Women nature association

Carol Adams work is another example of literature that illuminates the inequality and wrongdoings that are so apparent in our culture. Adams work focuses on the ideas we have let go largely unchecked when it comes to our relationships with animals and women. Adams sets the scene by first off examining genocide, one of the most abhorrent atrocities that mankind is capable of. To understand why we can so easily slaughter, she firsts asks why we allowed ourselves to do so to humans. We allow ourselves to be so lethal towards each other because we in fact do not consider the victim to be of the same status as ourselves, so we do not empathize with them. By doing this it is easier to accept the abuse because we don’t imagine what the pain associated must feel for the victim. We do not consider each victim as an individual, we just lump them together and address them as a singular entity. In the case of genocide, the victims are looked at as an infestation that must be eliminated, and are reduced to a being that is below humans in the hierarchy. The derogatory words used to describe the victims being are important, and help illicit hate and disgust without any real justification, instead being based solely of association.

Adams references Jacques Derrida, author of “The Animal that Therefore I am” who explains that we have a campaign against compassion that has allowed us to not blink an eye at the mass slaughter of animals. “Such a campaign instantiates objectification: both the objectification of the other animals who become mass terms, and the objectification of feelings so that they fail to be heeded in making decisions about the fate of terminal animals” (Adams 10). While the campaign on compassion not only diminishes those who we perceive to be lesser being, it as well negates any feelings of guilt and empathy towards the victims, allowing atrocious acts to both occur and then go unrivaled. This has let us become complacent, and stray further and further away from where a pure conscious should conclude that violence should not be inflicted on those who cannot defend themselves. “The war on compassion has caused many people to think it is futile to care” (Adams 10). Our political system is not set up in a way that allows for us to object to the status quo. People may have these thoughts, but they commonly fizzle out before they transform into anything that can truly enact change.

When discussing the portrayal of women and animals in society, it is important consider how our society views what’s around us. Adams references Rosemarie Garland-Thompson author of Staring: How we Look, who said “In late Captalism, the predominant form of looking, the mass exercise of ocularcentricity, is what we might call consumer vision.” “Animalizing women and feminizing animals helps in this process because it renders women and dead animals used as flesh as commodities” (Adams 15). By reducing woman and animals to lesser beings, they can be viewed as merely object for one’s own satisfaction, whether that be sexual or food-wise.

The first picture I chose to discuss is the one with a chicken head cropped onto an incredibly robust body. The placement of the chicken head alludes to the idea that meat makes someone physically strong. In the background, you can see what I assume to be dead chickens hanging on meat hooks, which certainly do not evoke images of health and strength.


This next picture shows a carcass of an animal on a meat hook that is dressed in women’s clothes, stating it’s not acceptable to treat a woman like an animal. The subtext goes on to encourage men to be vocal, as it assumed that most would agree with the message. This falls in line with the notion that dissenting views are often not welcomed, so we are conditioned to keep them mostly to ourselves. While the add addresses gender inequality, it does not mention anything about the violence towards animals who are degraded to be viewed as nothing more than a slab a meat.

The last picture from the catalog I wanted to examine is this restaurant add asking Rod Stewart if he thinks the sandwich is sexy, alluding to one of his songs, since he is performing after the restaurant opens. While advertisements are obviously meant to appeal to the viewer, we see here that it is not the restaurant asking if the sandwich is sexy, but instead the sandwich itself, so technically the animal that the meat is derived from. The idea that a cow would want to be deemed sexy is absurd, and coincided with the idea that many woman who are raped are in some way asking for it, based off their behavior or appearance. “They mix death with degradation. That equation has one answer: the dead animal equals the female position. Pornographic conventions bleed into the bloodied animals that are shown wanting to be consumed, that is, wanting their own death” (Adams). The idea is that any sort of apprehension towards the consumption is reduced by the animal consenting in the same way women are made to be submissive and consenting to man.

The image that I found for myself is one of an attractive woman devouring a burger on a beach. This image is supposed to evoke the raw urges of society to exploit naked women and fresh meat.

