Archive for category 2012 Ecofeminism Unpacked

The Oppression of both Animals and Women

After reading articles by Carol J Adams and Lori Gruen, I have become greatly aware of the intertwining oppression of women and animals.

I think one can begin by talking about women and make-up. First of all, society has placed a construction around this ideal of “beauty” where women must wear make-up to cover themselves in a way that makes them “more appealing”. Girls grow up in a world where they look at magazines showing advertisements for make-up to cover their “blemishes” and mascara to make their eyelashes longer and “more beautiful”. This disturbs me in so many levels that women feel this great need to conform to this view of “beauty” for the opposite sex that society poses. One shouldn’t even get started with the prices that are put on such products to make them look “more pretty”. There are many women out in the world that feel the need to put on make-up everyday because society tells them “hey, if you don’t have make up, then you aren’t pretty. Thus you don’t care about your appearance to attract and appeal to others”.

Lets look at this in an ecofeminist lens which looks at the origins of make-up. Make-up is tested on animals for example especially lipstick. Make-up is tested on all types of animals to check the “safety” which puts animals in lots of pain and after their testing they are left to die. Fortunately there are companies out there that insure human ways of testing or insure that their product was not tested on animals.

 

Do you really need those longer lashes to conform to societies construction of beauty? Think about the next time you put on make-up.

 

Animals are constantly being oppressed by ways of treatment from injections to produce more milk to chickens being kept in such a confined space that they have no room to scratch or move. Most of these animals don’t even see the sunlight and are locked in a huge warehouses. One must realize, the majority of these animals that are being oppressed are female animals. Who produces the milk? who produces the eggs? Will this make you think again when you just want a glass of milk? or the next time that you want to make eggs for breakfast? One must consider that if one isn’t vegan or a vegetarian, that one supports this form of oppression towards animals and women. What do you think?

One thing that makes me very angry, is the fact that these big companies that raise the chickens to be slaughtered and keep cows confined in small spaces, don’t even allow this to really be publicized. One can only imagine why. These chickens are so confined that they contract diseases being exposed to different bacterias while stepping on their own poop. Many of these companies just care about their profits, so these animals rights are not even taken into consideration.

What will you do to protect these chickens?

Will you think next when you go to your local food store? Will you take the organic free range eggs or the eggs that were laid by chickens with no room to move? A huge majority of the animals that are mistreated are female bodied.

I think that people need to rethink the way they look at their food. I know that organic/free range food is priced higher, but if you have the money, it’s worth it. People should protest against these companies because if you eat an animal that was injected with hormones, you will contract those same hormones just because that company wants to produce as much food and gain the most profit.

, , , , , , ,

No Comments

Pink Slime: Whose Lunch is Valued?

When I made the move from the elementary school building to the junior/senior high school building, I stopped packing my lunch. With that came the strange rules of what to eat at the cafeteria. Anything with beef was generally considered “unsafe” by segments of the student population, so hamburgers were avoided. I’m not sure what the reasoning behind this decision was, but I didn’t want to take my chances. If it had red meat, I wouldn’t eat it.

Hungry yet?

Recently I felt vindicated by this decision. There were a few articles in the news about this mysterious “pink slime” that is used in beef products. The pink slime is better known, and more successfully marketed as, finely textured lean beef. Beef Products Inc. has been creating this product for years, and it has been a mainstay in fast foods and school lunches. Although USDA has given this product the seal of approval, lately the product has been criticized for E. coli. Ammonia is used in processing the beef to kill the bacteria, yet it still comes up.

My mother is a middle school teacher. After reading about this debacle, I called her up in hopes that she would have more of an “inside persepective.” Sure enough, she had asked some of the cafeteria workers about the pink slime beef product, and they had a particularly disturbing answer. My mother’s school is given the product for free. Cafeteria workers therefore use the product before dipping into funding.

