Ecofeminism: Empowering or Conflicting?

Most women are already familiar with the term ‘feminism’ but there seem to be a few branches of feminism that leave people feeling slightly confused, Ecofeminism being one of them. Some are of the opinion that a few of the principles of Ecofeminism contradict what feminism is all about. 

We’ve outlined the basics of Ecofeminism so that you can decide for yourself.

Ecofeminism: The Basic Idea

The basic idea of Ecofeminism is that there is a link between female oppression and the oppression of nature. Other experts state that gender, race and class-related oppresion and discrimination is related to the destruction of the environment. 

Overall, Ecofeminism links women to nature. However, while some ecofeminists see this link as empowering, others see it as degrading based on the different concepts that make up this movement. 

To better understand Ecofeminism, let’s take a closer look at the different concepts behind it.

What Ecofeminism Teaches

Women and Mother Earth are Connected

Basically, Ecofeminism highlights the relationship between the oppression of women and the environmental damage done to the earth. However, this relationship tends to take on one of two forms.

Some ecofeminists believe that women are seen as something that can be used up like natural resources. Also known as Radical Ecofeminism, this perspective touches on the fact that both the environment and women are being exploited by patriarchal forces that believe they are creating order and offering value. 

Then there’s Cultural Ecofeminism, which paints a more empowering picture. Cultural ecofeminists believe that nature and women are linked in the sense of natural processes. This perspective touches on the fact that women are better placed to take action when it comes to reversing environmental damage.

Ecofeminism Challenges Hierarchies

Creating a more equal playing field is another concept that makes up Ecofeminism. In order to challenge patriarchy and hierarchies and prevent the dominance of nature for economic gain, Ecofeminism encourages women to express their diversity. Radical ecofeminists are of the belief that women are viewed as natural and irrational, which means men feel the need to control and develop them. 

Women Can Prevent Environmental Degradation but are Also Vulnerable to It

The final concept that makes up Ecofeminism is the fact that women, particularly those in developing countries, interact with environmental degradation on nearly a daily basis. A large percentage of women in developing countries need to gather food and water for their families, which means they are actively involved and exposed to nature almost every day.

Unfortunately, the fact that young girls and women need to spend most of their time finding resources such as water, means they’re less likely to have time for school. This usually places them in low-income jobs later on that expose them to chemicals and toxins in the workplace.

This cycle shows that women have the power to prevent environmental damage but they are also very vulnerable to it due to patriarchy. What’s more, women are in a position to help prevent further environmental damage and ecological issues but their voices often fall on deaf ears.

Empowering or Conflicting?

While the concepts that make up Ecofeminism are certainly valid, some experts suggest that ecofeminists are trying to place women into positions of power in order to address environmental issues, which goes against what feminism is about. Others are of the idea that Ecofeminism can still have a powerful impact without it going against the core principles of feminism. 

The bottom line is that the environment can benefit from empowered and educated women who want to protect their communities and prevent further environmental damage.

What are your thoughts?

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