Ecofeminism: what is it and what positions does this current of feminism defend?

Ecofeminism is one of the theoretical and practical currents generated in the 1970s, Which draws attention to how the economic development of dominant groups has fostered excessive exploitation of nature and how this particularly affects women.

It stems from something that many feminist movements question: dualisms, understood as pairs of opposites of unequal value that had their origin in patriarchal culture (e.g. body-mind, nature-culture, scientific knowledge) . -Traditional knowledge).

Ecofeminism pays special attention to the relationship between nature, women and the capitalist economy; and from there it allows the development of different currents within ecofeminism itself which made visible not only the exploitation of nature and women, but the differences between the oppression experienced by different women and natures. worldwide.

    Ecological awareness in feminism

    The emergence of ecofeminism was led by feminists who had a strong ecological conscience, and who they denounce that historically the patriarchal system has assimilated woman to natureWhat could have been an important position of power for women, but far from it ended up being devalued and exploited in the capitalist economy.

    That is: they question the use and exploitation of nature that has been promoted in patriarchal societies and advocate forging relationships with nature from a more feminine, more feminine position. close to the care and protection of living beings.

    Among the practices resulting from ecofeminism are, for example, promoting natural childbirth or extending breastfeeding; as well as the creation of empowering communities and women’s self-management, especially in countries with higher poverty rates.

    Some ecofeminism proposals

    Far from being a homogeneous current, ecofeminism has developed in itself different proposals which have allowed us to understand certain nuances in the experiences of subordination of women and their relationship to nature.

    1. Essentialist feminism

    Widely, essentialist ecofeminism is a current that values ​​maternal qualities to promote life and take care of nature, Considering these qualities as important to counter the ecological crisis.

    Part of a radical essentialism based on biological differentiation, where he says that what men lack the capacity to procreate makes them largely dependent on female care and that is their energy. He proposes that women should emancipate themselves from masculinity which is fundamentally aggressive and strengthen feminine strength through bonds between us.

    Critics of this feminism are its excessive biological essentialism, i.e. the assumption that men and women are determined and differentiated by our biological characteristics, which tends to demonize the masculine and can keep women segregated. .

    2. Spiritual feminism

    Spiritual feminism challenges the development ideal of first world countries, Because they say that it is “poor development” that causes injustice and exploitation especially to women and the nature of “underdeveloped countries”.

    Therefore, this ecofeminism proposal is currently one of the gaining strength in “developing” countries formerly called “the third world”.

    Spiritualist feminism considers the patriarchal social structure beyond what is purely masculine: it understands the patriarchy as a system which, among other things, places in women the management of food, the development of the child and the care of the environment in general; problems that are particularly exploited in the poorest countries.

    In this current, women’s access to the production of goods is sought by maintaining us as a source of control and balance of the environment and food development. In other words, it links the emancipation of women to ecological awareness and care practices.

    3. Ecological feminism

    In reaction to and criticism of the above propositions, ecological feminism emerges, noting that Ecofeminism had developed regardless of class differences or ethnicity that make women’s relationship with nature, as well as the exploitation of the patriarchal system, experienced in different ways.

    They propose that this system is not a homogeneous thing that affects all women equally, and focus the complaint not only on how the exploitation of nature particularly affects women, but that they assign responsibilities to groups that monopolize natural resources and to the growth of the capitalist economy.

    Bibliographical references:

    • Pascual, M. and Herrera, I. (2010). Ecofeminism, a proposal to rethink the present and build the future. OSCE Bulletin, 10: 1-7
    • Velasco, S. (2009). Gender, gender and health. Theory and methods for clinical practice and health programs. Minerva editions: Madrid

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