This incident is clearly indicative of a bigger problem, but is it particularly ecofeminist? The most basic connection is that women are generally in charge of taking care of children, which includes feeding them. If children are not getting the nutrition they need, society likes to point the finger at the mother. The fact that public schools, notoriously underfunded, have been using this for years when even McDonald’s won’t use it anymore is a bit suspect. McDonald’s has been publicly flogged for being intensely unhealthy (remember the film Supersize Me?), but it is cheap. Like the pink slime. Students going to public schools are susceptible to less healthy food by virtue of the food being cheap and the schools being underfunded.

, ,

No Comments

Mapping spring break, and realizing how to unpack my ecofeminism half-way through the semester

            So, as cheesy as it sounds, I am going to do exactly what my title says, and map my spring break. So, first, my spring break trip started in Baltimore, at a brief conference that started Friday. I went on this trip with 11 other Dickinson students, 2 Franklin and Marshall students, and our lone Gettysburg girl.

            Let me preface this by stating that this was a Jewish trip, and that we were learning the relationships between Judaism, the environment, and agriculture. So, this first weekend was a retreat to discuss an important concept in Judaism, shmitta. This concept comes from the Torah, and describes that every seven years, we should give the land a rest, and just collect, but not cultivate the land, in addition to forgiving all debts and freeing slaves, etc. While this is quite a polarizing issue (as I came to find out), what was more profound for me was discussing the Orthodox Jewish community present as this conference (more so than reform, quite a shock) with other non-Jewish Dickinson students. In fact, this discussion reminded me of my small slice of feminism, because I should pray side-by side with men, have some of the same duties, and not be as restricted by my clothes just for modesty’s sake.

 

Division at the Western Wall. Note how women and men are separated because women "distract" men from praying, and yet they can be side by side anywhere but at the Western Wall.

As seen by the separation at the holiest place on earth for Jews, this transparency illustrates the reason why I strongly disagree with the most religious of the Jewish sects, and I know that one-day, I will not be a part of that group.

And so, reflecting on this so close to Passover, I want to implement a change to the way I conduct my Passover Seder. For years, I thought it was not okay to have an orange on my table.

Picture of beautiful blood oranges.

 

 

The orange has a story: a rabbi said that a woman being a rabbi is like an orange on the Passover table, as in that both don’t have a proper place or role there. I want to change my practice this Passover, and put an orange on the table, because I understand that some things ought to change, and even stubborn traditional me can.

 

I digress. We all left Baltimore for the sunny landscape of Rainbow and Temecula, California. Once there, we volunteered and labored at Morning Song Farm. We saw how much work farming actually is, and the importance of Organic farming, as well as the corruptness of Farmer’s Markets. Farmer Donna, of Morning Song Farm, taught us that uniformity at Farmer’s Markets are because fruit is sorted, and that the Farm Bureau inspectors come by to see all that grows, regardless of the season planted in, or the organic/non-organic planting methods, etc. There is a human element to our food, and we forget the planter, the grower, the love in that blood orange, avocado, spinach, etc.

 

The shocking aspects were several. First, reading Sandra Steingraber’s Living Upstream made me realize the sins my environmental family commits, such as fertilizing our hopelessly dry grass, and the many times we used miracle grow instead of compost on our vegetable garden. But then, I realized the many ways my family was doing well. The fact that beets were only cooked from the garden and never bout from the store; the fact that we save sometimes regular and odd-ball seeds to try and reuse the following planting year; and the fact that I know where some of my vegetables come from. I want to see if Burpee seeds are with Monsanto and the dangerous monoculture sinful group. I also realized the dangers of Monsanto and non-organic farming, but have struggled throughout the entire week with conflicting thoughts: I’m not a vegetarian, but what do I do from here? Do I become one, and foreswear off my grandpa’s brisket, my most favorite food in the world? Do I buy organics when my only job is 2 hours a week, and my budget isn’t the biggest? Do I only eat seasonally and/or local?

 

So, I have some resolved to take some small steps after the experiences from this past week. First, I will try to buy organics as much as possible. Second, I will try to eat foods on a more seasonal basis. Third, I will continue to compost, and establish this practice in my apartment, for the rest of this semester. Fifth, I will try a meatless day once a week. Hopefully I stick to these goals some temporary, but others after May

No Comments

Blog of Choice: Response to Current Events relating to Reproductive Rights in the U.S.

