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‘Ecofeminism and the Gendered Politics of Consumption’ Socialist Feminist Day School Christchurch 26 th April 2014 Sionainn Byrnes. 1. Focus Questions . 1. Focus Questions . - What’s the worst thing you can call a woman?. 1. Focus Questions .

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‘Ecofeminism and the Gendered Politics of Consumption’

Socialist Feminist Day School Christchurch

26th April 2014

Sionainn Byrnes

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1. Focus Questions

- What’s the worst thing you can call a woman?

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1. Focus Questions

- What’s the worst thing you can call a woman?

- What are some of the colloquial terms used to describe a woman’s body?

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1. Focus Questions

- What’s the worst thing you can call a woman?

- What are some of the colloquial terms used to describe a woman’s body?

slide7

Invectives and Colloquialisms Function According to 3 Types of Logic:

- ‘Animalized Slurs/Not a Human’

The B Word, The P Word, The C Word

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Invectives and Colloquialisms Function According to 3 Types of Logic:

- ‘Animalized Slurs/Not a Human’

The B Word, The P Word, The C Word

- ‘Not Masculine/Not a Man’

Feminist(!?)

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Invectives and Colloquialisms Function According to 3 Types of Logic:

- ‘Animalized Slurs/Not a Human’

The B Word, The P Word, The C Word

- ‘Not Masculine/Not a Man’

Feminist(!?)

- ‘Pejorative Reference to Sexuality/the Body’

Immodestly Sexual, Emotional, Hysterical, Anything Menstrual

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2. Ecofeminism

- Rooted in Second Wave Feminism, though more closely associated with critical theory

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2. Ecofeminism

- Rooted in Second Wave Feminism, though more closely associated with critical theory

- Intersectionality = tied or shared oppressions

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2. Ecofeminism

- Rooted in Second Wave Feminism, though more closely associated with critical theory

- Intersectionality = tied or shared oppressions

- Identifies (and to some extent embraces) the historical, metaphorical, and performative interrelationships between femininity and nonhuman nature

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“Drawing on the insights of ecology, feminism, and socialism, ecofeminism’s basic premise is that the ideology which authorizes oppressions such as those based on race, class, gender, sexuality, physical abilities, and species is the same ideology which sanctions the oppression of nature. Ecofeminism calls for an end to all oppressions, arguing that no attempt to liberate women (or any other oppressed group) will be successful without an equal attempt to liberate nature. Its theoretical base is a sense of self most commonly expressed by women and various other nondominant groups – a self that is interconnected with all life.”

-- Gaard (1993)

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“Drawing on the insights of ecology, feminism, and socialism, ecofeminism’s basic premise is that the ideology which authorizes oppressions such as those based on race, class, gender, sexuality, physical abilities, and species is the same ideology which sanctions the oppression of nature. Ecofeminism calls for an end to all oppressions, arguing that no attempt to liberate women (or any other oppressed group) will be successful without an equal attempt to liberate nature. Its theoretical base is a sense of self most commonly expressed by women and various other nondominant groups – a self that is interconnected with all life.”

-- Gaard (1993)

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“Drawing on the insights of ecology, feminism, and socialism, ecofeminism’s basic premise is that the ideologywhich authorizes oppressions such as those based on race, class, gender, sexuality, physical abilities, and species is the sameideology which sanctions the oppression of nature. Ecofeminism calls for an end to all oppressions, arguing that no attempt to liberate women (or any other oppressed group) will be successful without an equal attempt to liberate nature. Its theoretical base is a sense of self most commonly expressed by women and various other nondominant groups – a self that is interconnected with all life.”

-- Gaard (1993)

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“Drawing on the insights of ecology, feminism, and socialism, ecofeminism’s basic premise is that the ideology which authorizes oppressions such as those based on race, class, gender, sexuality, physical abilities, and species is the same ideology which sanctions the oppression of nature. Ecofeminism calls for an end to all oppressions, arguing that no attempt to liberate women (or any other oppressed group) will be successful without an equal attempt to liberate nature. Its theoretical base is a sense of self most commonly expressed by women and various other nondominant groups – a self that is interconnected with all life.”

-- Gaard (1993)

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3. Metanarratives

- Towards a Definition of Humanity

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3. Metanarratives

- Towards a Definition of Humanity

- Human/Animal and Culture/Nature

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3. Metanarratives

- Towards a Definition of Humanity

- Human/Animal and Culture/Nature

- Self/Other = Privileged Terms and Degraded Terms

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3. Metanarratives

- Towards a Definition of Humanity

- Human/Animal and Culture/Nature

- Self/Other = Privileged Terms and Degraded Terms

- The Ontological ‘I’

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3. Metanarratives

- Towards a Definition of Humanity

- Human/Animal and Culture/Nature

- Self/Other = Privileged Terms and Degraded Terms

- The Ontological ‘I’

- Progress necessitates/is predicated on domination

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3. Metanarratives

- Towards a Definition of Humanity

- Human/Animal and Culture/Nature

- Self/Other = Privileged Terms and Degraded Terms

- The Ontological ‘I’

- Progress necessitates/is predicated on domination

- Ecofeminism deconstructs metanarratives and challenges binaries

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“The major attack against ecofeminism, however, has been that it allegedly claims that women possess an essential nature – a biological connection or a spiritual affinity with nature that men do not.”

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“The major attack against ecofeminism, however, has been that it allegedly claims that women possess an essential nature – a biological connection or a spiritual affinity with nature that men do not.”

“The very idea of one group of persons being ‘closer to nature’ than another is a ‘construct of culture.’ ”

-- Birkeland 1993

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“The major attack against ecofeminism, however, has been that it allegedly claims that women possess an essential nature – a biological connection or a spiritual affinity with nature that men do not.”

