“The hatred of women and the hatred of nature are intimately connected and mutually reinforcing”
Ynestra King is a pioneering ecofeminist writer, teacher, activist and mother living in New York City.
Her work, since the 1970s, has stressed the connectedness and wholeness of theory and practice, particularly between ecologism and feminism.
She set out, in her 1989 essay ‘The Ecology of Feminism and the Feminism of Ecology’, the particular relevance of environmental issues to women.
“All human beings are natural beings. That may seem like an obvious fact, yet we live in a culture that is founded on the repudiation and domination of nature”, (1) she wrote.
She explained that patriarchy regarded women as closer to nature than men and thus, from its naturaphobic perspective, as inferior.
Ecologists in general needed to understand this connection within the toxic industrial capitalist mindset: “The hatred of women and the hatred of nature are intimately connected and mutually reinforcing”. (2)
King explained that ecofeminism not only challenged the dualistic belief that nature and culture were separate and opposed, but also found misogyny at the root of that opposition.
She listed four key ecofeminist principles:
1. Industrial civilization reinforces the subjugation of women.
2. Life on earth is an interconnected web, not a hierarchy. There is no such thing as a natural hierarchy.
3. Diversity and decentralization are key to a healthy eco-system, including humans and non-humans.
4. The survival of the species requires an overcoming of the nature-culture dualism and an appreciation of human belonging to nature.
King wrote that rather than seeking positions of power within the patriarchal industrial system, ecofeminists chose not to participate in that system and thus sever the woman-nature connection. Instead they envisaged a free ecological society.
She has also often stressed the links between anti-militarism and ecofeminism. She wrote: “Particularly as shaped by ecofeminism, the feminist anti-militarist movement in the United States and Europe is a movement against a monstrously destructive technology and set of power relationships embodied in militarism”. (3)
1. Ynestra King, ‘The Ecology of Feminism and the Feminism of Ecology’, https://nr15s.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/ecofeminism.pdf