 

I find the allegation that mandated vaginal ultrasound is rape to be a very interesting claim.


Reactions to the recent attacks on women’s reproductive rights in the United States, from threats of the removal of birth control from health care to mandatory vaginal ultrasounds for abortion-seeking women, have been quite diverse. It seems an unfortunate trend that people don’t even need to satisfy the basic requirement of understanding the issue at hand before taking up a fervent opinion and letting as many people as possible hear it (See: Rush Limbaugh). On the other hand, there are a handful of elected officials who are making a statement regarding this issue by means of satirical appeal. Among others taking up a stance on the issue, Liberal Ladies Who Lunch, a group of American liberal women, have  discussed this issue at length and have chosen to stage a protest. A sex protest, that is. An article about the protest explains, “To help make a change, the group is asking like-minded women to align with them for a sex strike starting on April 28th and extending a week later until May 5.”

 

 

 

Now, there are many questions that arise. The first one, I think, is if this is effective as a type of protest in general. The article mentions the similar strikes in Colombia and Kenya that were successful. So, the basic potential is there although an analysis of the systematic differences of the countries might give reason to think that it will be less effective in the U.S. I’m not going to dissect these differences here, but I think that it is important to note that this type of strike is only effective if widespread. This is a problem particularly for the prospect of success with this kind of protest in the United States, I would imagine. I don’t think that there is the same type of connection or solidarity between women in the United States as in other cultures. For instance, I feel more comradery towards a man socially or politically aligned with me than with a woman who has opposing views. And I think that across the board, that is how many Americans feel. Then again, when discussing issues like reproductive rights, I feel a sense of loyalty to women and an instinct to defend my gender. But there are plenty of women who are pro-life, there are women who support the mandatory vaginal ultrasounds and so on. Are these women who are pro-life, anti-woman? Is that a fair label? And even if just purely linguistically, can a woman knowingly be anti-woman? An even more pressing question is that when we, Women of the United States, cannot even agree on basic issues regarding reproductive rights, how can we expect to all come together based solely on our shared gender? This is not even considering all of the racial issues embedded in the feminist movement. (Like in The Color of Choice when Loretta Ross discusses the reproductive right injustices that ‘women of color’ endure while white women are privileged; for instance, ‘women of color’ are manipulated into getting abortions while white women are encouraged to procreate. These are social issues that divide women and keep them from connecting based purely on their womaness.) I wonder why gender, as compared to other shared traits, takes such a backseat from a United States perspective? It appears to be an anthropological question which I am  certainly unqualified to answer with my limited knowledge on the subject, but interesting nonetheless, so I pose it.

                  

Anyway, the major issue that I wanted to discuss during this blog is the negative and positive effects of using sex as the “weapon” of choice. I find this so interesting because I can easily entertain both positions in my head. One might say that hell yes, using sex as protest is radical and provocative and a symbolic statement and most importantly, it has been proven effective. Another might say that the use of sex highlights the connection between sex and women in a negative way, considering historical stereotypes that deemed women as solely sexual objects whose only role was to have children and otherwise do as men advised. I don’t know which of these positions is right. But this dilemma reminds me a lot of the connection between women and Nature, and whether it is a beneficial connection or not. This debate is still ongoing; there are distinct stances on the matter. Some believe that women should embrace their natural connection with the environment as it is an essential part of their identity; others believe that the connection highlights the oppression endured by women and Nature and even provides excuse to subjugate women based on the position of female animals in Nature. Once again, I don’t know which of these positions is right. And perhaps the only answer is one regarding which position is right for you. That whole extreme subjectivity is a slippery-slope, though.

