Ecofeminist Environmental Ethics

Ecofeminism is connection between the domination of women and the domination of nonhuman nature. In Karen J. Warren’s essay, The Power and the Promise of Ecological Feminism, she discusses the connections and developments of feminism and environmental ethics and believes that the degradation and exploitation of the environment is similar to the oppression of women. Warren believes that hierarchical logic is the root cause of both patriarchy and environmental exploitation. Traditionally, women are identified with nature and physical while men are identified with the mental and human. The realm of mental is superior to that of the physical, and therefore women are inferior to men. This archaic notion led to the subordination of women by men. Warren’s Ecofeminism focuses on respecting the differences between women and men and the differences between humans and nature. Such differences do not presuppose that one is superior to the other. She states that the use of first-person narrative is important to feminism and environmental ethics, for she believes that it creates a relationship and conceives a relationship with the “other.” Warren also believes that a first person narrative “provides a way of conceiving ethics and ethical meaning as emerging out of particular situations moral agents find themselves in, rather than as being imposed on those situations” (287). Lastly, by using a first person narrative, she states that it creates an argumentative advantage, for the argument has more force if it personal. WhenImage forming a feminist ethic, Warren believes that nothing can become part of the feminist ethic, but rather interwoven. A feminist ethic emerges from the voices of people from historically different and pluralistic situations. A pattern of voices will them emerge from the perspectives of oppressed persons. She believes that if a bias is developed, this will be the better bias for it is inclusive of the oppressed. Finally, her feminist ethic provides “a central place for values typically unnoticed, underplayed, or misrepresented in traditional ethics” (290), and does not view ethics as being gender free. Warren ultimately believes that an interconnection between feminism and environmental ethics can lead to an understanding of the dominant nature towards women and the environment and the solution for ending this oppression.

            I believe that Warren’s connection between women’s oppression and the dominance of the environment can lead back to religious beliefs and teachings from the bible. As stated earlier by Christian theologian Linzey and the observations made by White, Christianity as well as other religions, promote the subordination of women as well as dominance over the world. Thus, such treatment of women and the environment has stemmed back from thousands of years. Men continue to reinforce the idea that they are better than women due to their strength or even societal beliefs that men are more logical and women are more emotional. Yet, there is no true basis for these beliefs. The fact of the matter is that we are different from men and nature is different from humans. Difference and the unknown have always caused fear in men, for it threatened their belief that they were the conquerors. Warren made an interesting point this notion of “difference” her essay, but her execution of shaping a feminist ethic and environmental ethics was often confusing, as her descriptions became wordy and some of her points seemed irrelevant.

Question: Does Ecofeminism hold too much of a bias? Can only women relate? Could this ever pose as a worldview?

About dripley91

Senior at Fordham University. Environmental Policy Major and Sustainable Business Minor
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