Ecofeminist On Abortion

Abortion. This is a tricky subject. Chances are, if you’re reading this right now, you know someone who has had experience with abortion. You may even have experience with abortion yourself. I myself have never experienced abortion, but it definitely is something I’ve given thought to in the past. That being said, I myself am pro-choice. 

 

I agree with Hawkin’s eco-feminist view on abortion. She states that abortion is crucial for limiting the human population which directly contributes to climate change and the degradation of our natural resources. This is so obviously true. Which is why it’s almost painful for me to remain objective on this matter. Just look at the data:

 

 “Worldwide, figures for 1986 show that, while the total population increased by 82 million, an estimated 54 million abortions were performed, around 26 million in the industrialized nations, and about 28 million in pooer countries. As a backup to contraception, abortion plays an important role in limiting the ecologically damaging effects of the human population in all part of the globe” (Hawkins 692). Can you imagine if those abortions were not performed? I’ll tell you: the population would have spiked to around 136 million. In other words, we’d be even MORE screwed than we already are in dealing with climate change and population control…

 

Hawkin’s view is undoubtedly eco-feminist, and I totally stand behind every word she wrote in her article. She focuses on the positive effects that abortion would have / does have on our environment and she’s not wrong. You just can’t deny it. If you need a little more convincing, take this data from populationeducation.org into account:

 

 “In just 50 years, the world’s population has more than doubled to over 7.4 billion people. That’s more than 7.4 billion bodies that need to be fed, clothed, and kept warm, all requiring a large amount of energy. Alongside this consumption, these 7.4 billion people are also producing vast quantities of waste. Consequently, the demand for energy and the production of waste are significant producers of greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. The impacts of climate change are significant across the globe and its effects are already beginning to take place in different communities to different degrees” (Katie Luoma). This is concrete evidence that the population has a direct and harmful impact on the environment, and is a huge perpetuator of climate change. This is also why I agree with Hawkin’s view on abortion. 

 

Of course, this eco-feminist view on abortion is a little different from the traditional feminist view on abortion. But that doesn’t make it any less relevant. The traditional feminist view on abortion is one that we’re all familiar with: a woman needs and deserves the right to a safe, legal, and accessible abortion. Why? Because she just does. She deserves to have the same exact opportunity in life to succeed and carry out her dreams just as a man does. Without the underlying fear that at any time, an unwanted / unexpected pregnancy could come along and “derail them for life.” This view focuses more on the individual woman rather than the environment as a whole. However, there are similarities. 

Jessica Valenti’s article offers some insight which in my opinion, perfectly describe the traditional feminist view regarding abortion. She states that the pro life movement is “anti-woman”, and even refers to the side as “anti-choice.” Well said, Jessica. Well said. She then goes onto quote Katha Pollitt from her book “Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights” She says, Society benefits when women can commit to education and work and dreams without having at the back of their mind that maybe it’s all provisional, because at any moment an accidental pregnancy could derail them for life” (Pollitt). This relates to society as whole in saying that if women aren’t able to get abortions, it’ll essentially be harder for them to contribute to society or do their part if, God firbid, they get pregnant. This ties into the eco-feminist view because it refers to the greater good of society, and thus, the environment. 

 

Women need safe, legal, and accessible abortion rights in order to contribute to the environment. This is why abortion is such an important, eco-feminist topic. Hawkin’s ends her article by saying, “At the present time, recognition of our connectedness with all other life on the planet reinforces the need for abortion. When the interests of life in this larger sense are taken into consideration, the pro choice position is the one most deserving of the adjective “pro life” (Hawkins 693). This quote really spoke to me because it puts abortion and the idea of “pro life” into a much larger perspective. It puts it into a perspective of saving our planet and having true respect and consideration for all living things that are currently inhabiting the planet. Even though this eco-feminist idea is different from the traditional feminist idea of abortion, both are extremely important.

