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Patriarchal frameworks perpetuate the dominations of women and nature

Warren 1991 -- author, scholar, and former Professor and Chair of Philosophy at Macalester College

(Karen, Introduction to Ecofeminism,

1. Historical, Typically Causal, Connections. One alleged connection between women and nature is historical. When historical data are used to generate theories concerning the sources of the dominations of women and nature, it is also causal. So pervasive is the historical-causal theme in ecofeminist writing that Ariel Salleh practically defines ecofeminism in terms of it: "Eco-feminism is a recent development in feminist thought which argues that the current global environmental crisis is a predictable outcome of patriarchal culture" (Salleh 1988).¶ What are these alleged historical-causal connections? Some ecofeminists (e.g., Spretnak 1990; Eisler 1988, 1990) trace these connections to prototypical patterns of domination begun with the invasion of Indo-European societies by nomadic tribes from Eurasia about 4500 B.C. (see Lahar 1991, 33). Riane Eisler describes the time before these invasions as a "matrifocal, matrilineal, peaceful agrarian era." Others (e g., Griffin 1978; Plumwood 1991, this section; Ruether 1974) trace historical connections to patriarchal dualisms and conceptions of rationality in classical Greek philosophy and the rationalist tradition. Still other feminists (e g., Merchant 1980, this section focus on cultural and scientific changes that occurred more recently--during the scientific revolution of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: it was then that an older world order characterized by cooperation between humans and nature was replaced by a reductionist, "mechanistic world view of modern science," which sanctioned the exploitation of nature, unchecked commercial and industrial expansion, and the subordination of women.¶ What prompts and explains these alleged historical and causal woman-nature connections? What else was in place to permit and sanction these twin dominations? To answer these questions, ecofeminists have turned to the conceptual props that they claim keep these historical dominations in place.¶ 2. Conceptual Connections. Many authors have argued that, ultimately, historical and causal links between the dominations of women and nature are located in conceptual structures of domination that construct women and nature in male-biased ways. Basically three such conceptual links have been offered.¶ One account locates a conceptual basis of the twin dominations of women and nature in value dualisms, i.e., in disjunctive pairs in which the disjuncts are seen as oppositional (rather than as complementary) and as exclusive (rather than as inclusive), and value hierarchies, i.e., perceptions of diversity organized by a spatial Up-Down metaphor, which attributes higher value (status, prestige) to that which is higher ("Up") (see Gray 1981; Griffin 1978, Plumwood 1991, this section; Ruether 1974). Frequently cited examples of these hierarchically organized value dualisms include reason/emotion, mind/body, culture/nature, human/nature, and man/woman dichotomies. These theorists argue that whatever is historically associated with emotion, body, nature, and women is regarded as inferior to that which is (historically) associated with reason, mind, culture, human (i.e., male) and men.¶ A second account expands on the first by housing the problematic value dualisms and value hierarchies in larger, oppressive conceptual frameworks--ones that are common to all social "isms of domination" (e.g., sexism, racism, classism, heterosexism as well as "naturism," i.e., the unjustified domination of nonhuman nature (see Warren 1987,1988, 1990, this section) A conceptual framework is a socially constructed set of basic beliefs, values, attitudes and assumptions that shapes and reflects how one views oneself and others. It is oppressive when it explains, justifies, and maintains relationships of domination and subordination. An oppressive conceptual framework is patriarchal when it explains, justifies, and maintains the subordination of women by men.¶ Oppressive and patriarchal conceptual frameworks are characterized not only by value dualisms and hierarchies but also by "power-over " conceptions of power and relationships of domination (Warren 1991b) and a logic of domination, i.e., a structure of argumentation that provides the moral premise that superiority justifies subordination (Warren 1987, 1990, this section). On this view, it is oppressive and patriarchal conceptual frameworks, and the behaviors that they give rise to, that sanction, maintain, and perpetuate the twin dominations of women and nature.¶ A third account locates a conceptual basis in sex-gender differences, particularly in differentiated personality formation or consciousness (see Cheney 1987; Gray 1981; Salleh, 1984). The claim is that female bodily experiences (e.g., of reproduction and childbearing), not female biology per se, situate women differently with respect to nature than men. This sex-gender difference is (allegedly) revealed in a different consciousness in women than men toward nature; lt is rooted conceptually in "paradigms that are uncritically oriented to the dominant western masculine forms of experiencing the world: the analytic, non-related, delightfully called 'objective' or 'scientific' approaches" (Salleh 1988, 130)--just those value dualisms that are claimed to separate and inferiorize what is historically female-gender identified. These sociopsychological factors provide a conceptual link insofar as they are embedded in different conceptualization structures and strategies ("different ways of knowing"), coping strategies and ways of relating to nature for women and men. A goal of ecofeminism then, is to develop gender-sensitive language, theory, and practices that do not further the exploitative experiences and habits of dissociated, male-gender identified culture toward women and nature. One project of ecofeminism is to expose and dismantle the conceptual structures of domination which have kept various "isms of domination," particularly the dominations of women and nature, in place. If ecofeminists who allege various conceptual woman-nature connections are correct, this will involve reconceiving those mainstay philosophical notions which rely on them (e.g., notions of reason and rationality, knowledge, objectivity, ethics, and the knowing, moral self).