The connection between fetishizing woman and meat is strong, so I decided to see how they may be linked to each other biologically. I found an article on the link between meat consumption and sex drive, and apparently, there is a connection where low meat intake leads to low libido. “Individuals who don’t consume enough protein actually risk having a low testosterone level, according to recent research. And low levels of this important hormone can cause not just poor sexual function, but muscle loss, damage to bones, and reduced red blood cells” (Black).  Testosterone is not the only factor, zinc also increases libido as well, the article attributes to Tanya Zuckerbro, MS, RD. However, the article does not say that it is the meat itself that leads to the higher libido, just the nutrients meat provides. “Protein is important, but you can also get it from other sources” (Black). As we covered in the vegetarian portion of the class, there are many substitutes to meat. It’s important to consider these substitutes as they would not cause for needless suffering of animals. Perhaps there is another link outside of the ecofeminism perspective, where society has been associating woman and sex with meat because the more meat a guy eats, the more they think about sex, and the more likely they are to have a high meat diet if they are consumed by the idea of sexualizing woman.

When it comes to art, Adams advocates for the rights of the animals affected by the art over the artistic freedom of the creator of the piece. She is trying to challenge the system in which we allow art to overstep individual boundaries because it is trying to illustrate something grand, all the while creating casualties. Adams argues that artistic expression isn’t a viable reason to infringe on the rights of those being exploited.

Whether in art, advertisements, or the interactions between different divisions, it’s clear that we have become desensitized to the marginalization and abuse casted towards woman, animals, and any group that is less privileged. In whatever scenario, when a hierarchy is introduced, it allows for the concerns of the those below you on the hierarchy to be disregarded. Women and animals can be looked at interchangeably, they both simply represent the oppressed. “Ultimately it wasn’t about taste. It was always about their sense of self, their sense of entitlement and privilege” (Adams 24). When we examine different forms of media presented to us, like ads urging us to eat meat, we realize that it’s not so much the claim to eat meat that is harmful, but the perpetuation of a hierarchy that allows for some to be placed above others.

When these hierarchies exist, they seep through to other aspects of our lives and how we interact with the world around us, and importantly it’s beings, and create a scenario in which the privileged want’s triumph the right of the victims.





I included this image to show the contrast between a meat bases diet and a vegan diet. As you can see they are portrayed as comparable, however the vegetable alternative comes off as much cleaner and natural.

One example of a gendered food is a hungry man TV dinner. Hungry man dinners are frozen meals that you pop in the oven/microwave and suddenly you have a hot, semi-fresh meal usually consisting of a generous portion of meat. Hungry man TV dinners are clearly gendered as they have the name “man” right in the title. One could also attribute the fact that they are basically already cooked and arraigned and all the consumer must do is throw it in the oven to it being a male oriented product. This helps further the narrative of men being above the idea of having to labor in the kitchen. Another construct that is the idea that burping is not lady like. While its rude in American culture for anybody to burp, I feel as though that falls under a pre-conceived notion of being un-lady like.

When discussing human’s relationship with animals, Gaard first covers the nature of oppression. Oppression comes in many forms according to Marion Young as Gaard explains, and can be seen through exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness, cultural imperialism, and violence. Through factors we see how in meat production animals are exploited and looked at as a product rather than a sentient being. The conditions in which these animals live as well as those confined in cages for any reasons sees them marginalized and powerless, as their own well-being is being disregarded, and they are entirely at the whim of their owners. This leads to cultural imperialism, as their own way of life is being entirely diminished and substituted with filling whatever roles their owner has for them. This unfortunately also leads to violence, whether in the form of abuse or of actual slaughter in the case of livestock. Gaard argues that women’s identity of self comes from their relationships with others, whereas males is formed separate and is rights based instead of ethics based. I think Gaard’s explanation has made the most sense to me so far when comparing the oppression of woman to the oppression of other aspects of society, specifically environmental. In drawing that connection, Gaard explains as to why she is compassionate to Bella. Both the suffering of Bella and of the rest of the oppressed world comes from the actions of those who have a rights-based ethic. In the case of Bella, her owners wanted Bella to perform a very specific role by sitting by the counter and talking to customers, without ever thinking about the consequences of that on the bird. As a woman, Gaard sees the connections and her assessment of the bird does not stop at just viewing the bird as a piece of property that one has the right to. She instead understands the implications of the actions on the subordinate. Gaard reflects on what to do and concludes that Bella would be better off being better taken care of in a larger cage with more amenities and companions, although being completely cage free would be difficult. “Responding to Bella’s suffering means accepting a responsibility for my own complicity in a system of inter-species domination, and acting on my commitment to serve as an ally” (Gaard). Gaard visit Bella often and tries to bring her goodies to cheer her up. Importantly, she recognizes Bella’s oppression and tries to defend and advocate for her.