 

 

Works Cited

 

Valenti, Jessica. “Abortion Isn’t about the Right to Privacy. It’s about Women’s Right to Equality | Jessica Valenti.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 14 Oct. 2014, www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/oct/14/abortion-right-to-privacy-women-right-to-equality

 

Hawkins, Zoe Ronnie. “Reproductive Choices: The Ecological Dimension” https://umassd.umassonline.net/bbcswebdav/pid-1486130-dt-content-rid-14847523_1/courses/D2930-12852_MASTER/Scanned%20from%20a%20Xerox%20multifunction%20device001%282%29.pdf 

 

Annotated Resource

 

Luoma, Katie. “How Does Population Growth Impact Climate Change?” Population Education, 20 Dec. 2019, populationeducation.org/how-does-population-growth-impact-climate-change/. 

 

This source helped me to find details about climate change and how it is linked to the population, which helped me to further prove my point in reasoning why I agree with Hawkin’s eco-feminist view on abortion.

 

Women Aren’t “Just a Piece of Meat”

When I first saw the pictures from Carol Adam’s website, I wasn’t shocked. A lot of these pictures I’ve seen before, whether it be on TV, magazines, or even anywhere on the internet: ads, youtube videos.. It’s hard not to become desensitized. However, when I read Adam’s interview, I felt a number of negative emotions: uncomfortable, sad, and just downright angry. The type of horrid misogyny that is so casually utilized in the meat industry is sickening and just terrifying. If we keep allowing these messages to be constantly advertised to our kids, what kind of example are we setting for how to treat / think of women? I get that free speech is a thing and trust me, it’s important. However, I think that the only solution to this problem is education. 

 

Here’s the first picture I chose to analyze:

As you can see, it’s pretty weird. It’s a picture of Ludacris holding a women’s leg, pretending to eat her leg, and sprinkling salt on it as if it were his dinner. This picture makes me feel weird, man. As a woman, I really feel as though the intention of this image is to draw sexual innuendos to the (likely straight, cisgendered, male) viewer. Images or ads like this one are almost always created for / intended for male gaze. This feels very much like Ludacris is trying to make himself seem manly, cool, and dominant through attempts to show sexual male prowess – which is something that is so very encouraged and celebrated within the male community (much different from how women are depicted as sluts whores, and “asking for it” if we ever DARE show off our sexual prowess…). This image of Ludacris gives off the message, for me at least, that this woman and or women in general are his for the taking. That he can have and has entitlement to women’s bodies as some sort of primal right. Much like some people feel as though eating meat is their primal right. This image reminds me of Adam’s quote from her interview when she said “Meat eating is associated with masculinity. Meat eating societies gain male identification by their choice of food” (Adams 13). 

Here is the second picture I chose to analyze:

 

It’s not too hard to see what’s being said here. The artist of these lovely pins is referring to Hillary Clinton as a chicken, but not in a nice way. “KFC Hillary Special: 2 fat thighs, 2 small breasts … left wing.” Elegant, right? This is extremely and intentionally derogatory towards a woman in a position of such high political influence as Hillary Clinton. Yet, another attempt to shame and scare women out of positions of power, while also sexualizing them… The consumers here are straight cisgendered men, but also conservatives who are usually also straight, cisgendered men. The consumed, is obviously in this case, Hillary Clinton. But this also goes for all other women who dare have a voice or speak out or be in positions of power. I can’t help but feel that this image sends the message that women are just meant to have nice breasts and thighs, and not have an opinion on anything because they are there to serve men, much like how a chicken would be thought. 

 

Here is the final image I chose to analyze from Carol Adam’s website:


Okay, this is just horrible. So horrible, that it’s actually laughable. Who thinks it’s cool to post stuff like this??? Here, women are being compared to actual pieces of meat to be consumed. Desirable for “big breasts” and just willing to participate in sex whenever the men want it. Just as animals are only meant to be slaughtered and eaten / consumed whenever desired.Here, the sexualization of women and non-human animals go hand-in-hand. Once again, consumer: straight, cisgendered men & consumed: women. I feel like this image gives more of a message of “animal’s lives do not matter, and neither do women’s.” It’s actually kind of disgusting. This is directly correlating to Adam’s POV “women are animalized, and animals are sexualized and feminized” (Adams 13). 

 

An image I’ve selected from the internet is this:

This is pretty self explanatory. The woman in the picture is being compared to a pig by having her body parts labeled like a pig would before it is eaten. This sends the direct message that women are consumable to straight men, and so are pigs (as are other animals). This is an AD for vegetarianism by PETA, but they really failed to consider the oppression and objectification of women, not just the oppression / objectification of non-human animals. 

