Artworks around Ecofeminism

The relationship between nature and women has been reiterated by many artworks in the past which reinforces the concept of Ecofeminism. Ecofeminist art emerged in the 1970s in response to ecofeminist philosophy, which was particularly articulated by writers such as Carolyn Merchant & Val Plumwood. The main issues that Ecofeminism aims to address revolve around the effects of a “eurocentric capitalist patriarchal culture built on the domination of nature and the domination of women as nature.” The writer Luke Martell, in the Ecology and Society Journal, writes that “women” and “nature” are both victims of patriarchal abuse and “ideological products of the Enlightenment culture of control.”

Many books that have been written circle the concept of Ecofeminist to spread the ideology. Through her book, “Feminism & the mastery of nature,” Plumwood conveyed that while feminist theory so far has addressed oppressions of gender, race, and class, the oppression of nature is a missing and critical element of feminist thought. Using careful critique and synthesis, Plumwood offered a constructive & coherent ecological-feminist philosophy. Similarly, in “Woman and Nature: The Roaring Inside Her,” Susan Griffin explored the identification of women with the earth—both as sustenance for humanity and as a victim of male rage. Her analysis of how patriarchal Western philosophy and religion have used language and science to bolster their power over both women and nature is brilliant and persuasive, coming alive in poetic prose.

The concept of Ecofeminism is not only limited to books, but many documentaries have also been made to discuss this concept. In one such documentary, “Nature & Women,” a beautiful analogy has been drawn between nature and women. It talks about how mother nature gives us food to eat, air to breathe, water to drink, and land to live and in the same way women preserve life on earth. Women hold a unique position as a mother. They bring up the children with extreme care, teach them how to walk and talk, carry them on their strong shoulders, and sacrifice anything for others’ future. Women and nature have the capabilities to handle many responsibilities. In the documentary, they are compared to the wheels of the same carriage. Without them, the human species should cease to exist, and in return, humans should protect and respect them, but what humans give them back is destruction. Humans spoil a river when they need to save it; they exploit forests when they need to preserve it; pollute the air that they need to protect it, just like society and government fail to protect women. Society tends to ignore their needs and make them suffer from many forms of physical and sexual violence. Women & the environment both endure the consequences for actions caused by humans. 

In another documentary, Ecofeminism is purported as a possible lens through which one can view the current environmental crisis and states that Ecofeminism is much more than a term. It is a framework that seeks to combine, re-examine, and augment the environmental and feminist movements. Much more like any other theoretical framework, it has grown and evolves in the last 45 years. This documentary has explored the intersection of women and the environment using hierarchical thinking and oppositional dualisms. It talks about how culture establishes different groups as inherently more valuable than other groups, and that is the reason why men and women are not only seen as intrinsically different from each other but opposite. This idea is itself constructed because instead of being binary, gender exists on a spectrum. Similarly, in US culture, humans and nature are oppositional dualism. In most cases, cultural attitudes place more value on one side of the binary than the other setting the base of discrimination and injustice. It also highlights that nature is characterized as Feminine in phrases such as: “Mother Earth” or “Fertile Ground”. Thus, Ecofeminism helps to represent the violence directed at women and environment through language, hunting, domesticity, technology, and slavery

Ecofeminism argues that we must become a part of nature, living with and among it. We must recognize that nature is alive and breathing and work against the passivity surrounding it that is synonymous with the passive roles enforced upon women by patriarchal culture, politics, and capitalism. Change in our personality & outlook is required to achieve the desired state. Actions to save both women, as well as the environment, are to be taken from planting more trees to tackling climate change, buying less plastic to remove the unwanted trash, volunteering for clean-ups in the community in terms of physical garbage and mental garbage, standing up against any inhuman activity to save both environment and women. Empowerment of women and conservation of the environment are necessities for the development of every society.