“The very idea of one group of persons being ‘closer to nature’ than another is a ‘construct of culture.’ ”

-- Birkeland 1993

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4. Binaries/Dichotomies

- Self/Other, Subject/Object, Man/Woman, Human/Animal, Culture/Nature

slide30

4. Binaries/Dichotomies

- Self/Other, Subject/Object, Man/Woman, Human/Animal, Culture/Nature

- Epistemological Precedent by which all other qualities and behaviours are valued/ negatively constituted

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4. Binaries/Dichotomies

- Self/Other, Subject/Object, Man/Woman, Human/Animal, Culture/Nature

- Epistemological Precedent by which all other qualities and behaviours are valued/ negatively constituted

  • - Historic associations different for white women (pure, benevolent) and women of colour (animalized, fetishized, wild) - Invokes other binaries like virgin/whore
slide33

5. Intersecting Oppressions

- P.E.T.A (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)

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5. Intersecting Oppressions

- P.E.T.A (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)

- Micro-aggressions stem from failure to understand and critically engage with intersectionality, thus perpetuating a broader scheme of oppression

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5. Intersecting Oppressions

- P.E.T.A (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)

- Micro-aggressions stem from failure to understand and critically engage with intersectionality, thus perpetuating a broader scheme of oppression

- P.E.T.A advertisements necessarily work within the parameters of a capitalist society

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5a. Contemporary Feminist Issues

- Rape Culture

- Commodification of Female Bodies

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5a. Contemporary Feminist Issues

- Rape Culture

- Commodification of Female Bodies

- Reproductive Rights

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5b. Animal Welfare

- Industrial Meat Production/Consumption

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5b. Animal Welfare

- Industrial Meat Production/Consumption

- Meat Packaging

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5b. Animal Welfare

- Industrial Meat Production/Consumption

- Meat Packaging

- Exploitation of Female Bodies

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6. Shared Sites of Oppression

Systematic Oppression of Women and Others

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6. Shared Sites of Oppression

Systematic Oppression of Women and Others

Systematic Oppression of Nonhuman Nature

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6. Shared Sites of Oppression

Systematic Oppression of Women and Others

Systematic Oppression of Nonhuman Nature

Intersecting Oppressions in Practice

slide52

6. Shared Sites of Oppression

- Colonization of ‘Virgin’ Landscapes

slide54

6. Shared Sites of Oppression

- Colonization of ‘Virgin’ Landscapes

- Domestic Violence

slide57

6. Shared Sites of Oppression

- Colonization of ‘Virgin’ Landscapes

- Domestic Violence

- Industrial Working Conditions

slide61

Blood, Sweat, and Fear: Workers’ Rights in U.S. Meat and Poultry Plants

- Limb Loss

- RSI

- Workers’ Organization Disincentivized/ Claims Delayed

slide62

Blood, Sweat, and Fear: Workers’ Rights in U.S. Meat and Poultry Plants

- Limb Loss

- RSI

- Workers’ Organization Disincentivized/ Claims Delayed

- Migrant Workers

slide63

6. Shared Sites of Oppression

- Colonization of ‘Virgin’ Landscapes

- Domestic Violence

- Industrial Working Conditions

- Cosmetics Industry

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6. Shared Sites of Oppression

- Colonization of ‘Virgin’ Landscapes

- Domestic Violence

- Industrial Working Conditions

- Cosmetics Industry

- Environmental Degradation

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6. Shared Sites of Oppression

- Colonization of ‘Virgin’ Landscapes

- Domestic Violence

- Industrial Working Conditions

- Cosmetics Industry

- Environmental Degradation

- Racism

slide70

6. Shared Sites of Oppression

- Colonization of ‘Virgin’ Landscapes

- Domestic Violence

- Industrial Working Conditions

- Cosmetics Industry

- Environmental Degradation

- Racism

- Pornography

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6. Shared Sites of Oppression

- Colonization of ‘Virgin’ Landscapes

- Domestic Violence

- Industrial Working Conditions

- Cosmetics Industry

- Environmental Degradation

- Racism

- Pornography

- LGBQT+

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6. Shared Sites of Oppression

- Colonization of ‘Virgin’ Landscapes

- Domestic Violence

- Industrial Working Conditions

- Cosmetics Industry

- Environmental Degradation

- Racism

- Pornography

- LGBQT+

- Commodification of Menstrual Cycle and Disposal of Sanitary Items

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7. Challenging Metanarratives

- According to Poststructuralism/Critical Theory, Theory is Practice

slide79

7. Challenging Metanarratives

- According to Poststructuralism/Critical Theory, Theory is Practice

- Theory and Practice another binary?

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7. Challenging Metanarratives

- According to Poststructuralism/Critical Theory, Theory is Practice.

- Theory and Practice another binary?

- Is it enough to think differently? What about real life?

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7. Challenging Metanarratives

- According to Poststructuralism/Critical Theory, Theory is Practice.

- Theory and Practice another binary?

- Is it enough to think differently? What about real life?

- What kind of worlds/forms of social organization can we envision and enact by challenging these metanarratives?

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9. Discussion

  • Is ecofeminism theoretically/practically viable? Thoughts? Critiques?
  • Should all feminists be environmentally active/conscious? Should all environmentalists be feminists?
  • Is ecofeminism too Eurocentric? Does it apply outside of Western culture?
  • Can we consume animals in an egalitarian society? Is ethical consumption accessible to everyone?
  • Would our values change if we thought of humans in nature, rather than the binary humans and nature?
  • Is it okay to use words like The B Word etc.? Can we successfully hijack them, or do they need to be avoided?
  • How will advances in technology affect these dynamics?