 

Sources

 

Potts, Annie, and Carol J Adams. “THE POLITICS OF CAROL J. ADAMS.” ANTENNAE , 2010. The Politics of Meat

 

“Examples of The Sexual Politics of Meat.” Carol J. Adams, https://caroljadams.com/examples-of-spom/ 

 

Annotated Source

 

“Women Portrayed as Animals/Beasts.” Women Portrayed as Animals/Beasts – Ferris State University, www.ferris.edu/moso/objectification/womenasanimals/index.htm

 

This website of Ferris State University presented another image for me to reference in my post about the way women and animals are oppressed and degraded. The website also comments on how the specific image/advertisement promotes the idea that women are “just a piece of meat” which directly correlates to the blog prompt.

 

There’s a Place for EcoFeminism… & it’s Everyplace

“Connecting is being. Being is connecting. That’s what IS. Connecting describes the Universe. Connecting describes us. The experience of connecting is full alive-ness. Full alive-ness and wonder. The felt experience of connecting is the desire behind all desires. Not having it is the fear behind all fears.” – Harville Hendrix. 

 

I heard this quote a few days ago from @queercosmos on instagram when he was describing this Mercury Retrograde in Pisces (shoutout to all my pisces out there!). This quote comes from a program called “Safe Conversations” facilitated by Dr. Harville Hendrix and his wife, Dr. Helen LaKelly Hunt. When I heard this, it immediately reminded me of this week’s topic of understanding place in terms of Eco Feminism and this idea of a “bedrock of democracy which Terry Tempest Williams speaks about. This idea of connection is crucial to our identity as a society and as individuals and also to being aware and conscious of how we treat the Earth, our home, as well as one another. 

 

Now, I know what you’re thinking. This quote offers a lot to unpack on a Monday morning at 8am, or really, anytime of day… BUT:  it is worth it. Before you click away and decide that you don’t have the brain power to dissect this, allow me! 

 

“Connecting is being, and being is connecting. That’s what IS” – (not too hard, right?) As human beings, we need to feel connected to one another, to our environment, in order to feel psychologically okay. This is actually a scientific fact stated within Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs:

maslow’s hierarchy of needs

Did you find it? The key word is “connection.”  Connection is considered a basic human need which fulfills love and belonging. 

At the end of the day, all we really want as people is to be loved, to be happy, and to feel connected. This idea pretty much sums up the entire quote. If you can grasp that idea (which I’m almost positive you do since you are a human being), you can understand this quote. Which leads me into the next major theme here – understanding place

 

I grew up and currently live in New Bedford Massachusetts, about a 45 minute drive from Boston. I love Boston. I love it so much. Even though I was not born in Boston nor do I currently live there, I love Boston and everything it has to offer. I love the people, the hustle and bustle of the city, the sounds of the city and the people and the cars going by, I love the way the sun sets over all the skyscrapers and how pretty the water looks at dusk, how all the lights look at night… you get the gist. I truly believe that even if you live in the city, you can experience the bedrock of Democracy. Sure, it’s nice to live in the mountains / wilderness, if that’s your thing – but we simply cannot forget the city. 

 

The point I’m trying to make is that Boston inspires me, & I even hope to move there one day. I feel as though Boston truly informs who I am and carries my soul’s history. I resonate with Boston and the constant, flowing, and almost electric energy I feel whenever I am there. We have the opportunity to truly improve where we live, whether it be Boston or the mountains of Colorado. 

(image credit to reddit user u/chelsaeyr)

 

Williams says, “I choose to err on the side of preservation, and stand shoulder to shoulder with brothers and sisters… Each of us belongs to a particular landscape, one that informs who we are, a place that carries our history, our dreams… in each of these places, home work is required, a partici

pation in public life to make certain all is not destroyed… we cannot do it alone. This is the hope of a bedrock democracy, standing our ground in the places we love, together” (Williams 18-19). This sums up the whole point of taking care of the place we dwell in order to preserve and lift one another up. How can we expect to reap the benefits of where we are if we do not show that place respect and appreciation? This means not littering, people. We need to make sure that we are also respecting one another in this process, too. Because how can we get anywhere if everyone is just mean and miserable to each other? 