Curtin describes herself as a contextual moral vegetarian. By asserting herself as such, she admits that there are times when eating meat is pretty much necessary for one’s survival. In cases like this, it is acceptable to kill put your own interests ahead of the animal that you would eat. But there is a stark difference to situations like that and the scenario in a country such as America, where we generally have an abundance of food choices available that do not require any slaughtering.

For those living in an environment in which they have options and can ultimately decide whether to eat animals, Curtin offers up some insight into the attitude that is consistent with the themes of eco feminism. Curtin makes the case that choosing to not eat meats avoids needless suffering for the animal, and that it is our part to enact change that we would like to see permeate other areas of society. “It should not be understood as an injunction that include the imperative to rethink what it means to be a person connected with the imperative to rethink the status of nonhuman animals.” (Curtin) What I found interesting however is that she doesn’t go as far to say that in that decision we should place ourselves as equal to the animals. Instead she implies that we can try to transcend the unneeded oppression that we see around us by starting to make decisions ourselves that eliminate oppressive tactics.

Gaard makes note of the idea of human and non-human animals being equal mentions in her article. “Admittedly, the feminine caring ethic feminists criticize does not include the caregiver as an equal to those she cares about. Equally important from an ecofeminist perspective, is the fact that the relational self-theory as originally constructed is entirely anthropocentric; it fails to account for trans-species relationships with non-human animals, with plants and place, relationships the also shape self-identity” (Gaard). Gaard started off in saying that even though it is her relational self that gives her compassion to Bella, that very form of identity leads to subordination among females. However, even with their caring disposition, the feminist perspective is still rooted on the idea that humans are superior to other species. Curtin acknowledges this as well, however she comes to the conclusion that they should continue to not look at each other as necessarily equal, but should animals none-the less be treated with dignity as much for the sake of the human in making sure that they do not perpetuate any unnecessary violence at all.

To bring in an outside source I decided to look up how important our relationship with meat is. As it turns out, except for b12 humans can find pretty much everything else they need naturally growing on the Earth. “Neal Barnard of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine even notes that when people switch from meat-eating to plant-eating, their intake of vitamins and other nutrients improves” (King). While of course as Curtin pointed out, some people don’t have much options when it comes to what they eat when they decide on animals, but fortunately many people do not take the animal for granted by expressing gratitude and respect. But we in America tend to glorify meat consumption. In her article, Barbara King often mentions Marta Zarask and her book Meathooked: The History and Science of Our 2.5 Million-Year Obsession with Meat. “Zaraska wrote Meathooked primarily to discover why humans across the world crave meat” “Factors of biology including certain genetic predispositions and culture, ranging from family habits and cultural traditions to the sexual politics of meat as explained by Carol J. Adams, all play a role, she says.” (King). I find it interesting that they mention a genetic predisposition towards meat, because I feel like that implies that meat is an essential part of their diet, although at else some of that may be substituted with b12 supplements and vitamins. As I meat-eater I certainly understand the desire for meat, especially if it is essential to diet, however it’s clear we live In a society that pushes us in the direction to consume more meat than we have to/




Ecofeminism Places

In her piece Small Wonder, Kingsolver explains how setting impacts her state of mind. As a writer, she admits that a lot of her material is organic, in that she simply imagines it. This isn’t something that she can just conjure up at her whim whenever she feels like though, she very much gets distracted by things interfering with her writing process. What she comes to find is that the best environment for her is one that is a natural and undeveloped as possible. Even though she is very much removed from Africa at her house in the southwest, she can put herself their through imagination. “I needed only to be someplace where I could think straight, remember, and properly invent. I needed the blessed emptiness of mind that comes from birdsong and dripping tress.” (Kingsolver). I can relate to the point that she is making, that somewhere quiet can and tranquil can calm the noise in your head and allow vivid stories to manifest. I am not used to writing as Kingsolver does, because when I write, such as now, I have an objective. I can do this completely removed form nature in a room with no windows at all if I had to. But to write creatively, I agree that the beauty of nature helps inspire.