After reflecting on the idea of a sex strike in these circumstances, I am still undecided about its value. It is important to compare all the other types of protest and the ways in which they would be more/less effective in making a decision, I think. As fun as it is to blog about, the issue will be a lot more interesting to discuss with others. I’d like to hear what other people think about the LLWL’s plan and what effect it is likely to have. We can all actively take part in protest, whether through strike, sit-in, etc. or simply by staying informed about the issues and spreading awareness through discussion about them. No matter how one identifies, I think we can all agree that one ought to actively take part.

, , , , , , ,

No Comments

Understanding Concepts

 

 

In understanding my environment, nature and gender I feel like I should define each term’s role in my life.  My environment consists of this room, the view outside my window as well as the heavily polluted River Ganges.  I consider my environment to be all encompassing and view each system as fully connected.  This view has been largely shaped by my education in the Environmental Studies Dept.  My professors have challenged me to view the environment and environmentalism as more than a forest and more than hiking through a forest.

Nature, to me is not only the untouched, pristine forest.  It is the sole tree in New York City and the pesky pigeons perched upon it.  I often press myself to view nature as more than something beautiful and detached from myself.  Are humans not part of nature?  We are animals and we manipulate and shape our environment in the same way that any animal does to provide and care for itself and future generations.

Gender to me, is defined as a performance.  This performance is often indicative of biological sex, but does not need to be.  If a biological woman can portray a man successfully she is privy to all of the privilege of a man.  As a cisgendered woman I am privileged in that my gender performance is widely accepted in society.

The way in which I have come to understand my environment, nature, and gender has to do with my surroundings and education.  I was raised with an appreciation for nature. My family went on hikes, went fishing in the streams, and lay beneath the stars.  I appreciated nature in a simplistic sense.  Nature, to my young mind, consisted of trees and birds.  People did not play into my understanding of nature and I viewed myself as distinctly separate from the natural world.

When I came to college I began to view myself as intertwined with nature.  I realized during one argument I had with my professor that I seriously needed to expand my definition of the natural world.  He asked “who thinks that a paper mill is part of nature?” I sat for a while and then hesitantly raised my hand.  I explained that because a paper mill was the creation of man and any creation by a living being would be by extension natural.  This challenged me.  Who and what are considered natural?  How does one situate themselves in this debate?

As a cisgendered woman with a broad definition of both nature and the environment I grapple with this.  How does my gender and performance alter my interactions with the environment?  As Milton Friedman once said “there’s no such thing as a free lunch”.  This simple theory explains that your time has value.  If you are spending time doing an activity or pursuing an economic goal you are foregoing the profits or benefits potentially earned by using that time to pursue another activity.  The same theory can be applied to my gender performance.  Because I perform my gender in a way that is readily accepted by society I haven’t utilized much of my time figuring out my gender performance or seeking help because I’ve chosen to negate the normative performance and thus must cope with societal pressure.  This, in theory, would give me more time to pursue other activities as pondering my position in the environmental debate or looking up “Feminist Ryan Gosling Memes”.

This simple example of limited time being allocated into interests is a simplistic way at looking at many options yielding only a few outcomes.  In general this is indicative of environmental practices.  Inputs such as money, time, and resources are distributed according to desired and anticipated outcomes.  This will ultimately affect the treatment of the environment.

 

No Comments

Eager to learn

 To be completely honest, I feel like I grew up in a bubble, oblivious to my natural environment. I was the child who enjoyed staying in the house and playing with dolls. Along with the fact that I am allergic to grass, I was never enthused with playing outdoors. I think this shaped my view on nature. I never thought of nature as a bad thing but I was never too concerned about it either. This changed somewhat when I began learning about global warming and other environmental concerns. At this time I realized that air to breath and water to drink were necessary to my survival. This is when my appreciation for nature began. 

 

Environmentally Friendly?

When it comes to gender, im not quite sure when I first thought about myself as a woman and what that meant. I do remember being a young child, and fighting with my siblings over which power-rangers we were going to be. Me and my sister both always wanted to be the pink power-ranger, because “pink was for girls.” I was aware of stereotypes and societal expectations of gender at a very young age. It was not until attending Dickinson that I really began to challenge these sterotypes/expectations and ask myself what it really means to be a woman. As a psychology major, looking to broaden my knowledge base, I stumbled upon the women and gender studies minor. I didn’t read any texts that led to my thoughts about nature or gender, my viewpoints are all based in experiences.