 

I do agree with Kingsolver that we need wilderness, but not in the way that she seems to represent it. I feel like Kingsolver paints this picture of the ‘wilderness’ (which in her case, is a log cabin in a rural place in Southern Appalachia) as a type of all-knowing paradise in which she is a glowing goddess of nature and of femininity. If this is what makes her happy, great. I think it’s important for us to step away from our day to day lives and make time for travel so we can see other parts of the world, or the ‘wilderness.’ However, I believe that this type of peace, abundance, and appreciation can be felt and created anywhere you are in the world – and this comes from love, respect, and appreciation for our environment, each other, and ourselves.

 

 Or should I say, connection. 

 

Works Cited

 

Kingslover, Barbara., Knowing our Place

http://www.pbs.org/now/printable/transcript_smallwonder_print.html 

 

Williams, Terry Tempest. Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert. Pantheon Books, 2002.

 

McLeod, Saul., Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html 

 

Annotated Bibliography

 

This article written by Saul McLeod helped me to define certain aspects of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, a theory of fundamental things that humans need in their lives in order to be psychologically, physically, and emotionally sound. I used this article to prove my point that humans need connection to themselves, and to their society and peers in order to thrive in life. This article goes into depth about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and the different tiers as well as what makes up those tiers. Saul McLeod is a teaching assistant in the field of psychology as well as a published researcher for The University of Manchester, Division of Neuroscience & Experimental Psychology. McLeod holds a psychology degree as well as a masters degree in research.

 

Eco Feminism? Pt. II

One of the biggest concerns for an eco feminist should be those of the women who are not as fortunate or as privlleged as one is here in America, or even like myself, or even like you (the person reading this right now! You!). And to make the term “ecofeminism” more true to its name, I am here to tell you that the environment plays a huge part in this too. More specifically, women in the Global South (aka Africa) are affected by environmental degradation. More specifically, the scarcity of water – not to mention clean water… 

 

This poses an issue for women specifically for three main reasons:

 

  1. In low income countries, women / girls are responsible for getting water for the household. This is described as a very time consuming, and tedious process. 
  2. Women / girls are a lot more vulnerable to attackers or abusers on their way to a public toilet site.
  3. Menstruation. Pregnancy. Childbirth. These are all things that require adequate amounts of clean water. Obviously. 

 

 Can you imagine being attacked on your way to the bathroom? Can you imagine not having enough (CLEAN) water to drink, or to keep clean and safe with? Not only is this an ecofeminist issue, this is a human rights issue. And quite frankly, a crisis. As eco feminists we need to do more to ensure our fellow women, our fellow human beings are taken care of no matter where they are in the world. There is absolutely no picking and choosing when it comes to equality and intersectional feminism. 

 

One thing that immediately struck my attention that is the same for both Western and non-Western views of ecofeminism is this idea of ‘dominion over nature, therefore dominion over women.’ (this is something that is also referred to by Warren and Hobgood-Oster). I believe that women, yes are connected with nature. And until we stop degrading nature and disrespecting the environment, women will continue to be disrespected and degraded as well. However, Agarwal argues on the account of this woman / nature ideology that “such a formulation flies in the face of wide-ranging evidence that concepts of nature, culture, gender, and so on, are historically and socially constructed and vary across and within cultures and time periods” (Agarwal 123). It seems that Agarwal is trying to say here that there is evidence proving that women are not the only ones who have been compared to nature, and that this can vary through different time periods and cultures. 

 

I feel as though Warren’s perspective is more interesting to me because I strongly agree that women are seen as integrated with nature and are expected to behave a certain way that pertains to the adjectives used to describe “mother” nature such as soft, beautiful, or gentle. I think that so many times, women are thought to be like “mother nature” and be nurturing by going through the process (of what can be painful, traumatic, and often dangerous) of pregnancy and childbirth, breast feeding, and staying home to take care of the children. And if a woman decides not to do this, she is shamed and called selfish and is apparently not ‘doing her duty as a woman.’ The truth is that women are supposed to be much more than mothers. We are mothers to OURSELVES first and we should never feel bad for doing whatever the heck we want – and if this means having kids and staying home, great; if this means not having kids and focusing on ourselves and our relationships, great. That is why I so strongly identify with Warren’s view of Ecofeminism!