Empirics and the language used to describe women and nature justify the domination of both

Warren 1991 -- author, scholar, and former Professor and Chair of Philosophy at Macalester College

(Karen, Introduction to Ecofeminism,

Empirical and Experiential Connections. Many ecofeminists have focused on uncovering empirical evidence linking women (and children, people of color, the underclass) with environmental destruction. Some point to various health and risk factors borne disproportionately by women children, racial minorities and the poor caused by the presence of low-level radiation, pesticides, toxics, and other pollutants (e.g., Caldecott and Leland 1983; Salleh 1990, this section; Shiva 1988; Warren 1991a). Others provide data to show that First World development policies result in policies and practices regarding food, forest, and water, which directly contribute to the inability of women to provide adequately for themselves and their families (e.g., Mies 1986; Shiva 1988; Warren 1988, 1989 1991a). Feminist animal rights scholars argue that factory farming, animal experimentation, hunting, and meat eating are tied to patriarchal concepts and practices (e.g., Adams 1990, 1991; Kheel 1985; Slicer 1991). Some connect rape and pornography with male-gender identified abuse of both women and nature (e.g., Collard with Contrucci 1988; Griffin 1981). Appeal to such empirical data is intended both to document the very real, felt, lived "experiential" connections between the dominations of women and nature and to motivate the need for joining together feminist critical analysis and environmental concerns.¶ Sometimes, however, the empirical and experiential connections between women and nature are intended to reveal important cultural and spiritual ties to the earth honored and celebrated by (some) women and indigenous peoples. This suggests that some woman-nature connections are features of important symbol systems.¶ 4. Symbolic Connections. Some ecofeminists have explored the symbolic association and devaluation of women and nature that appears in religion, theology, art, and literature. Documenting such connections and making them integral to the project of ecofeminism is often heralded as ecofeminism's most promising contribution to the creation of liberating, life-affirming, and post patriarchal worldviews and earth-based spiritualities or theologies. Ecofeminism is then presented as offering alternative spiritual symbols (e.g., Gaia and goddess symbols), spiritualities or theologies, and even utopian societies (e.g., see Gearhart). Appreciating such symbolic woman-nature connections involves understanding "the politics of women's spirituality" (Spretnak 1981).¶ Some ecofeminist theorists draw on literature, particularly "nature writing," to unpack the nature of the woman-nature linguistic symbolic connections (see Bell 1988; Kolodny 1975; Murphy 1988, 1991). Literary criticism of the sort offered by Patrick Murphy claims that patriarchal conceptions of nature and women have justified "a two-pronged rape and domination of the earth and the women who live on it" (Murphy 1988, 87), often using this as background for developing an ecofeminist literary theory (Murphy 1991).¶ Some theorists focus on language, particularly the symbolic connections between sexist and naturist language, i.e., language that inferiorizes women and nonhuman nature by naturalizing women and feminizing nature. For example, there are concerns about whether sex-gendered language used to describe "Mother Nature" is, in Ynestra King's words, "potentially liberating or simply a rationale for the continued subordination of women" (Y. King 1981). There are concerns about connections between the languages used to describe women, nature, and nuclear weaponry (see Cahn 1989; Strange 1989). Women are often describe in animal terms (e.g., as cows, foxes, chicks, serpents, bitches, beavers, old bats, pussycats, cats, bird-brains, hare-brains). Nature is often described in female and sexual terms: nature is raped, mastered, conquered, controlled, mined. Her "secrets" are "penetrated" and her "womb" is put into the services of the "man of science." "Virgin timber" is felled, cut down. "Fertile soil" is tilled and land that lies "fallow" is "barren," useless. The claim is that language that so feminizes nature and naturalizes women describes, reflects, and perpetuates the domination and inferiorization of both by failing to see the extent to which the twin dominations of women and nature (including animals) are, in fact, culturally (and not merely figuratively) analogous. The development of theory and praxis in feminism and environmental philosophy that does not perpetuate such sexist-naturist language and the power over systems of domination they reinforce is, therefore, a goal of ecofeminism.