Feminism in general is something that is somewhat new to me. I am still grappling with the question of exactly what it means to be a feminist and whether I identify with being a feminist or not. I look forward to this class and am eager to learn about ecofeminism, seeing how nature relates to feminism, being able to define exactly what ecofeminism is and think more about myself as a feminist.

No Comments

My Relationship with Nature and Ecofeminism.

What went on in my head when I first heard the word ecofeminism.

One of the many outside markets of Awaka City, Nigeria.

The way I view and interact with nature is greatly influenced by my Igbo herritage. As a child, I was allowed to play in my neighborhood park and explore gardens with limited adult supervision. This was a quintessential characteristic of my early years as it was in my parents’ lives as they grew up in rural and urban Nigeria.  My Catholic faith helped me to understand that the world was nature and everything in it was to be respected. God created the universe and put man and woman on it to teach them to coexists and to take full advantage of its treasures. When I say “to take full advantage,” I do so in a non-exploitative manner. I do believe that certain things in the world are finite and for humans to abuse natural resources and displace creatures of all types in the name of capitalism will eventually turn around and bite society in the arse. My faith and consequent spirituality, caused me to be interested in this course. 

This is a photo of my cousins playing n our family   counpound in the Delta reigion of Nigeria.       

 

When I read the word “Ecofeminism,” the image that came to mind was one of women holding picket signs in fluorescent colors, that read, “Save the Earth! She is Our Mother.”

As blunt and desensitized as that sounds, the message is simple. We have one earth. I think when one sits down and thinks about the black abyss in which the earth resides, and how it is suspended in millions of miles of nothing, does one then realize that humans are merely ants in the scheme of the universe. We are born, live our lives, form relationships, contribute to society, then die–all in a matter of decades. Decades that are (if you ask me) pretty insignificant against the life of the earth. It has been this way before I was born and it’ll be that way after I die. The combination of my spirituality which is fostered by my Igbo background has made and  kept me humble to the world. Even my middle name, Onyinyechukwu (Oh-ni-ney-choo-kwoo), which means God’s gift, reminds me that everything on earth is ephemeral. Nothing lasts forever and anything can easily be taken away.  Because of this, I don’t fret over things I can’t have and I don’t aspire to look a certain way (though most of my friends might say I do). I am this way because I know that one day will be my last day on earth. So, instead of striving to obtain more than what I need (and of course I’m biased to my own opinion), I’ve made it my goal to work to be happy (within reason) in whatever ways I can.

 

I really connected with Andy Smith’s piece, “Ecofeminism through and Anticolonial Framework.” As a Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies and Biochemistry double-major, colonization, transculturation, and creolization are topics that are essential in discussion of the former. Aside from Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean have experienced the longest and most forceful European relationship. When colonization efforts began in the early 16th century, indigenous civilizations were displaced and obliterated by the presence of the Spanish, Portuguese, and Dutch; once again, in the name of capitalism. Particularly, the sugar production of sugar as a cash crop. This dynamic has racialized the institution of slavery and has left an indelible mark on race relations in these regions. So when Smith maintains that ecofeminism must also be viewed in an anticolonial lens, she speaks not only for Native Americans in the United States, but for indigenous and African populations [in the Southern Americas] as well. Just as feminism is a European construct, so too is colonization. My understanding of the two is directly linked in by the environment and how it is used to create profit and  social hierarchies. One of these hierarchies is that of gender.    

 

No Comments

Ecofeminism: First impressions from a future ecologist.

Last Wednesday, I was sitting in the Underground reading about how overpopulation is apparently not the source of poverty in developing countries and that the real culprit is colonization. And the entire time I’m just thinking, I wonder if anyone had calculated the carrying capacity of their ecosystem?

