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Ecofeminism Essay

5999 words - 24 pages

Ecofeminism

The first part of this essay will outline the main arguments of the feminist ecologists and deal with the concept of Ecofeminism. The second part will sketch the main arguments of Rosemary Radford Reuther book, "Gaia and God". The final part of this essay will analyze: Starhawk's The Spiral Dance, "Witchcraft as Goddess Religion", The Homeric Hymn to Demeter, and "the Descent of Inanna" and examine the pros and cons of the position that a return to goddess worship would save our planet.

Part One
Ecofeminisms
Ecofeminism is a multicultural perspective on the interconnectedness of social systems of domination and the domination of non-human nature. It recognizes the cultural and political links between ecology and feminism. Ecofeminism is a value system, a social movement, and a practice. It criticizes the mainstream green movement and challenges the fundamental ideas of the western patriarchy about women, nature science, and "development".
Ecofeminism is an admixture of ecology and feminism. A French feminist, Francoise d'Eaubonne, first used it in 1974 (Mellor, 1997 p. 44). Ecological feminism focuses on gender as a category of analysis and the perspectives of women are integral to its analysis, it is committed to the importance of valuing and preserving ecosystems. The movement recognizes all social systems of domination: racism, classicism, ageism, and sexism as interconnecting.
The world's dominant socioeconomic and political structure is the western patriarchal capitalism. The system is based on hierarchies of class, race, and gender and the domination and exploitation of nature. It is insensitive to social concepts of justice, equity, and freedom. Economic, political, and social structures, the world's dominant ideologies, and values support patriarchy. The belief in a universal reasonable man, and the reliance on modern science and technology enable white middle class men to dominate and exploit "others".
Patriarchy is a system of social structures and practices in which men dominate, oppress, and exploit women. It is based on an ideology of men's superiority over women/nature. The subordination takes various forms: discrimination, disregard, insult, control, exploitation, oppression, and violence. Science and religion support patriarchal assumptions of male superiority over nature and women as biologically determined. In pre-patriarchal, pagan societies, women and nature were worshiped as life-givers. In Christian belief, God creates man in his image, and women and nature for the benefit of man. "Adam is Soul, Eve is Flesh".
Ecological feminists (Gaard, Heller) argue that culture defines the connection of women and nature. Men are as much part of nature as women are. However, the patriarchal culture identifies women with body, sex, irrationality, passivity, and earth. It is decided that women are closer to nature. Men identify with spirit, mind, action, and power; they are rational, stable, reliable,...

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