Issue 30: Rejoicing in The Eco-Feminine

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It is important to rejoice in the eco-feminine! To savour its nurturance and wisdom, to dignify its value in these times of climate change, to respect its persistence and grit. We need to go beyond an apologetic ” this is all that I am able to do” , and celebrate the connection between ecology and the feminine as an idea whose time has come.

This is a great quote from Paul Goodman:
“Suppose you had the revolution you are talking and dreaming about. Suppose your side had won, and you had the kind of society you wanted. How would you live, you personally, in that society? Start living that way now!

These words seem to be meant precisely for the situation we find ourselves in. When the powerful forces dominate and the exploited or undervalued feel helpless, it makes more sense to live out one’s beliefs; even if many are called and are needed to fight, resist, try to change laws or policies or whatever, a larger part of our population can contribute in eco-feminine ways.

I am not talking about a revolution, a feminism that pits men against women, but a revolution that fights the masculine as a principle dominating the feminine.

The feminine principle gives importance to nurturance, processes, gathering, relationships, softness, the sacred, diversity, inclusion and fulfillment. The masculine principle values acquisition, products, hunting, conquest, aggression, toughness and achievement.

Certainly both men and women manifest both sets of qualities in various combinations, but on the whole we see that men act from the masculine principle more and women from the feminine. In many of the popular languages of the world, Nature and Earth are feminine. We talk of Mother Earth, Ganga Maiya, Kaveri Mata etc. Perhaps because of being the ones who give birth to children, perhaps because they are the ones who stayed home to collect and prepare food or perhaps because of genetic programming, women seem to be closer to Nature.

But despite the fact that both Nature and women are essential for human beings, patriarchy became the norm in most civilisations. Women’s role is secondary to that of men even today in areas where power rules the roost – especially in politics and governance. The dominant patriarchal culture has colonized our minds and in both blatant and subtle ways, both women, most men and Nature are in a similar relationship with respect to the world of with respect to the world of development, technology, economics and politics today. The relationship is one of subservience to a masculine principle.

And in reaction to this masculine world, both men and women are looking at macro issues, writing books, fighting in courts of law, organizing campaigns and attempting to restore ecological, individual and social wellbeing in many ways. Resistance of all kinds is arising spontaneously around the world. But also needed is a cultural renaissance, where men and women own up the feminine that is part of our every day lives – owning up responsibility for wholesome and non-chemicalised food, re-building communities, valuing simplicity and wellbeing, caring for Nature and natural resources we use.

The theme of this issue is the Eco-Feminine and we have presented many articles that elaborate on the connection between ecology, women, and sometimes feminism.

Seetha Ananthasivan

Some of the articles in the issue. (Click on title to view the article)

  1. Growing importance of Eco Feminism
  2. Women: The Unsung Heroes of the Environment
  3. In Search of a New Ethic to live by
  4. Women Tales from Tehri – Garhwal
  5. Piplantri Story
  6. Thank the Women Farmers

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