The scientific revolution sanctioned the exploitation of nature and the subordination of women

Warren 1991 -- author, scholar, and former Professor and Chair of Philosophy at Macalester College

(Karen, Introduction to Ecofeminism,

Historian of environmental science Carolyn Merchant published her highly influential book The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology and the Scientific Revolution in 1980. In it she argues that prior to the seventeenth century, nature was conceived on an organic model as a benevolent female and a nurturing mother; after the scientific revolution, nature was conceived on a mechanistic model as (mere) machine, inert, dead. On both models, nature was female. Merchant argues that the move from the organic to the mechanistic model permitted the justified exploitation of the (female) earth, by removing the sorts of barriers to such treatment that the metaphor of nature as alive previously prevented; the mechanistic worldview of modern science sanctioned the exploitation of nature, unrestrained commercial expansion, and socioeconomic conditions that perpetuated the subordination of women. The Death of Nature wove together scholarly material from politics, art, literature, physics, technology, philosophy and popular culture to show how this mechanistic worldvlew replaced an older, organic worldview, which provided gendered moral restraints on how one treated nature.¶ The essay by Merchant which appears in this section, "The Death of Nature," is culled from The Death of Nature. This essay represents an edited version of the philosophically significant aspects of Merchant's main argument in The Death of Nature; it sidesteps some of the more technical, literary, or scientific specifics that receive extensive attention in the book. Inclusion of the Merchant essay in this section ensures representation of an early and classic, although not universally accepted (see Plumwood 1986), historical ecofeminist position on the patriarchal source of the domination of nature.¶ In "Nature, Self, and Gender: Feminism, Environmental Philosophy, and the Critique of Rationalism," Val Plumwood argues that the key to woman-nature connections in the Western world is found in "rationalism," that long-standing philosophical tradition that affirms the human/nature dichotomy and a network of other related dualisms (e.g., masculine/femiine, reason/emotion, spirit/body) and offers an account of the human self as masculine and centered around rationality to the exclusion of its contrasts (especially characteristics regarded as feminine, animal, or natural). Plumwood criticizes both deep ecology and environmental philosophy generally for missing entirely the ecofeminist critique that "anthropocentrism and androcentrism are linked." She claims,¶ ¶ The failure to observe such connections is the result of an inadequate historical analysis and understanding of the way in which the inferiorization of both women and nature is grounded in rationalism, and the connections of both to the inferiorizing of the body, hierarchical concepts of labor, and disembedded and individualist accounts of the self.

Economy Link

Calls for increased economic growth are intrinsically exploitative of women.

Mellor ’96 [Mary, professor of social science at Northumbria University. “THE POLITICS OF WOMEN AND NATURE: AFFINITY, CONTINGENCY OR MATERIAL RELATION?”]

For Merchant socialist ecofeminism sees environmental problems as 'rooted in the rise of capitalist patriarchy and the ideology that the Earth and nature can be exploited for human progress through technology'.[ 64] The basic source of the problem is the sexual division of labour as humanity tries to divorce itself from nature through the productive system. Men predominate in the sphere of commodified production while the domestic sphere is serviced by women's unpaid labour. As a result, both women and men become alienated from each other and from their labour. The productive process itself is alienated from the natural world. The natural world is, in turn, transformed, eroded and polluted in the course of production for profit. Even so, the natural world remains the basis of human life. Nature is therefore both the necessary basis of human life and the result of historical and social forces. It is both a `natural' and a social construct. The same is true for gender. It is created both by biology and social practices.[ 65] Socialist ecofeminism therefore sees both the natural world and the human world as active agents, as material forces. Ecological and biological conditions, social production and reproduction are all forces creating and shaping human society. What is required, therefore, is a multilevelled structural analysis that sees a dialectical relationship between production and reproduction as well as between society and nature.[ 66] Socialist ecofeminism steers a course between a natural conception of `nature' and the idea of social construction as well as between patriarchy and capitalism as systems of exploitation.