 

Works Cited

 

UN-Water. “Gender: UN-Water.” UN, www.unwater.org/water-facts/gender/.

 

Agarwal, Bina. “The Gender and Environment Debate: Lessons from India.” Feminist Studies, vol. 18, no. 1, 1992, p. 119., doi:10.2307/3178217.

 

What is Eco Feminism and Who is It For?

Spoiler alert: Eco Feminism is for everyone – people of all genders, races, sexual orientations, and ethnicities.  

 

Hobgood-Oster that Eco feminism “asserts that all forms of oppression are connected and that structures of oppression must be addressed in their totality” and that “Oppression of the natural world and of women by patriarchal power structures must be examined together or neither can be confronted fully”. In other words, Eco Feminism is meant to address and dismantle all forms of oppression and that if one area of oppression is not confronted, then other forms of oppression will not be able to be fully eradicated either. 

 

Ecofeminism is not just the idea of women’s empowerment and women’s liberation, but rather it is that, and also the empowerment and liberation of all those who suffer from racism, sexism, naturism, classism, and heterosexism. Hobgood-Oster asserts that all of these issues of oppression are all intertwined. The very heart of ecofeminism can be seen in this image:

Here, you can see that there are individuals of all races and genders coming together. The term ‘intersectional feminism’ I think is a great way to define what eco feminism is! Intersectional is another term meaning the inclusion of those who would be more than often left out of mainstream, cookie cutter feminism such as the disabled, PoC, and trans women. 

 

If reading books bores, you can easily learn what eco feminism is by curling up on the couch and watching a movie! Moana (2016) was a breakthrough Disney film featuring not only a princess of color, but environmental issues as well. Jen Yamato of The Daily Beast describes the film more adequately than I could saying, “The film follows Moana … the daughter of a chief who’s always been told she’ll one day lead her people. Forbidden from venturing into the vast ocean that calls to her, she struggles to contain the yearning to go beyond her world. But when ecological decay starts devastating their only food sources and threatening the future of the island, she defies her father and leaves behind the safety of her home in order to save it from ruin” (Yamato). Yamato also notes that Moana could not have come at a better time, in the midst of the presidential election of Donald Trump. Let’s face it: us feminists NEEDED that empowerment. It is crucial especially for young girls to have a role model to look up to ESPECIALLY in a time where the leader of our country is openly and blatantly misogynistic in his views and the laws he (attempts to) establish… 

 

Works Cited

 

Hobgood-Oster, Laura. Ecofeminism: Historic and International Evolution . 18 Aug. 2002.

 

Yamato, Jen. “The Revolutionary ‘Moana’: Disney’s Most Unapologetically Feminist Princess Yet.” The Daily Beast, The Daily Beast Company, 23 Nov. 2016, www.thedailybeast.com/the-revolutionary-moana-disneys-most-unapologetically-feminist-princess-yet.

 

About me

Hi everyone! My name is Jamie. I’m a sophomore English communications major at Umass Dartmouth from New Bedford Massachusetts.

I’m studying Eco Feminism / Women and Gender Studies because I feel very passionate about intersectional feminism and true equality for all. It’s the core of what we need for a society that is efficient and just.  I am eager to expand my knowledge in this area of society as it’s really important!

One blogger that caught my eye was “Angry Girl Feminist.” I was immediately drawn to her name and it stood out to me the most because of it’s originality to all the other blogpost titles and users. Her article:  “Looking for Mr. Goodbar” was intriguing because of the passion that was so clear in her writing. I liked her introduction which gave a preface to the history of women’s oppression through gender roles in society. This same passion and knowledge is something I would like to portray within my own writing.

However, one thing I had an issue with in this article is AngryGirl’s negatively connotated usage of the term “homosexual.” Prejudice or homophobia of any kind is something  that I will absolutely steer clear of in my writing (obviously).

One environmental issue that is relevant to where I live, as well as anywhere in the world, is climate change. Climate change is a huge threat to society and to the world as we all know it, and it’s only getting worse. Scientists say that we have until 2030 to reverse the damage before it is too late – and we will face severe consequences. I would like to see more activism about climate change not just where I live, but also everywhere in the world.