Ecofeminism: Why Connection Is Essential To End Oppression
A little over a year ago I finally found what was missing from every movement fighting against any kind of oppression: connection. Through ecofeminism – a philosophy linking feminism and ecology – I started to understand oppression through connection. If we explore the connections between different experiences of exclusion and injustice we can break away from behaviours that perpetrate the oppression of men over women and of man over nature. Any movement failing to recognise the struggle of other movements will only maintain the oppression that is embedded in our society.
Ecofeminism explains that all oppression is linked to our deepest need to dominate nature and to take control of that which we do not understand and what is different and unknown. We have separated ourselves from all other living beings on planet Earth. In Greek mythology, the creatures once worshipped as divine, were transformed into beasts and monsters to be slayed by heroes saving damsels in distress. These dichotomies of them and us evolved into the foundation of hierarchical power that enables humans to oppress animals to satisfy eating habits and exploit nature as a resource to obtain economic benefits. Nature becomes just the raw material out of which human culture and masculine norms are formed in opposition against.
The division in today’s societies will not be overcome until we address all dominant ‘-isms’ and stop treating our environment as an object to be exploited as a means to an end. If we wish to fuel change and stop the destruction of our communities and the planet, we must begin to understand the connection between different forms of oppression and begin to analyse injustices in unison. Ecofeminism has helped me understand the relation between patriarchal violence against women, other people and nature. As Ynestra King explains, ecofeminism is about wholeness, connectedness between theory and practice: ‘It asserts the special the special strength and integrity of every living thing.’ It is now clear to me that we must move beyond our own individual struggles and embrace our diversity in creating a coalition of movements that addresses all oppression.
Andrea Barboza, Guest Blogger