Woman-Nature Association

The images I chose implicitly as well as explicitly discriminates women and animals. Thereby sexualizing women as objects and associating them with animals, dehumanizes them at the expense of dead animals. This is exactly what women have been running from most of their lives and, why feminist movements have been trying to bring change. So the negative images and behavior is exactly what the “Me Too Movement” entails. Talshir, an Israel news writer, makes light of the abuse of women in connection to that of animals:

“The unique aspect of the #metoo movement is the personal way in which each woman can attest to the sexual violence she experienced. This is the essential difference between the feminist struggle and the fight for animal rights – as women, we fight for ourselves. But in our struggle for animal rights, our testimony to the violence they experience will always be second-hand, testimony as observers” (Talshir, Haaretz.com).

In the first image, what is seen as a chicken on plates, looks like it’s being prepared to be eaten.  It is a portrayal of what is said to be “food”, as well as a helpless woman in “bondage”. The faceless chicken is tied from the waist down to long, lean legs and thighs, the string is then wrapped around the hips down to the buttocks.

Similar to the chicken, the second image is also faceless and looks like either part of a butchered cow or pig.  It is scantily dressed sexy, wearing a corset that shows cleavage, a stamp that could be seen as a tattoo on the breast, and low-rise jeans mini skirt.  In our society both images are seen as food however, the darker side to them are much more obvious, especially because they are sexually suggestive.   The story these images convey is that women as well as animals are no more than an object – that being a piece of meat.  As we’ve learned, images like these depicts enslavement as well as domination of women in a patriarchal world, mainly due to the sexually provocative nature of the images.  We’ve also learned misogyny and speciesism is tied to the consumption of meat by men.  Additionally, manipulating women and animals is seen as the norm in our society, making us desensitized by the images.

The third image shows a person with a shopping basket that has all plant-based protein items, looking at a men’s magazine. The magazine cover shows off a muscular man, as well as wording on how a man would look if he eats protein in the form of meat. It describees “28 ways to turn chicken into muscle”, “the best steak you’ve never tasted”, and “how meat can make you immortal”.  Conversely, this image objectifies meat by stating that “real men” eat “real meat” not fake meat like the “tofurky bars” (in the shopping basket)

By standing back to look at the picture, it becomes clear that we will implode  by our own disdain for life itself.  The condition of the cow and the fear in the eyes says it all; she (or he) sees death coming. Adams “False Mass Terms” describes “the most efficient way to insure that humans do not care about the lives of animals is to transform non-human subjects into non-human objects” (Adams, 6).  In other word, when an animal has been turned into meat it becomes food, so we no longer associate it with “being” or an animal for that matter but as a “product.  Better yet, we do not see our meat as animals because we choose not to; when we see it that way we will realize that we are eating something we shouldn’t be eating.  But why don’t we realize we are wrong anyway right? Adams explains, the “False Mass term as short-hand – “Because they are not like us” (Adams, 6).  By definition, they don’t look like us, behave like us and, they do not have feelings.  In her article, she also related this this to racism, pointing out that racism as well as the way immigrants issues are handled, are both seen in under the same lens.  Looking in an animal’s eyes (particularly this one), should awaken “compassion” in us.  It should make us question ourselves and the decisions we make to turn animals into food – like meat on our plate, and we have the nerve to call ourselves healthy.  Per Adams, “to care that one have courage to break from the normalizing ideology screen, it’s ok if it’s an X but not a Y” (Adams, 10).  In that, we become disconnected with the animal so we can “do what we gotta do” but in that process we also disconnect from ourselves.

Sexualizing meat with images of women is one issue, killing animals turning them into food is another, however both are still being exploited.  In this case, “it’s clear that parallels can be found, first of all, in exposing the injustices, on one hand sexual violence we have experienced, and on the other, the violence animals have experienced” (Talshir).  In advocating for animals we are also advocating for ourselves.  I mean, think about it, there are some thing that are just not meant to be eaten and for so many reasons – two most important, ethical as well as health.  And as Adams puts it, “the question in animal advocacy has become muddled about whether the issue is the suffering or whether it is the death of the animal that matters” (Adams Interview, 14).  For me, there are so many things morally wrong with these images and they are so hard to “unsee”. This and others like it over the past few weeks, is why I have not been able to meat and I’m not sure I can bring myself to do so in the future. It’s not that I’ve never heard about animal farms but learning about the abuse of animals has saddened me, hopefully “stared straight”.