Bell Hooks “Touching the Earth” offers an interesting perspective into the struggle of Black Americans adapting to life after the abolishment of slavery, during the migration from rural to urban areas during the late 19th and 20th century. Recently liberated, these people left in search of a better life and opportunity, which is understandable seeing as they were oppressed so severely for so long. Although they were objectively better off living freely, they became collectively distressed adapting to urban life. As we all know, although no longer kept under slavery, Black Americans did not get the privilege’s to be put on the level playing field that White people had enjoyed, something that is still occurring today.  Although they were now independent and self-sustaining, “without the space to grow food, to commune with nature, or to mediate the starkness of poverty with the splendor of nature, black people experienced profound depression” (Hooks). When I think about it, Hooks makes a compelling point. When it comes down to it, we are not hardwired for a life surrounded by cement and artificial lighting. We are biologically accustomed to living amongst the land, as the black farmers had. Although under slavery, these Black slaves saw the direct impact they had on the land they tended, and became enveloped within their local ecosystems. Like the birds and bugs and forest critters, they didn’t so much fret on the bigger picture of what awful oppression they endured, they instead mostly just focused on what was right in front of them, the land which they have been biologically accustomed to. Once that connection to nature was taken and the oppression remained, although changed appearance, the distraction was gone and the angst became much more real.

Terry Tempest Williams covered a very sensitive issue by discussing the designation of land, specifically in the Colorado and Utah area. “It is a battle over public and private uses of land, what will remain sovereign. Guns are replaced by metaphorical monkey wrenches and shovels” (Williams). I have understanding for both the government authorities and the locals living on the land. In the example he gave, when the federal government wanted to permanently close a road that was damaged from a flood to protect the Bull Trout from extinction. Residents demanded the road stay open for their own convenience. It is ironic because we have talked about how larger entities such as big businesses degrade the environment for their own incentives, often harming those who are physically attached to the land as they live on it. In this case though, the big guy being the federal government just simply wanted to protect the eco system, while the preferred actions of the locals would do the opposite.

From my interpretation, Kingsolver defines place quite literally, which greatly impacts her state of mind and creativity. For Hooks, place also directly correlates with state of mind. In the case of Black Americans, when they migrated away from rural areas to suburban areas, they lost nature and became stripped of what helped keep their peace all along. Williams views place as a physical entity that is owned by either private or public entities. Williams often mentions how many millions of acres are being designated as what. Those that are outplaced are those that do not have say over land, however that is not always a bad thing because their actions could likely be damaging if not restricted. Kingsolver and Hooks would view those who are deprived of natural surroundings and immersed solely in developed areas as robbed of what helps provide joy and peace in Hooks case and creativity and freedom in Kingsolver’s.

I grew up in South shore Massachusetts, between the towns of Norwell and Rockland. I find it to have just the right touch of human interference for my preference. I’m not too inconvenienced finding restaurants, stores, and other perks of living in an industrial nation, however I can retreat and enjoy a walk in the woods or day by the beach that is quiet enough for me. For my picture, I included the bridge crossing over the North River separating Norwell from Marshfield. I find this symbolic because to stand on the bridge and look over the river, I can admire the view and have a great appreciation for the place I live. However, the bridge enables us to cross over into the neighboring town easily, right over what is considered a natural border. In that sense, the bridge gives us freedom. It is the right balance for me, not for everyone. While eco-feminism talks about philosophy, we do not see the truths associated with it apply to everyone. Some Black people are perfectly happy in urban life, choosing the fast pace of life over the slow contemplative life in rural areas. “Unmindful of our history of living harmoniously on the land, many contemporary black folks see no value in supporting ecological movements, or see ecology and the struggle to end racism as competing concerns” (Hooks). Whilst this is very true that there is a connection to the exploitation the Earth gets and the oppression of minorities, in the context of what it means to the individual, being closer to Earth isn’t always the answer. While the black community collectively were oppressed, they certainly felt the loss not being near nature, so that was a clearly bad thing that happened to them. While oppression is objectively bad, for some though, that loss of nature. may be offset by the advantage they gained from moving to a place with more modern conveniences that you can find in a northern city, it just depends on what ends up working out best for their personal well-being.

