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Saturday, April 16, 2016

Ecofeminism: Where Animal Rights and Women’s Rights Intersect



Gender theorists and a score of different types of scientists, from evolutionary theorists and climatologists have weighed in on how their chosen field of concentration affects both society and the world as a whole. The conversation about ecofeminism, however, is about the intersectionality of human and animal rights. Many of us are seeking changes in the world and society that we live in. We look for the end of hunger, for young girls to have the guarantee of a good education in a world where the shocking majority of illiterate are women, we seek to end the needless torture of countless animals whose worth has incorrectly been defined by our palates.

It is difficult to face the issue of speciesism without taking into consideration how the oppression entailed there compares to the oppression handed down by a patriarchal society. Part of the commentary of feminism responds to a common thread or feeling that some women share; the feeling that misogynists have treated them as though they are little more than a slab of meat. Using this tragically commonplace and damaging correlation between women and “meat” alone draws the parallels that ecofeminism and its adherents fight to shake free from.

The aim of feminist pursuits is a peaceful coexistence which directly calls for equality between genders regardless of association, but how can we deny the equal rights of non-human creatures in this pursuit of equality? As feminists, we fight the exploitation paradigms that we live under, and as ecofeminists, we strive to include all life in the harmony of equality. Part of the separation of genders as prescribed by modern society is a holdover from previous generations: The hunt, or rather, the act of hunting, particularly by men, particularly hunting animals thought of as dangerous, proving their masculinity. Not only are males expected to take part in these activities, societal pressures equates the death of innocent creatures with a concept of masculinity as arcane as they come.

The uncomfortable truth is that the majority of hunting in North America takes place not for sustenance, but for sport. The taxidermy industry quietly thrives on the steady flow of carcasses murdered and claimed in the name of masculine pursuit, just as the struggles of the modern woman are paralleled by this. Women today, too, often feel “hunted”, as more report stalking behavior and other unwanted attention, and the struggle of feeling like prey simply by walking to a vehicle in a dark parking lot prevails.

Our duties to be kind and loving to our fellow creatures knows no bound, but in practice, we human beings tend to leave much to be wanted. Think of your faithful pet, and the joy and love they bring to your lives. What if it were that simple for all of us to bring joy and love into the lives of all we encounter? Animals are our greatest teachers. Let us look to them for inspiration in loving kindness.


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