Bodies

Image result for abortion and the environment

As a woman, I enjoy the freedom of choosing what to do and what not to do with my body. This is why I completely support Hawkins’ ecofeminist account on abortion. Hawkins says in the article, “Reproductive Choices: The Ecological Dimension”, that abortion is not often linked to the environment, but that in fact abortion has a great impact on population control. Hawkins’ explanation is that we are overpopulated and that we keep harming nature, our animals for example. As we discussed in the previous week, we harm animals by consuming them and putting them through torture. Hawkins says that abortion helps to reduce this problem and that even though we are growing too fast, there have been millions of abortions done throughout the years, which has slowed down population growth. Therefore, abortion is a good method and women should be allowed to do it not only because it’s our body, but because it has a direct positive impact on our environment.Image result for abortion

Hawkins also challenges the meaning of “prolife” by saying that the “prochoice” position is more deserving of the adjective “prolife” because when we take into consideration all the positive effects of abortion on the environment, we see that abortion is a way of living better lives by being less crowded and saving our natural resources. Hawkins also says that some people argue that by having an abortion, we are disconnecting ourselves from our nature. His response to this is that part of our nature as humans is having autonomy, which means that we get to make our own decisions based on what’s more beneficial for us and for others, including reproduction. So far, the topic of abortion has been the most obvious comparison between women and nature, and I say this because there have been topics that I really had to take my time to understand the relationship between the specific topic and women and nature. However, abortion is so closely related to women and nature because pregnancy comes from our human nature and us women have the privilege of giving life. But, when we decide that we don’t want to give life, we are labeled as murderers and as being “disconnected from our own nature”. Part of our nature is doing what it takes to survive, and abortion can be considered a survival method if we look at it from an environmental perspective.Image result for disposal of wastes

One of the most problematic environmental issues right now is the disposal of wastes. Tons of trash is disposed in the river and sea waters, which not only dirties our planet, but also puts our species in danger. Another negative effect of waste disposal is the “adverse impact on health, infant mortality and the birth rate” (Your Article Library). This problem is often caused by industrialization and urbanization. Urban areas are often crowded, so abortions can help reduce this problem by controlling the number of people in the world. Less people means less trash and less trash means less deaths for both humans and non-human animals.

Annotated Bibliography

5 Major Environmental Problems– Discussed! (2014, March 25). Retrieved from http://www.yourarticlelibrary.com/environment/5-major-environmental-problems-discussed/31434

This article discusses five different environmental problems, one of them being the disposal of wastes. The other four problems discussed were ozone depletion (global warming), desertification, deforestation, and the loss of biodiversity. For each of them, the article explains what it is and how it is affecting the earth. The article also gives examples of everyday living that negatively affects the environment.

Women-Nature Association

from Rachel Krantz.JPG

In this image, we can see Adams’ analysis of women and animals “wanting it”. The image has a burger with female legs sticking out of it and it says “eat me”, which is suggesting that the burger is desiring to be eaten and it’s tempting you to do it. Adding the female legs means that the same thing can be said about a woman. Also, a burger has meat, which one more time proves Adams’ point of category “not A” being easily accessible to the white male. This idea of “wanting it” takes responsibility away from the white male and gives them the green light to be inappropriate. Something else that I noticed about this image is that by having the burger as the face and only showing the legs, this advertisement is taking away the identity of women and selling them as a piece of meat. Also, the words “late nite menu” are an indicative of sex because as we know, we associate night with sex.ludacris copy.jpg

In this image, we see something similar to the image above with the leg without a face, taking away the woman’s identity. We also see a black man being portrayed as a beast by his facial expression and the way he is grabbing the woman’s leg. There is more meat and food around, which makes the woman’s leg appear as just another food. Even though the black man looks like a beast, he is still in control of the woman and the food, and again we see that the woman “wants it” because she is showing her leg in a sexy way. If we really pay attention to this image, we will notice that there is a small image of a chicken with women-like breasts on the top right. The chicken is posing in a sexy way and has hoop earrings on, which one more time shows a relationship between non-human animals and women.Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 9.07.55 AM.png