The end of slavery marked the beginning of a new era in America called reconstruction, which sought the rebuild the nation after the damage from the Civil War. The Black American were most vulnerable during this time, as they were now just experiencing no longer being forced into slavery, and now got to make their own choices as to how their time would be spent. Many chose to pursue education. “Many teachers commented that their classrooms were filled with both young and old, grandfathers with their children and grandchildren, all eager to learn” (memory.loc.gov.) With their new-found independence, they chose to fill up their days becoming more educated. The benefit of doing this is that they are keeping themselves busy and adapting to their new opportunities. Had they not occupied their time, they would more severely feel the loss of what occupied their time before, which often involved working directly with nature. Also, now being recognized as more than just slaves, Black people also could find a place in the government. “African Americans became involved in politics not only as voters but also as governmental representatives at the local, state and national level” (memory.loc.gov.) Here we see how the expression people + place = politics. While Black people had been in the America for some time by then, it was the fact that they were now being treated more equally that they were able to become a legitimate part of the politics. When they were enslaved, there was no choice for them to become part of the political process that helps make decisions. Only after they were recognized did they have that accessible to them. Being able to adapt to their new freedom in a reconstructing America created great opportunity for African Americans to flip the script and create a new life for themselves outside of the agricultural setting that they were so used to, and by being recognized as more as slaves they could become part of the fabric of the government and then have more sway in creating policies to shape how the future would turn out than they had before when they were reduced to just tools for agriculture.


eco feminsim continued, non western perspective

Environmental degradation is a sad occurrence for our planet. However, not everyone carries that burden evenly. Women are often the ones who directly interact with nature more, gathering water, fuel, and food for the rest of the family. When the local water supply is damaged, the women are inconvenienced and must go further for fresh drinking water. The opportunity cost of going out of their way to retrieve such takes away from important activities like school, where women’s attendance goes up 12% just by having their water source 15 minutes closer. Essentially, women are expected to do just as much with less. They are expected to be able to support their family and community as they always have been despite environmental degradation robbing them of the natural resource to do so. Going out of their way to find these diminishing resources puts a strain on them and leaves them in danger. All the while, they have less time for other areas of life. Agarwal notes that their habitat being destroyed negatively affects their time, income, nutrition, health, social survival networks, and indigenous knowledge. While they are burdened with many chores putting them close to nature, the women shoulder a huge responsibility and as a result are very invested in the state of the natural world around them.



While all ecofeminism perspectives are a breath of fresh air, the difference between the western and the non-western perspective is that the non-western perspective directly looks at how the most disenfranchised are affected by environmental degradation. In the western world, we are often very removed from nature, because we are part of a culture where we don’t need to step out into it every day to procure the essentials for our families. We can easily go to the store for everything we need. If something is in short supply, it’s reflected by a higher price on the shelves. For those living in third world countries however, if something is not readily in supply they must go searching far and long for it. We are clearly disconnected from what is going on at the ground floor level where are goods are procured, so we aren’t as directly affected when something goes sour, because we don’t understand the full gravity of the implications and the hardships that follow.