Annotated Bibliography:

Talshir, Rachel. “When #MeToo Meets the Meat Industry: The Links Between Feminism and Animal Rights March 8, 2018,

Rachel Talshir is a reporter for Israel news. Her article was relevant to the topic of “Woman Nature Association” because it deals with women being objectified in by men just as animals. Talshir, interviews animal rights activist Shira Hertzano to have a better understanding of the similarities of the intersection.

Vegetarian Ecofrminism

This particular image was chosen to point out genderism of food choices in our society.  The puff-man seen carving into the dead animal with one foot on the cutting board may represents entitlement, power and control.  Although this is just an image it actually says a lot about our social norms, where everything has a role – we associate food in derogatory terms with identity – sex, gender, race, culture etc.   “So does meat make the man?….Meat still being the manly” choice, it becomes even harder for male consumers to opt for a meat-free lifestyle, even if they supported it in theory.  It’s hard to shift an individual’s perception without first tackling their society’s view” (Eisenberg).

Cultures differs when it comes to gendered foods but in the US especially, men identify meat eating with “masculinity”.  This is what they were taught growing up, “eat like a man” (Eisenberg), meaning eat more protein to look muscular.   This is not healthy eating, it’s one that encourages obesity in men and starvation in women by “fat shaming” them into eating foods such as salads or yogurt to stay skinny.  The practice here is that men must eat meat, which means we undervalue nutrition and instead are more concerned with identifying food with appearance.   Eisenberg’s article makes light of the fact that when it comes to meat in US culture, “not all men find meat-free to be a hit to their mojo” (Eisenberg).  This implies that some men want to make the change, some for health reasons others because they want to but is hard.  This lets us know that we should be worried more about changing the dynamics of “genderism” pertaining to our behavior with meat.

Another issue that we deal with when it comes to food that are claimed to be “gendered”, is the lack of understanding for what these foods entails.  For instance, I think foods such as quinoa is considered to be a gendered food because women, more than men tend to like it.  Also, because it is a plant-based food that can be used in salads, light dishes and is a great source of protein for vegetarians, which most men aren’t.  Women’s Health Magazine, labels it a “superfood” because of it’s tremendous health benefits – “nutty, nutritious, and filling, quinoa is one of only a few plant-based foods that provides complete protein, meaning it contains all of the amino acids your body requires—no additions needed ”(Sara Faye Green,).  Not only that, but it is a great source of fiber.

So why do I consider quinoa to be a gendered food?  Because of its origins.  Although it has only became a popular “superfood” in the US in recent years, it’s considered  to be the “mother grain” in the Incan culture.  “Quinoa is native to the Andes Mountains of Bolivia, Chile, and Peru. This crop has been called 41 vegetable caviar” or Inca rice, and has been eaten continuously for 5,000 years by people who live on the mountain plateaus and in the valleys of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Chile. Quinua means “mother grain” in the Inca language.” (hot.purdue.edu).  These countries are still struggling to be developed and farming is one of the strengths so grains like quinoa is how they make a living (women in particular). However, competing, commercial markets are trying take away their way of life by producing the crop via factory farming. “Not least, acknowledgment of the value of “underutilized and neglected species” NUS in traditional foods and cultures can empower indigenous communities (women in particular) and reaffirm their identity” (Emma McDonnel, NCLA).

Ecofeminists perception to non-human animals and our relations to them are no different than that of the exploitation as well as despotism of women.  The correlation with the two stems from the fact that animals are considered “less than”.  This is illustrated in the barbaric treatment toward animals, and women.  Curtain sees it in the sense that we should not eat animals unless absolutely necessary – “Though I am committed to moral vegetarianism, I cannot say that I would never kill an animal for food” (Curtain).  However, Gaards view has more to do with the relationship we have with animals.  In that, “no matter how much we love the animals we take into our homes and into our hearts, our relationship with them is always unequal” (Gaard).  Both perspectives share the similar views for animals as they relate to women.  Yet Curtain’s “ecofeminist ethic of care” brings empathy to animals and women due to the mistreatment.  Whereas Gaard feels that we are “complicit” in the mistreatment and lack awareness in the relationships we have with animals, simply because they are pets.