Hello I’m Kristina and I’m a biology major. (This is the part where you say Hi Kristina.) This is how I felt while doing the reading for this class last week. I did not think that taking Ecofeminism as a biology major would be difficult. It had “eco” in the name, which reminded me of ecology, an area I am very familiar with. It sounded cool, something I would like. However, I didn’t not expect to be tested by the material the way I was last week.  I couldn’t help but feel frustrated the entire time I was reading. I wanted more information, I wanted data and facts. In the biology department, we don’t talk about human issues or starvation in developing countries very often, but when it does come up the tone is usually the same. The culprit? “Overpopulation of course. Those people are starving because they have exceeded their carrying capacity and they need to have fewer babies to get their population back in control.” I had never considered the reason to be anything else. After all, I spent the last few years researching overpopulation of white tailed deer. I know what happens when a species has no natural predator. Or at least I thought I did.

Jesse's Wolf Form Pictures, Images and Photos
Last night I was talking to my friend online and she told me how sad she was that her boyfriend had hit a deer while driving home from work. My response was “Good, they’re overpopulated and destroying the forest.” But if you stood in front of me with a kid from a third world country and said, “He’s starving to death because there isn’t enough food for him.” I doubt I’d reply “Here, let me run him over with my car. His death will give the others a chance for more food and reduce human impact of the environment.”

In Ecofeminism through an Anticolonial Framework Andy Smith said “Saving people should be just as important as saving trees.” I find this quote slightly comical since it implies her reader base value animal/plant life over human life, while in my experience I’ve found it’s usually the opposite. Usually I’m the one defending animals. Saying that all life is sacred and that animal/plant life is just as valuable as human life if not more so because of all the trouble humans cause for everything else. It was funny to see the situation reversed.

One of the points that Smith makes is that humans are animals and therefore a part of nature. So if people believe in saving nature they should also believe in saving humans. I agree with this to a point. I do believe that humans are animals and because of that everything humans create in nature. I think that the more humans try to distance themselves from animals, the worse we become. But I also think that people use the “humans are animals” argument only when it is convenient for them.

Isn’t it in the nature of animals groups to oppress each other? A few days ago I was watching an episode of Planet Earth in which a family group of chimps attacked another family and ran them off their territory so they didn’t have to compete with them for resources. The attacking group even caught, killed, and ate several of the other groups young. You may be disgusted by this, but remember evolutionarily Chimps are one of our closest relatives. So if humans are animals, should we not expect this behavior and consider it “natural”? Then how much of our behavior is natural and should be expected? Then where do we draw the line and say, no that behavior has gone too far and is no longer natural and expected? Humans are animals. But owning that means that we need to accept all the traits that make us animals, and not just bring it up when we can use it for the sake of an argument, but then take it back when someone does something barbaric.

Am I biased? Probably. My weakness is my failure to be absolute. Ethical relativism is the idea that morality changes based on the situation. If you feel that killing one animal is more horrible than killing another, that is relativism based on the situation of the animal. (For example, my mother thinks that all cute animals like bunnies should never be killed but scary animals like spiders should get squished.)  I feel that it is one the biggest issues in society today. I shouldn’t feel different about the termination of different species. If humans and deer are both just animals, and we are willing to kill a deer and justify it by saying they’re damaging their environment, we should be willing to do the same for a human. The opposite is true as well.

The issue arises when humans are perceived as “better” than animals. As if we are somehow worth more because we are more evolved than them, smarter than them. Because we are a keystone species we feel entitled to rule over “lesser” animals and in some cases even “lesser” people.

Photobucket

The thing is, I love animals. I would do virtually anything to protect them. But the idea that many people fail to grasp is that it’s not about saving one individual endangered bat. It’s about balance. The worth of the species as a whole outweighs the worth of the individual. This applies to humans too. If allowing some to die to make life better for the rest is what needs to be done, shouldn’t we do it? Or do we blind ourselves with compassion and try to save everyone and doom us to strip the world of all its resources? If we agree that the world is overpopulated (not necessarily everywhere but in some places), do we stop researching cures for new certain diseases and accept that our apex predator is now a mutation called cancer? Do we stop resuscitating people with heart disease if they are over a certain age? And justify it by thinking, well if there is one less person, then there is one less life draining resources? I don’t have answers to these questions. They are just questions that need to be asked.

