Eco-feminist spiritualities…challenge patriarchy at its core – its belief system –
and attempt to put in its place nondominating and life-affirming beliefs, values, behaviors,
and relationships among humans and toward human nature.
– Karen Warren
Ecofeminism makes the claim that the conceptual framework known as patriarchy (“rule of the fathers”) links women and nature. Therefore, patriarchy is to blame not only for the abuse of women and children and all people on the margins in our society, but also for the abuse of Earth itself.
Patriarchy accomplishes this link through the “feminization of nature” and the “naturalization of women.” Ecofeminist philosopher Karen Warren cites examples of this patriarchal pattern in the language of Western European culture. These examples include the naturalizing or animalizing of women through the use of such terms for women as pets, cows, sows, foxes, chicks, serpents, bitches, beavers, old bats, old hens, mother hens, pussycats, cats, cheetahs, bird-brains, and hare-brains. Likewise, patriarchal cultures have become accustomed to the feminizing of nature. Warren offers these examples: ‘Mother Nature’ is raped, mastered, conquered, mined; her secrets are ‘penetrated,’ and her ‘womb’ is to be put to the service of the ‘man of science’. Virgin [not stud] timber is felled, cut down; fertile soil is tilled and land that lies ‘fallow’ [not impotent] is ‘barren’ and ‘useless’.
As Warren indicates in the quote that begins this page, eco-feminists also explore the spiritual dimensions of culture that support male privilege and domination. Healing the patriachal influences on our approach to spirituality is a major step in returning to our own wholeness for both men and women.
Click Here for the first post on Ecofeminism in My Journey
Video: Ecofeminism Now
Carol Adams, ed. Ecofeminism and the Sacred
Irene Diamond and Gloria Feman Orenstein, eds. Reweaving the World: The Emergence of Ecofeminism.
Ivone Gebara, Longing for Running Water: Ecofeminism and Liberation
Judith Plant, ed., Healing the Wounds: the Promise of Ecofeminism
Rosemary Radford Ruether, Women Healing Earth: Third World Women on Ecology, Feminism, and Religion
Vandana Shiva, Staying Alive: Women, Ecology and Development