Ecofeminism and Animal Rights

Forest Nymph

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I'm tentatively considering my Masters research on animal rights from the ecofeminist epistomological and methodological approach.

Like other feminist research approaches, ecofeminism is always contextual rather than generalized, and focuses on horizontal relationship building rather than subject-object scrutiny, often making way for participatory action research and "real world" impact.

Ecofeminism is a wonderful critical approach to animal rights because it is inherently anti-naturist and anti-speciesist. The capitalist patriarchal paradigm is inherently hierarchical so subjects nature and animals beneath the heel of men in power. Ecofeminism references Judeo-Christian history as well as modern capitalism for the knowledge that this "control over nature" also involved control over (and oppression of) women, as well as indigenous tribal people from various cultures.

First wave feminists were often vegetarian and anti-vivisectionist in the 19th century. This first wave informs our position, rather than the later waves of feminist thought which were not only speciesist, but classist, and even racist. Think of a rich pantsuit feminist screaming mememe while eating steak and talking about glass ceilings - that's NOT an ecofeminist.

I've collected atheist and religious animal rights views, intersectional feminist/animal rights works, and one goldmine article that critically examines Peter Singer's utilitarianism and Tom Regan's natural rights, and compares it with ecofeminism, with the acknowledgement of second wave feminists who wear fur and eat animals.

Mostly Im doing an historical and cultural overview of animal rights to provide background for my own research, as in "how did we get here." However, theoretical paradigms must be applied in social science, since in social science there is rejection of the idea that any human being is "objective" so we all see through a lens. Ecofeminism is my positionality as a woman who has an environmental science degree, but also as a person who sees the holistic connection between attitudes towards nature, animals and people. I will also apply scientific Positivism when it fits My other lens would be Deep Ecology but I don't think it's appropriate to my research topic.
 
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Forest Nymph

Forest Nymph

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Sounds all right to me! But what specifically do you wish to discuss ?

I'm interested in Ecofeminism after reading The Vegan Studies Project and "The Power and Promise of Ecological Feminism." I also picked up Carol J. Adams' Neither Man Nor Beast. I just wondered if anyone here was interested in ecofeminist methodology or had anything to share.
 

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I'm low-key fascinated by the intersectionality of feminism and veganism.

My background is in the visual arts and we spent a lot of time in grad school studying feminism and intersectionality as criticism and theory lenses. I struggle with understanding how veganism isn't more synonymous with feminism. After all, the entire animal agriculture scene is built upon the exploitation of female bodies and reproduction.
 

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I'm interested in Ecofeminism after reading The Vegan Studies Project and "The Power and Promise of Ecological Feminism." I also picked up Carol J. Adams' Neither Man Nor Beast. I just wondered if anyone here was interested in ecofeminist methodology or had anything to share.
I don't know much about Ecofeminism... but I often look at discussions where vegan try to convince feminists to go vegan. In Grenoble (France), there aren't many places where they cook only vegan foods. Some years ago, radical feminists and anarchists would be the only ones doing so. I know that many radfem in Grenoble went vegan after they reflected on gender discrimination.
 
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Forest Nymph

Forest Nymph

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I don't know much about Ecofeminism... but I often look at discussions where vegan try to convince feminists to go vegan. In Grenoble (France), there aren't many places where they cook only vegan foods. Some years ago, radical feminists and anarchists would be the only ones doing so. I know that many radfem in Grenoble went vegan after they reflected on gender discrimination.

Ecofeminism is the idea that it's feminine to have contextual relationships with nature and non-human animals, rather than the Western patriarchal idea of acting upon or against nature (controlling, subduing, harming). Ecofeminist ideas are intersectional with anti-racist ideas because it's argued that many Indigenous people relate to rather than acting upon or against nature and similarly to women and non-human animals, have been controlled, enslaved, harmed by Western patriarchal capitalism.

In Ecofeminism I see the inherent value in animals, ecosystems even rocks - those beings and things exist to their own purpose, and I act in relation to them rather than assuming they're just there for me to use.

Carol J Adams talks about Indigenous "relational hunting" in Neither Man Nor Beast, the argument being Indigenous people act with respect, restraint, need and reciprocity when hunting unlike trophy hunting. She says though it's ridiculous and racist for white people to try to say they hunt like Indigenous people do, since most white people don't hunt out of need, and of course because Indigenous tribes actually cultivated a lot of native plants for food, they didn't just hunt. One Indigenous woman says in Neither Man Nor Beast it's actually a harmful stereotype to paint Indigenous men as savage hunters.