In this image, we see a woman divided by parts as if she was to be sold. Some of the parts are breast, thigh, and neck. The way the woman is posing reminds me of a painting from the male gaze period. She is posing as if she was an exhibition, and the division of her parts is commodifying her body. Again, like I mentioned in the images above, the way she is posing looks like she is inviting the man in to do as he pleases with her. This again, is showing that women “want it”. I keep pointing this out because this is something that I didn’t know about before and I keep noticing it in every image on this topic. If we look into this image carefully, we will also notice that the woman is placed on top of an object (not sure what it is) as if she was the object being displayed. This image, just like the other two above, is showing women and non-human animals as the consumed and the men as the consumerIllustration by Nathaniel Gold.

This image relates directly to the section in Adams’ reading about non-human animals being presented as whores. “Such ads, Adams notes, suggest that not only do women promiscuously want sex, but the same desire is applicable to others in the ‘Not A’ category – nonhuman animals” (The Pornography of Meat). This means that these type of ads are allowed because they are not directly showing women, instead they are using animals, but the ad is still referring to women. However, no one will care that a monkey is being portrayed as a whore, but if it was a woman it would be a bigger issue, but this still doesn’t take away from the fact that this ad is directed towards women. So, we continue to do this with animals because animals and women are associated with promiscuity and this way we can “enjoy the degradation of women without being honest about it.”

Annotated Bibliography

Johnson, E. M. (2013, December 4). When Are Women Most Likely to Be Promiscuous? Retrieved from https://slate.com/technology/2013/12/female-promiscuity-in-primates-when-do-women-have-multiple-partners.html

This source is about promiscuity among females of different species and it relates it back to human females. This reading mentions some of Darwin’s theories on sexual selection and it agrees with some of them and disagrees with others. What I noticed in this reading was that women and non-human females are expected to only be with one man or with very few men during their lifetime, but the facts are that women are as sexual as men. This reading says that men are usually thought of as the ones to have several partners, but the truth is that women can do the same. This reading also points out different times during a woman’s life when she is most sexual, including pregnancy. This part caught my attention because pregnant women are often viewed as non-sexual, but the truth is that women pregnant women are highly sexual.

 

Vegetarian Ecofeminism

The first thing that I noticed about this image is that the human-like figure who is cutting the meat is not identified. We do not know if it is a woman or a man or what the person looks like in general. To me, this meant lack of emotion, and it also shows that this is a normal thing, so it does not matter who is doing it because this is a common practice. The body pose that the figure is exhibiting shows domination over the meat, and this can be perceived through the foot on the board and the two knives. One of the knives looks like it is killing the meat, and the knife being held by the figure is cutting it up for consumption. At first glance, this looks like just tasty meat with no issues around it. This is because this meat has been cleaned and the animal itself is not known, but if we were to see the process through which this specific animal was killed, then we would not see it as such a normal thing.

In the article by Curtin for this week, we learned that ecofeminists perceive non-human animals and our relation to them as a matter of culture. Curtin says that the Japanese have a ritual to honor the insects that are killed during rice planting. This is their way of paying their respects to insects and acknowledging that insects are valuable and that there is a connection between humans and insects. He also says that the Ihalmiut do not practice vegetarianism, but they thank the deer for giving its life so that they can eat. This is “reflective of a serious, focused, compassionate attitude toward the ‘gift’ of a meal” (Curtin). In this part of the world, however, we do not even think about where the meat came from. We consume meat on a regular basis without thinking of the suffering that the animal had to go through in order for us to feed our families.

The ecofeminist perception that I personally liked the most by Curtin was the comparison between women and non-human animals. He gave the example of pornographic representations of women as “‘meat’ ready to be carved up.” This means that women are treated as simple flesh without emotions and feelings and that they are just there to be used however men want. This is what we do to non-human meat, we do not care about the suffering and we just see it as an object, like the meat on the cutting board in the image. Curtin also points out that not only do we use the term “meat” to dehumanize women, but that we also use it to associate it with men’s strength and masculinity. “Men, athletes and soldiers in particular, are associated with red meat and activity (‘To have muscle you need to eat muscle’).”

