Women and Animals

Throughout the semester I have been franticly trying to draw the connections between the environment and feminism and understand a personal definition of ecofeminism. In the last class I found my first really strong tie. Discussing the connection between women and animals I saw a great correlation between the subordinating of animals as well as women. For the first time I was able to dive into a topic without scratching my head about what exactly we were trying to attack. I had a light bulb go off and I have a much better understanding of the material now than I did before that one single class.

Two main topics in particular stuck out in my mind as wonderful examples of the connection between women and animals. The gendered act of hunting and killing brings to light many inequalities between men and women. Stop for a second; think of a hunter and what is the first picture that comes to mind. I see a MAN wearing cameo from head to toe with a big gun and a beard. Examining the controlling images of a hunter can tell us how gendered the act is. Women are seen as gatherers who sit at home and gather the food while the men are out hunting together. Women are constantly preparing food and keeping the house clean. Both animals and women are subordinated. I think we can see this ideal spreading into other aspects of society. The first example that comes to my mind comes from the norms of dating and sexual interaction. We can see multiple parallels between men going out to hunt animals, and men going out to hunt for women that they can interact with sexually. It’s the women’s job to look good so the man can approach her to start an interaction. The man’s only responsibility is to chase. I think this can lead to many of the problems that come from domestic violence as well. Men believing they are better and in control.

This image glorifies a woman in a bird cage showing the connection between women and animals

I also think it’s important to note the similarities between the domestication of women and animals.  The gender roles that stereotypically show women as stay at home moms can be seen very similarly to the roles of domesticated pets locked in their cage and trained to obey their masters every call. Even when we lessen to society’s ideal of what makes a good wife we hear words like loyal, obedient, submissive, and loving all of words that can also be describe a good dog. It is also important to note that if a mother is staying at home and taking care of the house they are also responsible for taking care of the pets which adds another level of connection.

By looking at the similarities we can see how subordinated woman and animals are in our society. By breaking down the abuse of animals and our environment in our would that can do wonders to start to approach gender equality as well which is an angle I never thought of taking before my ecofeminism class. I think that we must understand that the problem of gender inequality (like so many other forms of inequality) is so large that we are going to have to attack it through multiple lenses. Ecofeminism has shown me that an environmental lens is one that can be very successful as well.

-Rick Bowie

  1. #1 by Azad on May 3, 2012 - 11:21 pm

    Great post,
    Thank you for sharing ,

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