• The Feminist Times

Eco-feminism Explained


Eco-Feminism, is a feminist philosophy that celebrates the feminine difference derided by patriarchy. This philosophy points to the predominance of what it calls a masculinist ideology that structures the world, through which both nature and women are to be controlled and dominated, and their productive capacities harnessed for certain kinds of economic goals. Vandana Shiva, for example, shows that both women and nature are thought to be passive by masculinist ideology, productive only if their energies are harnessed in a certain way. A forest is thought of as unproductive unless it is planted with, for example, commercial woods. Unless it is planted with teak and other trees that can be cut and sold, unless something commercial happens, a forest is not thought of as productive. The very term 'natural resource' suggests that nature is merely a resource for capitalism to yield profit, and so, unless the forest does that, it is thought of as unproductive.


But Shiva points out that its productivity is actually continuous- a forest is preserving groundwater just by standing there. It is replacing oxygen in the atmosphere, it is providing a habitat for animal species, it is providing food and fuel for local inhabitants. So what eco-feminism tries to do, is reclaim from masculinist ideology a radicalized notion of the creative feminine (Shiva 1988).


-Seeing like a feminist : Nivedita Menon

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