A Nearly Impossible, Sustainable Future

Feminism is an ideology that I am just beginning to scratch the surface of. My entire education has been built around the concept of American Capitalism, so there is no doubt why “Eco-feminism” has completely changed my thought process on how our treatment of the world can effect all social interactions. I can now see some of the underlying issues that our society possess’ and how they are much more in-depth than I originally believed. Cecile Jackson’s article; “ Women/ nature or gender/ history?. A critique of ecofeminist development?”, has given me an understanding of ecofeminism with both the positives and negatives.

Relating women to the natural world and men to the cultural society are not new concepts. As Capitalism grows and becomes more powerful, the work that people do in the domestic sector is considered to be less important when compared to the economic one. Our, monetary driven, way of life promotes an imbalance in our treatment of the environment, because we see natural resources as something we can use for money. Nature and all of its resources should not be used as an easy way to make profits for large corporations, because this leads to us taking care of our land in non sustainable ways. If we choose to continue down this path of un-sustainability, we are ensuring our future generations will not survive. Throughout the article, Jackson uses examples to show how, we as a society, use women just like we do natural resources. Men are depicted as rapists and pillagers that take whatever they require from the land and then throw whatever is left away. We see this same sort of treatment towards women, when in times of war or conquest. Personally I do not completely agree with the ideas of some scholars when they compare the killing of an animal to the raping of a woman. However, I do see how both the environment and women are taken advantage of to extreme degrees. The only way to fix these issues is to repair our broken system in order to create a feminist society where the gender binary does not exist and the health of the environment is deemed important. I believe this transition is going to be slow and will likely take many generations before it takes full effect. Our world is so focused on consumerism that we would be setting ourselves up for failure if we changed everything too quickly.

One of the main objectives of ecofeminism is taking our ways of life back to simpler times, when people were more in tune with the land. Our farming practices and ways of producing crops needs to be done with nature-friendly practices and without the extreme use of pesticides or chemicals. This also includes the idea of using the land in order to sustain ourselves vs. overusing it to create profit. As we begin to place more value in sustainable farming, there will also be a shift in the domestic work environment, where tending to the family’s needs is important. One of the largest drivers for the gender binary is Patriarchy and the belief that men accomplish more important tasks throughout the day than women do. If more merit is given to work that provides for the family’s needs in the domestic sphere, we would begin to see a shift in male participation. This would ultimately make the work of men and women equal.

Another concept that is heavily supported by eco-feminists is the idea that science needs to be more inclusive to women. Modern science and technology is mostly run by hegemonic males, which often provides a severe bias. Science in itself does not have a bias and should be completely neutral in the results that are yielded however, people use the scientific method to further their own agendas. We see this most commonly when scientists refer to the female body and hormone cycle. For example, many studies show that women are drastically different from men and have extremely different body compositions. One popular ecofeminist approach is that women have a natural affinity to nature do to the process of childbirth. Jackson’s article features the writing of another author that thinks this concept is too far. Maria Mies believes women are not naturally closer to nature, but are simply chosen to reciprocate life. Personally, I agree that these biological differences are non existent and that the gender binary does not exist. By supporting the difference, some ecofeminists are starting to idolize and epitomize women. This quickly becomes a problem because the hegemony will only trade places, instead of being erased entirely. Modern biological definitions are currently organized to support the gender binary, and without a drastic change in science we cannot make progress towards feminism.

Ecofeminism is an ideology that can pave the way for a sustainable future for all people. It provides feasible solutions for the decline of our environmental status, as well as helps destroy the gender binary. In order to obtain these outcomes we need to start by supporting the overall health of the environment and having less bias in the world of science. A sustainable future is not currently attainable with modern technology and consumerism. However supporting a movement like ecofeminism may be the first step towards a better planetary health.

Tanya Rawal-Jindia