, culture/nature, white/non-white” (Hobgood-Oster). 

My interpretation of this is that not all facts are true and not all truth are facts and, some historical facts have never been proven.

My understanding of how we resolve the issues that arise in “ecofeminism”, is that all feminist would need to go into every conflict with eyes wide open.  This means to have difficult conversations in order to “deconstruct” the “patriarchal systems” that Hobgood-Oster also mentioned.  And all too often, bias having to do with race, religion, sex, etc., shatters the core of human as well as animal nature.  It cannot just be one person, one race, or one community, that makes a difference, but we CAN make small changes in order to have a big echo:

“The political activisms and alliances stemming from ecofeminism modify in relationship to the perceived justice issues being confronted in differing cultural and historical settings’’ (Hobgood-Oster).

In a prior WGS class, I learned the word “intersectionality” coined by Kimberly Henshaw.  This is similar to dualism but it has a positive connotation, taken to mean no one thing is alike because we intersect; we experience systemic oppressions differently.  But what we have in common is the need for equality or non-biasness.  What is not part of your life that you need to be a part of your life?  For me, I would say it is important for us to speak up against injustice.  I look up to young women like little Geta Thunberg, who speaks avidly about climate change and  Majora Carter: Ted Talk Video , they should inspire all women.  And as I read Warren’s eight connections, the following resonated:

Many ecofeminists have focused on uncovering empirical evidence linking women (and children, people of color, the underclass) with environmental destruction.  (Empirical and Experiential Connections 3, Warren)

One crisis could cause a rippled effect and this is somewhat of a poem I made to reflect the truth as I see it.  Like dropping trash on the street; the rain or wind then pushes it like a wind-blown sheet; into the ocean, thereby, infecting fish, birds as well as human; if you don’t eat see-food, still be aware; you’ll feel the difference in the ear.

4 Replies to “What is Ecofeminism: Through My Lenses”

  1. Hello! I enjoyed how you brought up the concept of intersectionality in your blog post. Recalling from classmate Mandi’s blog post, she also referenced the addition of ecofeminist causes into the concept of intersectionality. I am curious though, how do you suppose intersectionality can contribute to the linking of other “isms of domination,” as Karen Warren calls them, to ecofeminism? I see it as a way of adding environmental struggles into the mix, for example like I stated in my response to Mandi’s blog post, poverty-stricken women living in third world countries also have the intersection of environmental issues on top of the classism and sexism they are already facing. I am interested to hear your thoughts!

    1. Hi M, and thank you for your question!

      I could not figure out your first name so please excuse me calling you “M”.

      I wanted to explain a little more about intersectionality. This word is used to describe differences in respect to understanding that we do not suffer oppressions in the same way. For example, a white feminist struggle is not the same as a black feminist struggle. However, both feminists might have similarities, such as sex, beliefs, etc. Another example; not all people of African decent have the same oppressions, but the commonality they share is race. In other words, race, class, gender, age and most things intersect in some form making each unique.

      I used this word in my post because it was how I was able to explain my thinking of dualism. As I learn more about the complex term “ecofeminism” with “dualism”, I find them to sometimes overlap with some of the oppressions relating to intersectionality. For instance, Warren discusses “epistemological connections” tied to “empirical”. This would be knowledge shared in a contextual sense of a woman being able to express her own experience of being subjected to environmental injustice.

      I’m not sure if you had a chance to view the video I listed in my post (see below). Hope I explained well enough 🙂


      Thank you,

  2. Good read! Intersectionality is a world that I have heard thrown around but have never actually learned about myself. I gather now after a week of this class that ecofeminism is all about intersectionality. Although eco feminism acknowledges how men dominate over women, it also exposes how we live in a society that dominates in general. This wreaks havoc on our environment. Often, the ones carrying out the actions to damage the environment are not the ones who suffer as a result. Instead, it’s the ones who are close to nature, and are very in tune to the ecosystem natural world around them. In terms of intersectionality, this is just one form of discrimination that they face. They also are often victims to other forms of discrimination as well, including racism and of course sexism.
    I agree with the notion that feminists must have difficult conversations to deconstruct the patriarchal systems in place. I think the focus should be on conversation. While action is very important too, conversation is essential to get your point across. What actions would simply be enough? There is not one single remedy to adjust the imbalance we have in our society. That’s because it is so deeply rooted and engrained in our way of thinking that we must challenge that way of thinking directly.

  3. Another example that ties women and nature together that I just thought of is mermaids. Mermaids are fictional characters in children’s movies, cartoons, books, etc. These are especially directed towards little girls. So, from an early age we teach our girls to be feminine. Mermaids are part of the sea, but they are female. They are presented with a very feminine look; they are sexy, beautiful, and attractive. They are basically half human and half fish, which is a way of saying that nature and women are inseparable.

    After learning about ecofeminism, I have been able to make so many women/nature connections. Before, I did not think about this issue because I was not aware of all the symbols constantly around us connecting women and nature. Now, I understand, and I’m able to identify it right away when I see it. At first, when I was reading the articles for this topic, it took me a little while to understand how women and nature relate, and why ecofeminism is a feminist theory. To me, the environment and women were two completely separate issues.

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