 

 

No Comments

Pocahontas, The O.E (Original Ecofeminist)

While understanding the environment, nature and gender, I think of a delicate yet tenacious system which functions as a platform sustaining all forms of life; and the word Ecofeminism.  In class, we have discussed how Ecofeminism came to term, what it stands for, and how the oppressions of nature and women are connected.  After each student spoke and the class began to mold an idea of how to define  ecofeminism, I kept reverting back to one thought, and it was Pocahontas…  Maybe it was because of the essay Ecofeminism through an Anticolonial Framework, by Andy Smith, that helped bridge the connection between Ecofeminism to Pocahontas, or Disney Movies made a larger impression in my thought process then I had originally anticipated. Whatever the reason may be, the first step to seeing Pocahontas as an Ecofeminist is by breaking down the movie since you last watched it, and for most that was during childhood.  The plot itself represents an ecofeministic struggle, Capitan John Smith and the British settlers of the Virginia Company embark on a voyage to the “New World” with one thing on their mind, exploiting its natural resources in search for gold.  Enter Pocahontas, young Native American woman who is about to be wed to Kocoum, who is just all wrong for the spiritual and eco-friendly protagonist.  The two fall in love, and through her spiritual connection to the earth and respect for both human and nonhuman lives, war is avoided with minimal casualties on both sides.

If you’re still not convinced, the second step to looking at Pocahontas as an ecofeminist is by listening to the song “Colors of the Wind”.  Although the song lacks some feminist ideals, the lyrics, “You think you own whatever land you land on, the earth is just a dead thing that you can claim… Come roll in all the riches all around you, and for once, never wonder what they’re worth” embrace a major part of how I have come to understand ecofeminism.  The song points out many of the flaws in our world today, how we as Americans have lost sight of how important the environment is.  Although the movie demonstrates a very watered down example of oppression, it is apparent to me now that the world needs more people like Pocahontas, connected to the earth spiritually with the idea that all walks of life need to be protected.

No Comments

Lego’s Newest Character “Stephanie” is Causing an Uproar

As I signed up for ‘Ecofeminism: Justice, Ecology, and Gender’ I did not know what exactly I was signing up for.  In the past I have taken classes about gender studies and ecology alike, but never a feminism or “ecofeminism” class (truth be told I did not know what the term meant).  Coming into the first day of classes this semester, I had a preconceived notion that feminists were groups of women that set to ban certain things that they deemed offensive, inappropriate, etc.  After the first week of classes, I have a better understanding of what ecofeminism means but there are still some questions that I have.  For example, earlier in the month of January a professor at Colby College led a protest against Lego’s newest marketing campaign Lego Friends, that supposedly “promoted stereotypes”.  In the article, groups around the country including SPARK (“a national organization against the sexualization of girls and women in the media”) have protested Lego’s newest product, as the characters are “taller, thinner, and bustier” who can “work on their tans” and ride a “cool convertible” (sounds a lot like Barbie to me).

"The "girly" behavior depicted by the pastel-clad characters has infuriated activists"

Although this may just be me being a guy, but I don’t find this new Lego character to be that offensive.  I feel like the people at Lego are doing a great job to market their products to all kinds of children, boys and girls alike.  If people are getting upset at Lego Friends and their newest products, why not bring into question the pressure of Barbie and its affect on sexualization of girls and women in the media.  To me it seems like Lego is trying to emulate Barbie with their newest Lego Friends campaign.  I do not think that activist groups such as SPARK have the right make Lego take their product off the shelf just because it may convey some stereotypes; I feel like it is the role of parents/guardians to censor their kids how they please.  In summary, I am mostly confused as to what the role of feminists are in society today and how their roles differ from ecofeminists’ roles in society; how do each groups go about achieving their goals?

What is the difference between these two marketing campigns and why is Lego's product under more scrutiny than Barbies'?

No Comments