Anthropologists discovered at least two vegetarian tribes in North America and of course many tribes subsisted by fishing rather than by hunting mammals.
 

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Ecofeminism is the idea that it's feminine to have contextual relationships with nature and non-human animals

So Ecofeminism is based on a relationship to Mother Earth? In Jungian theory it would be the mother archetype?

Would you say it is religious then?

Both sexes are part of the natural world so I don't understand why "it's feminine to have contextual relationships with nature".

I don't know much about indigenous tribes, but I would say most of them are not matriarchal.

From what I understand of it now, I'm not so sure I would adhere to Ecofeminism as I have the impression that it reinforces the idea that men transcend nature when women are bound to the natural world. I know that Ecofeminism would fight against the way some men think they are above nature. But I don’t think they are: men do not transcend the environment where they were born.

I really think the old symbolism which separate femininity and masculinity is harmful: Yin/Yang, earth/sky, yoni/lingam, womb/symbol, immanence/transcendence, flesh/spirit, material/spiritual. Today we want some women to study mathematics and some men to care. I don’t want men to be spirit while women are flesh.

But as I don't know anything of Ecofeminism apart from what you explained, I'm not so sure what I wrote is of any interest.
 
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Forest Nymph

Forest Nymph

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So Ecofeminism is based on a relationship to Mother Earth? In Jungian theory it would be the mother archetype?

Would you say it is religious then?

Both sexes are part of the natural world so I don't understand why "it's feminine to have contextual relationships with nature".

I don't know much about indigenous tribes, but I would say most of them are not matriarchal.

From what I understand of it now, I'm not so sure I would adhere to Ecofeminism as I have the impression that it reinforces the idea that men transcend nature when women are bound to the natural world. I know that Ecofeminism would fight against the way some men think they are above nature. But I don’t think they are: men do not transcend the environment where they were born.

I really think the old symbolism which separate femininity and masculinity is harmful: Yin/Yang, earth/sky, yoni/lingam, womb/symbol, immanence/transcendence, flesh/spirit, material/spiritual. Today we want some women to study mathematics and some men to care. I don’t want men to be spirit while women are flesh.

But as I don't know anything of Ecofeminism apart from what you explained, I'm not so sure what I wrote is of any interest.


1) Ecofeminism is not religious

2) "Patriarchy" does not mean men in general, but an imbalanced and hypermasculine system of oppression

I'll try to explain this in a way you might better understand later.
 
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Gaspard

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1) Ecofeminism is not religious

OK

2) "Patriarchy" does not mean men in general, but an imbalanced and hypermasculine system of oppression

Yea I know. But I don't think eastern patriarchy is “better” than western patriarchy. Actually, I would argue that western patriarchy has roots in the eastern philosophies. In the Yi King the father (pure yang, the sky) has supreme creative powers and the mother (pure yin, the earth) is entirely submissive. This symbolism is still active in our culture. For the Greeks, men were form and women were matter. And it goes on and on in so many cultures. The same oppressive system goes on and on. How is Ecofeminism better that this arbitrary symbolism? The whole binary is constructed on this symbolic confrontation: sky versus earth, spirit versus flesh, etc. They are not complementary foudations which could create a better world: they are forces which compel us to enact gender roles. This whole symbolic ambivalence is oppressive. You could expect to find some balance in this earth versus sky nonsens, but it would just be as oppressive.

I'll try to explain this in a way you might better understand later.

Sure. Looking forwards to it.
 
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Forest Nymph

Forest Nymph

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OK



Yea I know. But I don't think eastern patriarchy is “better” than western patriarchy. Actually, I would argue that western patriarchy has roots in the eastern philosophies. In the Yi King the father (pure yang, the sky) has supreme creative powers and the mother (pure yin, the earth) is entirely submissive. This symbolism is still active in our culture. For the Greeks, men were form and women were matter. And it goes on and on in so many cultures. The same oppressive system goes on and on. How is Ecofeminism better that this arbitrary symbolism? The whole binary is constructed on this symbolic confrontation: sky versus earth, spirit versus flesh, etc. They are not complementary foudations which could create a better world: they are forces which compel us to enact gender roles. This whole symbolic ambivalence is oppressive. You could expect to find some balance in this earth versus sky nonsens, but it would just be as oppressive.



