Eco-feminismEcofeminism, or ecological feminism, a philosophy and movement born from the union of feminist and ecological thinking, believes that the social mentality that leads to the domination and oppression of women is directly connected to the social mentality that leads to the environmental abuse of our planet. It combines eco-anarchism or bioregional democracy with a strong ideal of feminism. Typically its advocates emphasize moving back to small eco-villages of 100-140 people, which studies in anthropology argue are historically the most stable and prevalent in human societies. In both the traditional and modern feminist ideal of such villages, women are often the only landlords or land-owners, and property may be inherited only maternally, i.e. in a matriarchy. Some anthropologists think that in practice traditional cultures were only rarely matriarchal.
However, because of the extreme convergence between real or imagined historical village societies, eco-feminist ideals and pagan practices, sometimes these projects are seen as a form of primitivism. But, this is an oversimplification, as many feminists see a substantial role for modern technologies (including those invented by men, who are welcome as inventors, engineers, traders, and also sperm contributors) in the creation and operation of such villages. Solar power, for instance, is seen by most as a way to stay off 'the grid', which is seen as more important than not relying on poisonous industrial processes or materials. The ecology movement is itself split on issues like this, so it is not central to eco-feminism to debate appropriate technology. Although, it is likely that intermediate technology would be preferred in general, if an eco-feminist movement sought to spread into developing nations quickly.
A central argument in eco-feminism is that male ownership of land has led to a dominator culture, manifesting itself in food export, over-grazing, tragedy of the commons and a land ethic that amounts to land abuse. Colonization is viewed as akin to rape by more extreme eco-feminists, who also have equally harsh things to say about games such as golf or bobsledding that inherently require destruction of ecologies to be 'played' - and were historically played only by men.
Scientists generally dismiss ecofeminism as neither feminism nor ecology; most feminists are not part of the radical fringe, and have heavilly criticised the radical and anti-science turn that ecofeminism has taken. Feminist writer Janet Bihel has written:
- The early radical feminism of the late 1960s and early 1970s which most inspires me - called for the equality of women in every aspect of social and domestic life. The more radical feminists who initiated that movement recognized that the full equality of women could not be achieved without far-reaching changes in all structures of society. By contrast, ecofeminism's sweeping but highly confused cosmology introduces magic, goddesses, witchcraft, privileged quasi-biological traits, irrationalities, Neolithic atavisms, and mysticism into a movement that once tried to gain the best benefits of the Enlightenment and the most valuable features of civilization for women, on a par with thinking and humane men. What were once seen by progressive thinkers as the general goals of humanity as a whole, to be attained without any gender restrictions, have been dissolved by ecofeminists into a body of vague parochial notions focused overwhelmingly on women's allegedly special quasi-biological traits and a mystical relationship that they presumably have with nature - a "nature" conceived as an all-nurturing and domestic Great Mother. This highly disparate body of hazy, poorly formulated notions, metaphors, and irrational analogies invites women to take a step backward to an era whose consciousness was permeated by myths and by mystifications of reality. It does not bode well for women - especially those who regard themselves as more than creatures of their sexuality - to follow in this regressive path." (Source: Rethinking Eocfeminist Politics Janet Biehl
Ecofeminist writers are, for instance, Françoise d'Eaubonne (who introduced the term ecofeminism in 1974), Susan Griffin (author of the ecofeminist classic Woman and Nature: The Roaring Inside Her, 1978), Petra Kelly (who popularized the union between feminism and ecology), Vandana Shiva, Charlene Spretnak, Carolyn Merchant, Rosemary Radford Ruether, Ynestra King, Starhawk, Maria Mies, Marilyn Waring (MP3 audio of her film "Sex, Lies and Global Economics" is available here), etc.
See also: Green movement