Science Link

The affirmatives science view is masculine in nature and allows for the domination of women, increasing poverty and natural destruction, global violence and repression of life.

Nhanenge 7 – Master of Arts at the development studies at the University of South Africa

(Jytte “Ecofeminism: Towards Integrating the concerns of women,, poor people and nature into development”

The political links focus on social and scientific changes that took place in Europe in the 16th and 17th century. The modem world-view, which evolved as from that time on, specifically sanctioned the domination of women, Others and nature. This perception of reality has persisted up to date. It has also been successful in penetrating almost every corner of the globe, often via its activities of development and progress. Understanding the foundation of science and its inherent values is therefore of acute importance and highly relevant when it comes to grasping an ecofeminist discussion of development issues. This is based on the assumption that if the foundation of a system is dominant, then it must follows that the system in itself also will contain elements of domination. The critique of science presented here is therefore not meant as a goal in in itself. It is rather an essential and necessary foundation to chapter 6, which discusses ecofeminism and development. Consequently, Western science together with its economic framework and modem technology were the three pillars on which mainstream development came to rest. However, since science is based on a dualist ideology that focus on power and control of the yang force over the yin force, development became dominant towards women, Others and nature. In this way, an ecofeminist analysis of science may be able to explain, at least in part ,the reasons why development through 60 years of efforts failed to solve pressing social problems in the South. Rather than being the solution to the four crises, science, economics and modem technology have become the main causes of increased poverty, intensified natural destruction, and the escalation of global war, violence and human repression.

Tech Links

The use of technology and engineering reinforces the gendered dichotomies

Faulkner 2k Science Studies Unit, Universtiy of Edinburgh

(Wendy. “The Technology Question in Feminism” a paper for publication in Women’s Studies International Forum, June 2000)

One obvious stream within feminist scholarship on technology concerns ‘women in technology’, most commonly the question ‘why so few?’ women in engineering. Despite nearly two decades of government and industry backed 'women into engineering' campaigns, the numbers entering engineering are still derisory in most countries, even compared with those going into science. Quite apart from any discrimination or discouragement they may face, most girls and young women are voting with their feet: it doesn't occur to them to get into either craft or professional engineering; they just aren't interested. The virtual failure of these initiatives indicates to me a failure to analyze critically the ways in which technology itself gets gendered in the eyes of would be technologists. In particular, I believe the continued male dominance of engineering is due in large measure to the enduring symbolic association of masculinity and technology by which cultural images and representations of technology converge with prevailing images of masculinity and power (eg, Caputi, 1988; Burfoot, 1996; Basalmo, 1998). Yet, consistent with the liberal feminist tradition, the 'women in technology' literature and campaigns view technology as gender neutral and as unequivocally 'a good thing' which women would enter into if only early socialization (e.g., to play with mechanical toys) and workplace structures (e.g., concerning childcare) were changed (Henwood, 1996).

Technology is created for economic incentives which leads to suffering via pollution. That excludes feminine values because it ignores the potentially devastating effects.

Nhanenge 7 – Master of Arts at the development studies at the University of South Africa

(Jytte “Ecofeminism: Towards Integrating the concerns of women,, poor people and nature into development”

Modem technology is the means to generate economic profit. Since the greed of the Ups is pressing, the need to generate more wealth is urgent. This means that technologies commonly are developed in a rush, without careful consideration about the effects from its application. The result is that modem technology often causes pollution of both society and nature. This leads to serious suffering on the part of women, Others and nature. The rational individuals may notice these effects but since the priority is of economic profit making and the Downs anyway are considered of a lower value, the polluting activities are rationalized away as being necessary for the benefit of all. The rational individual has consequently no human empathy for the pain and suffering his activities are causing the dualised other. The reason for this is straightforward and simple: Human emotions of empathy, care and concern are feminine values, which are seen as being soft, naive, unimportant and disgraceful in the hard, rational, masculine, competitive, individual world.