Sure. Looking forwards to it.

We can only speak of Western patriarchy as Western people. I never said Eastern patriarchy doesn't exist.

Imagining that feminism is about biological sex or gender roles is a blatant misunderstanding of what feminism is. That's why I pretty much am going to have to write an essay to explain Feminism to you, let alone Ecofeminism, which will take time and effort.
 
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Forest Nymph

Forest Nymph

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First of all, basic Feminism:

1) First and foremost is equal rights for females. In that way it is about biological sex.

2) It's more largely about destroying the patriarchal structure. That's why people (usually men) who say things like "we don't need feminist rhetoric anymore" don't actually get the real, fundamental problem. Having gender fluid, non-binary roles within the existing Western patriarchal capitalist structure is not really Feminist because it upholds a destructive, imbalanced, over-masculine ideal in human relations. For example, Hillary Clinton can act like a man and that's ok, but men who act feminine are still abused and true femininity is still excluded from our culture. Many people argue that the second wave, which produced women like Hillary Clinton actually made the West MORE masculine not less.

3) Because feminine =/= female

4) How we accomplish this is where Feminist thought splits into different views, like Ecofeminism which never implies that Indigenous tribes are always matriarchal or that women are Earth and men are Air. This blatant misunderstanding of patriarchy is an example of just how much people presume patriarchy is normality or the human baseline.

5) I'll describe Ecological Feminism in more detail and site sources in the next couple of days when I am working on my final papers.
 

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Imagining that feminism is about biological sex or gender roles is a blatant misunderstanding of what feminism is. That's why I pretty much am going to have to write an essay to explain Feminism to you, let alone Ecofeminism, which will take time and effort.
You don't have to do that.

Feminism: "the principle that women should have political, economic, and social rights equal to those of men"

I know that you dislike second wave feminism but I don't think you could argue that feminism isn't about gender roles.
 

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1) First and foremost is equal rights for females. In that way it is about biological sex.

Yea sure. And trans women are women, aren’t they?

2) It's more largely about destroying the patriarchal structure. That's why people (usually men) who say things like "we don't need feminist rhetoric anymore" don't actually get the real, fundamental problem. Having gender fluid, non-binary roles within the existing Western patriarchal capitalist structure is not really Feminist because it upholds a destructive, imbalanced, over-masculine ideal in human relations. For example, Hillary Clinton can act like a man and that's ok, but men who act feminine are still abused and true femininity is still excluded from our culture. Many people argue that the second wave, which produced women like Hillary Clinton actually made the West MORE masculine not less.

I think we need feminist rhetoric. The virago archetype doesn't come from second wave feminism. It's older. Some women acting like men were praised during the renaissance and the middle age.

3) Because feminine =/= female

Sorry I'm french, so in regards to humans, for me, feminine and female are the same. I understand the distinction in English might be neutral, but in French the connotations of these two words are terrible.

4) How we accomplish this is where Feminist thought splits into different views, like Ecofeminism which never implies that Indigenous tribes are always matriarchal or that women are Earth and men are Air. This blatant misunderstanding of patriarchy is an example of just how much people presume patriarchy is normality or the human baseline.

Sure... then if women are not earth, why "it's feminine to have contextual relationships with nature and non-human animals"? Why is it not masculine or why is it not just human or animal ?
I'm sorry but the idea that "it's feminine to have contextual relationships with nature and non-human animals" seems directly related to the ancient symbolism, yin/yang, yoni/lingam, earth/air.

5) I'll describe Ecological Feminism in more detail and site sources in the next couple of days when I am working on my final papers.

All right. You don't have to. Do it, if you gain something from it. I'll read you. And I expect I won't offend you. I really had great difficulties overcoming, on a psychological level, the way my father betrayed feminism. So I constructed my defence mechanisms. I hear about radfem quite often. My soul mate's sister is a FEMEN so it's a lot of fun. Honestly do as you please. I'm fine discussing with you and sharing my honest thoughts about this topic but I don't want to upset you. And in the end, if Ecofeminism is related to veganism then I might be enthusiastic about it.
 
