Rosemary Tong (1989). Feminist Thought. Boulder: Westview.
(Proposed) Chapter Nine: Ecofeminism
Ecofeminism, as its name suggests, exists at the zone of intersection of the feminist and the environmental movements. Because some degree of environmentalist sympathy is widespread among feminists in general, it is likely that most feminists would identify themselves to some degree with some of the ideas of ecofeminism. But ecofeminism offers its own distinctive perspective, or more precisely a range of perspectives linked together by a common concern for the environment, for the place of women in the environment, and for the influence of the environment upon women.
Our language links women and the environment together in many ways. "Mother nature" is an ancient cliche, while it has become a contemporary cliche to refer to the "rape" of the environment. The link between nature and women works in the other direction as well, and an ancient pedigree exists for arguments holding that it is "woman's nature" to be knocked up and barefoot.
Yet if "nature" is not infrequently associated with the repression of women, nature has also been associated with female power and capability. The female connotation of nature thus has two faces. Ecofeminism may be likewise regarded as having two faces, one face directed toward the female element of nature itself--including perhaps one element in what may be called "Goddess" feminism--and another face directed toward the reality of the oppression of women, particularly Third World women, as intimately linked to the larger process of environmental destruction and degradation.
Contemporary ecofeminism thus joins diverse groups, who may have come to their perspectives along quite varying routes. For some, ecofeminism was a response to the challenge of radical feminism in the 1970s. For others, it was an alternative perhaps to Marxist feminism, based on a recognition that the characteris...