Nuclear Parlance

Nuclear parlance creates and justifies nuclear weapons as a form of sexual domination

Warren 1996 -- A scholar, and former Professor and Chair of Philosophy at Macalester College

(Karen, Toward an Ecofeminist Peace Politics, pg 8-9)

Stereotyping through "power dualisms of domination'14 occurs with both women and nature in language that is both sexist and naturist. Nuclear parlance employs 'nature language.' Nuclear missiles are stored on 'farms,' 'in silos." That part of the submarine where twenty-four multiple warhead nuclear missiles are lined up, ready for launching, is called 'the Christmas tree farm'; BAMBI is the acronym developed for an early version of an antiballistic missile system (for BAllistic Missile Boost Intercept). Nuclear parlance also uses female imagery, often in conjunction with naturalizing metaphors, to describe and refer to nuclear weaponry and strategies. In her wonderfully illuminating article, 'Sex and death in the rational world of defense intellectuals,' Carol Cohn describes her one year immersion in a university's center on defense technology and arms control. She relates a professor's explanation of why the MX missile is to be placed in the silos of the new Minuteman missiles, instead of replacing the older, less accurate ones: "because they're in the nicest hole you're not going to take the nicest missile you have and put it in a crummy hole' (Cohn 1989: 133). Cohn describes a linguistic world of vertical erector launchers; thrust-to-weight ratios, soft lay downs, deep penetration, penetration aids (devices that help bombers of missiles get past the "enemy's' defensive system, also known as apenaids"), the comparative advantages of protracted versus spasm attacks or what one military advisor to the National Security Council has called 'releasing 70 to 80 percent of our megatonnage in one orgasmic whump" where India's explosion of a nuclear bomb is spoken of as 'losing her virginity' and New Zealand's refusal to allow nuclear-armed or nuclear-powered warships into its ports is described as 'nuclear virginity' (Cohn 1989: 133-7). Such language and imagery creates, reinforces, and justifies nuclear weapons as a kind of sexual dominance. The incredible distortions of nuclear parlance are reinforced by such misnomer's as Ronald Reagan's dubbing the MX missile 'the Peacekeeper,' terminology whereby 'clean bombs' are those which announce that 'radioactivity is the only 'dirty' part of @g people' (Cohn 1989: 132) and the Pentagon position that human deaths are only "Collateral damage' (since bombs are targeted at buildings, not people). Such distortions leave little room for acknowledging, in nuclear parlance, a total disregard for the effects of nuclear technology on the natural environment or the objectionable female sexual domination metaphors used to describe and justify the deployment of nuclear weapons. An ecofeminist feminist peace politics can build on this important work already being done with regard to sexism, naturism, and nuclearism by showing how this language and imagery grows out of and perpetuates patriarchalism. Under patriarchalism, naturist-sexist language provides a historical justificatory strategy for domination (Adams 1990: 82).

Deep ecology is an exclusionary male practice, that assumes woman are equally to blame for the environment, although it stems from patriarchal men

Fox ‘4 [Warwick. November 22nd, 2004 "The Deep Ecology-Ecofeminism Debate and its Parallels." Environmental Philosophy: From Animal Rights to Radical Ecology 3rd Edition. Micheal E. Zimmerman, J. Baird Callicott, George Sessions, Karen J. Warren, John Clark. Prentice Hall: New Jersey. 2001. p218-235.]

Ecofeminists have a few concerns about deep ecology. First, that deep ecology names anthropocentrism as the root cause of environmental problems. Ecofeminists believe that androcentrism (man-centeredness) is the root cause. To imply that women and men are equally to blame for environmental destruction is offensive to ecofeminists. A second concern is that deep ecology is inherently androcentric. Perhaps this stems from the fact that men created it or from the rational nature of the derivational system that many feminists find disadvantageous to women. Another concern is that deep ecologists support a sense of cosmological identification that views all things in the universe as part of an unfolding process. Ecofeminism promotes a personal sense of identification

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