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Forest Nymph

Forest Nymph

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Ok look you REALLY don't understand feminism and you continuing to mansplain it is seriously cringey.

1) If Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden took the stage in lipstick and skirts they'd be taken even less seriously than Hillary Clinton or Elizabeth Warren. That's because after the first wave, society accepted people with vaginas but still held MASCULINITY as the human baseline gold standard. Still. In Presidential Race 2020.

2) That's because while women gained equal rights, they merely got the chance to be perpetrators in their own oppression by upholding a destructive hyper masculine culture.

3) Patriarchy inherently rejects The Source. The Source is female or mother, and also Earth. That's why men who love their mothers are seen as dependent sissies and in some cases psychopaths or at least undesirable marriage partners. Mama's boy is an insult because patriarchy hates where they come from, including human women and the earth. Indigenous culture is viewed as "feminine" or simply BALANCED not because they are all matriarchal tribes, but because they didn't reject, control or destroy the earth on principle and women were often shamans and LGBTQ tribal people were seen as part of the tribe, not as suspicious others.
 

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I know in the Anglo-Saxon world men are not allowed to talk about feminism. If you dare say sincerely anything you might be accused of mansplaining. I didn’t write more than you did, but that was way too much.

When you try to silence me, you're insulting my mother. She suffered a lot from my father's chauvinistic principles and because he betrayed feminism. If I don't have a chance to express myself about this topic without being accused of mansplaining then what’s left of my revolt and her suffering?

No the earth isn't female. Both sexes are on the earth.

Sources are female? I suppose you are talking about the Praxis? In French they are feminine and in English they are neutral. Leave us to our feminine sources and our feminine earth (la terre). You english speaker, don't know anything about the subtleties which emerge from the gender of words. Your neutral gender is an insult. You are transforming a very subtle understanding of the world into the most aggressive theory by forcing monolithic gender interpretations into a variety of complex symbols.

When I was a boy most adult men thought I was a girl and I was bullied at school for that. But you want to silence me because I am male while defending sissy boys! That's quite funny because you are both defending me and rejecting me at the same time!

You hate me because I reject the old symbolism: for me the earth is not female and the sky is not male.

But anyway. I think I ought to stop communicate with you because whatever I say would be considered mansplaining. You are denying me the right to talk in feminist terms about the suffering of my mother. It’s sad but that’s the way it is. So I’m going to shut up.

Bye
 

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No answer ? Then I’ll clarify things for anyone reading, because I feel really bad about what happened here.

First off, I’d like the reader to know that I started to read feminist literature when I was a teen because there were feminist books in our house. For example:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Portuguese_Letters

https://www.desfemmes.fr/essai/crie-moins-fort-les-voisins-vont-tentendre/

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emma_Santos

I don’t think I needed to be schooled about feminism by someone studding it at school. I dared use the word “gender”, so apparently, it indicated I don’t know what feminism is (because “feminism isn’t about gender”). And so I had to be schooled.

Among other things, I disagree with the idea that “it's feminine to have contextual relationships with nature and non-human animals”, which I regard as a gender construct: the idea that the Earth is feminine exists in the most patriarchal antique societies. It justifies for example, in the Yi King, that that the mother is entirely submissive.

I was then accused of “mansplaining”. I think it’s unfair. I wrote a pathological response. I don’t like it but I think it is true to what I am.

Maybe some men are reading this and think, as I do, that they do not benefit from male domination: maybe some of you hate, as I do, that their mother, sisters, and female friends be regarded as inferior. So if you are a man and agree I would encourage you to defend yourselves when feminists try to silence you. Because if we cannot speak our mind without being slandered as being “cringey” by female feminist , then only anti-feminists men have the right to speak.
 
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I was then accused of “mansplaining”. I think it’s unfair. I wrote a pathological response. I don’t like it but I think it is true to what I am.

Maybe some men are reading this and think, as I do, that they do not benefit from male domination: maybe some of you hate, as I do, that their mother, sisters, and female friends be regarded as inferior. So if you are a man and agree I would encourage you to defend yourselves when feminists try to silence you. Because if we cannot speak our mind without being slandered as being “cringey” by female feminists , then only anti-feminists men have the right to speak.

Just read this (2nd and 3rd definitions), compare the thumbs up to down ratio and move on: https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Mansplain