Both the western and non-western ecofeminist perspectives have something to offer. We need to of course think of how women are oppressed in American society, and how we see those oppressions play out in the home, work and political sphere. Gender oppression and exorbitant consumption are abundant in our society, and they give way to justifications that allow them to remain the status quo. That is why it is so important to attack the ideas that got us here in the first place. If the ideas are dismantled, then we can rebuild our notions and design a world that is more inclusive and diversity. The diversity that we talk about in the United States is much different than the need for diversity in places such as India. One thing that Vandana Shiva advocates strongly for is biodiversity. In doing so, she is undermining big business incentives to grow cheap cash crops that are ridden with fertilizers and pesticide, instead opting that the best seeds and growing methods rely on nothing more than what’s already in your backyard. The move back to simple, indigenous agricultural practices emphasizes the need to let locals have more control in their community. It is them who should be tending to the crops as they are the ones who know the land and live directly off it. This method embraces diversity, allowing each farm to be diverse and wonderful as those who live on it, which in term helps produce clean, diverse food grown sustainably. Those like Shiva fighting on that behalf can feel good knowing that they are on the ground floor advocating for differences that have been proven to be successful biologically all long. On the western front, the attack is more ideological, and helps to transform the schools of thought that allows farms like those in India to be viewed monetarily, with no regard to the people living on them. As it’s been said, there is no correct, fully formed view of ecofeminism, so it’s important to encompass all existing ideas into a framework that can be used to enact change globally.


intro to ecofeminism

When trying to relate to ecofeminism, one recent issue we can look at is the me too movement. This movement really took off after some high profile celebrities made headlines after being accused of sexual misconduct. Like always, it was the men who were abusing the women. While it has unfortunately pretty much always been a way of life that women are mistreated by men in a position of power, whether that power is physical or by status and clout, what really made the me too movement shocking is just how many people stepped forward. The reaction was now not just sympathy toward the woman and shunning the man, but also shock at the fact that it was so prevalent but had been kept under wraps so well. While we knew this whole time what dangers men can pose towards women, we didn’t know just how acceptable it was to actually inflict harm. It almost seemed like it was to be expected, and it was just part of the package that you had not other option than to take. There was not justice to be found until they could all could unite and stand strong together. The me too moment really shone a light on the injustice that women face everyday, however it made it much more real and tangible by including people that you have heard about and highly regarded for years. It was a sobering moment for society, that such an ugly truth was right in front of us all along. In line with ecofeminism, we have to ask how it came to be, and more importantly, why it is still that way. If we are moving forward and time and trying to collectively be more conscious of the world we live in and help maintain, how could we allow these wrongdoings, resulting from an inequality we have all been aware of, exist so comfortably among the public figures we revere so much?

Ecofeminism is a way of both looking at both how we interact with each other and the world around us. When I think of feminism, my mind immediately goes towards issues like hot button issues like wage inequality and abortion, but after viewing the materials, I gather that its not that simple at all. Ecofeminism has to do more with how as a society we have the need to dominate instead of share. Especially in capitalist nations like U.S. we are taught to fend for yourself, earn what you can, and advocate for your own self interests. While that mindset has inspired many innovations and breakthroughs, it also has created clear winners and losers. We think about the short term gains we can achieve for ourselves even though they can be detrimental to the rest of society. When you take the ecofeminism approach at evaluating this, you realize that we do the same thing to nature that we do to nature. How often is it that companies conduct their business in a way that harms the environment all just to get a leg up on earning some short term profits? While the money is short lived, the damage to the environment often is not. That happens as a result of not thinking about the long term, all inclusive picture, but instead the here and now and just your own interests. The same attitude reflects on how we interact with each other, with males for the most part enjoying a playing field that they designed for their own benefit.

Warren’s conceptual connection was on that I found particularly interesting because it seemed like it really summed up what I am beginning to think about eco-feminism. In this Warren talked about how things are often pitted against each other, such as mind and body, culture and nature, and man and women. When put against each other, one of these always comes out on top. While one comes out on top, we then see that “Superiority justifies subordination.” So while we started off with two things that are different, men and women, it came to be that men were then put over women, and from that men held the upper hand and women were knocked down a peg. This isn’t something that we see people out right say, but we see it played out in every day life. Look at the expression “the man of the house.” That sums up patriarchy. While they both have roles, the man as the protector and woman as care giver, it is ultimately still the man’s house. This is something that people have come to accept because of conditioning, so even questioning it requires taking a step back and evaluating how being different could be deemed as better or worse.