Eisenberg, Zoe. “Meat Heads”, Jan 13, 2017, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/meat-heads-new-study-focuses_b_8964048

Curtin, Deane. “Contextual Moral Vegetarianism ‘Toward an Ecological Ethic of Care’.”, Hypathia, No. 6, spring 1991, pp. 68-71, http://www.animal-rights-library.com/texts-m/curtin01.htm

Faye Green, Sara. “This Is How Much Protein Is In A Cup Of Quinoa”, SEP 27, 2017, https://www.womenshealthmag.com/food/a19938205/what-is-quinoa/

Gaard, Gretta. “Ecofeminism on the Wing: Perspectives on Human-Animal Relations”, 2001, https://www.academia.edu/2489929/Ecofeminism_on_the_Wing_Perspectives_on_Human-Animal_Relations

McDonnel, Emma. “The Quinoa Boom Goes Bust in the Andes”, March 12 2018, https://nacla.org/news/2018/03/12/quinoa-boom-goes-bust-andes


Understanding Place

“I need only someplace where I could think straight, remember, and properly invent. I need the blessed emptiness of mind that comes from birdsong and dripping trees.  I needed to sleep at night in a square box made of chestnut trees who died of natural causes”
(Barbara Kingslover, Knowing Our Place).

Living in the city for most of my life is great but I also yearn for peace and serenity that comes from real nature. The best way for me to capture “somewhat” of the beauty that the wilderness has to offer is my art or by taking naturistic city photos.  Then I have a memory of all of the beauty that have crossed my path at some time or another, some that I never imagined would be so majestic.  But then, I have to pause and remember that THERE IS naturistic beauty all around us, no matter where we are, even in the city, on a gloomy day.

Kingslovers theory that “we need wilderness” is quite TRUE – “we sing the song of our home because we are animals, and an animal is no better or wiser or safer than its own habitat and it’s food chain” (Kingslover).  We live in what we became comfortable with, and for some it’s urban areas, like NYC, SF, Boston. This in turn makes us function accordingly; busy, movers and shakers. However, people who live in rural places like the country where there are lakes and not much buildings, cars, or much of any developed structures, seem to be more relaxed.  Depending on perception, there is “privilege” on both sides whether wilderness or city life.

When I think of peace and serenity, the things that comes to mind are green trees, mountains, beautifully flowing water, animals like horses and butterflies, etc. This is because these are the natural things that reminds me of who I am, and that I am part of mother earth.  Peace and serenity to me is also a spiritual state of mind that I have in connection with nature. And therefore, I’ve came to understand that even when I am not in the wilderness of nature, there is nature all around me at home or in the liminal places of the city.  But there is a significant difference between manmade nature such as planted trees, beautiful plants and things that are manicured vs. real nature made.  So, the feeling I get when I look at nature in the city, is not the same feeling I get from being in the wilderness.  Which makes me realize that there is still a missing part to peace and serenity that is influenced by the wilderness.

I think that the roles women play in their lives, mother, wife caretakers largely depend not just on how we are viewed in society, but largely on how we understand ourselves. I say this because our diverse environments play a role in nature relating to culture, which helps us develop our personalities. For example, if I’m out having an awful time or feeling sick, the place I think about the most is the comfort of my home.  As it follows, this is where my personality is different and I am more relaxed. Yet when I’m home and having a bad day, I tend to think about the places that brings me the most comfort and I circle back to nature; the peace of the “wilderness”. Therefore my geographical location in connection to the majestic place I imagine, comes from my interaction with the wilderness.

So I say—To mother nature, we are but a drop of oil in water, in place yet “displaced” from ourselves.





Annotated Bibliography


Barabara Kingslover’s is a writer of poems, novels and essays.  Her article –A knowing Place, is a description of how the wilderness is an important aspect of human interaction to our geography.  She entails the differences of where she is (physically, mentally and emotionally) in relation to her family history as well as her connection to the naturistic beauty that surrounds her.

What Is Ecofeminism (Cont’d)

Women in the global south are impacted by environmental degradation because the roles they play as caretakers causes them to become vulnerable to climate change.  Some places such as Africa and India lack basic resources such as clean water for food and hygiene.  Other places in Asia women are being subjected to pollution due to greenhouse gases.  Women in lower class systems suffer even more at the hands of their own government, simply for economic power and global relationships.  As women in these developing countries become environmentally exploited, it becomes harder for them to fight back.  Therefore, it is extremely important for women (and men) globally to recognize what is happening in order to construct ways to make a difference.

While both Hobgood-Oster and Warren have similar Western’s perspectives on ecofeminism, here I will only discuss a few.  Hobgood-Oster’s analysis of ecofeminism encompasses the structures in dualism of women’s oppressions; “heaven/earth, mind/body, male/female, huan/animal, spirit/matter, culture/nature, white/non-white” (Hobgood-Oster,2).  In it she addresses the inequalities to which a male dominated society has created for women.  She identifies the generational patriarchal ties of women in different cultures to that of science and religion.  Hobgood-Oster also brought up Shiva’s point, which is the “Westernized” sense of how some scholars unseemingly categorizes women’s race and by doing so “undermines” the quality of their struggle and work.  This was stated to prove her analysis of complexity to ecofeminism – it has many different discourses.  Similar to Hobgood-Oster, Warren pointed to dualism by stating “oppressive and patriarchal conceptual frameworks are characterized not only by value dualisms and hierarchies but also by “power-over ” conceptions of power and relationships of domination” (Warren).  She examined the traditional Marxist theory with “mainstream”, citing that change is needed due to the way in which women was branded with nature.  One of her Marxist comments stated “if ecofeminism is a position that recognizes that nature has value in addition to its use value to humans, or if ecofeminism asserts that more than gender-sensitive class analyses are needed to explain the interwoven dominations of women and nature, then traditional Marxist feminism will be inadequate from an ecofeminist perspective” (Warren).  Although both women talked about the “dismantling” of these frameworks, Warren laid out her eight connections which highlighted “a casual, albeit philosophically uncritical, perusal of these eight alleged connections helps to identify the range and variety of ecofeminist positions on woman-nature connections” (Warren).

On the other hand, Agarwal perspective was non-Westernized.  Agarwal analyzed what she called “conceptual issues” to which she stated “my purpose is not to critique ecofeminist discourse in detail, but rather to focus on some of the major elements” (Agarwal, 120).  In it, she agrees with some of the dualistic properties in Hobgood-Oster and Warren, to make the point that women in Third World countries suffer different due to environmental degradation.  Agarwal pointed to Shiva’s empirical perspective which was which she thought was “essentialist” because it did not paint a full picture of ecofeminism in Third World countries.  She argues that although “Shiva takes us further than the Western ecofeminist in exploring the links between ways of thinking about development, the processes of developmental change, and the impact of these on the environment and on the people dependent upon it for their livelihood….nevertheless her examples related to rural women primarily from northwest India” (Agarwal).  Agarwal dove into deep history of the castes, class and race of women in Third world countries, thereby discussing environmental changes colonial/precolonial times.

Although I valued all of the ecofeminist perspectives, the one that resonated with me the most was the non-western one to which Agarwal spoke.  There was a rawness to her analysis that showed the parallel lines to women in Third World as well as Westernized countries.  She talked about time, history and her interconnectedness to women and nature in relation to how British politics still plays a part in the development of India and other Third World countries. She mentioned the “privatization” of land by predominantly male groups; “what they termed “private-community,” that is they were private insofar as use rights to them were usually limited to members of the community and therefore exclusionary; at the same time there were communal in that such rights were often administered by a group rather than by an individual” (Agarwal, 131).   Even though Agarwal focused on India/Third World countries such as Africa, everything she says is so current even today.  Not just here in the US where gentrification is happening but also in the Caribbean, where deforestation misplaces people who lived in once lush vegetation and beautiful beaches.   When these types of devolpments take place women suffer the most.  Therefore ecofeminism has to be able to wear many hats and really look deeper into the lenses of not just their own environment but that of other women’s (men too) environments.