In Gaard’s case, she defines ecofeminist perception of non-human animals and our relation to them in terms of the language used toward women and other oppressed people. Examples of this are words like “bitch”, “pussy”, “bird-brain”, “old bat”, and “beaver”, which are all derogatory terms used to refer to women. There are other non-human animal terms used to refer to people of color and Jews like “jungle bunnies” and “vermin”. What Gaard is trying to explain is that we think of animals as an underclass, putting us humans at the top. For this reason, we use those terms to refer to our “underclass” humans. This is not just a problem of women and nature, this is also a problem of racism, classism, sexism, and speciesism. All of these isms represent “different faces of the same system.”

An example of a gendered food is yogurt. Yogurt is associated with women and femininity. Another example of a gendered food is steak. Steak is associated with men and masculinity. I read, by Paul Freedman, on the article, “Steak for the gentleman, salad for the lady: How foods came to be gendered”, that this disparity began when women gained access to the workforce and began to eat with other women and not so much with their husbands and families anymore. This developed a new perception that certain foods were more appropriate for women, like fish, white meat, and cottage cheese. It is astonishing to learn the history of this social construct because I have always asked myself, “Who comes up with these outrageous ideas about men and women having to act differently?”.

Annotated Bibliography

Freedman, P. (2019, December 31). Steak for the gentleman, salad for the lady: How foods came to be gendered.

This article is about the disparity between men and women in terms of foods. Freedman says that men and women are expected to eat different foods because, according to society, there are foods that are more appropriate for women and other foods that are more appropriate for men. He goes on to explain where this idea comes from, he explains that this comes from the era when women were finally allowed to work and they began to eat with their female friends and were away from their husbands and families for part of the time. This created a new concept that led people to think that food should be separated by genders. This relates directly to the topic “Vegetarian Ecofeminism” because it teaches us where this idea of gendered foods emerged from in the United States.

 

Understanding Place

This image to me represents freedom because it looks like a peaceful place where you would go to relax. This is also my favorite season, summer. I really like the colors in this image. Summer is a colorful season with all the flowers, the nice ocean water, and the bright sun. It also represents culture for me because where I come from, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, this is the type of weather that we have over there. The two islands are always bright with nice, hot weather. This is part of my culture because this is what makes the Caribbean so unique from every other place.

Williams’ bedrock of democracy, in the case of nature, means having laws that protect the wilderness and all of our natural resources and respecting and following those laws. This landscape functions as Williams’ bedrock of democracy because it is well conserved. This tells us that this specific place is considered important and it is respected by the authorities and the people in general. Williams mentions that there were people who were unhappy with the way that the Clinton administration cared for our natural resources. When Bush became President, people had the hope that he would have a better interpretation of the law and the importance of natural resources. This image that I chose reflects the appreciation of nature, the application of the law, and the unanimous decision to maintain the place.

I agree with Kingsolver that we need wildness because of obvious reasons like watersheds that provide clean drinking water, the wildness filters and cleans the air we breathe, and there are animals that call the wildness their home. We need wildness in order to take care of our basic human needs. If you are a city dweller, you can still experience a connection with the earth and your history by educating yourself on nature. Also, a good way of connecting with the earth is by taking the time to visit the wildness and spending some time observing it and breathing in the fresh air. This can help you gain a new perspective of nature and its importance. Even within the city we can connect with nature by going to the zoo, visiting a garden, and/or working on your own backyard.

Annotated Bibliography

Barbara Kingsolver. “Knowing Our Place”.

http://www.pbs.org/now/printable/transcript_smallwonder_print.html

“Why Protect Wilderness”.

https://www.wilderness.org/articles/article/why-protect-wilderness

Terry Tempest Williams. “Home Work”.

https://umassd.umassonline.net/bbcswebdav/pid-1486221-dt-content-rid-14847524_1/courses/D2930-12852_MASTER/Scanned%20from%20a%20Xerox%20multifunction%20device001%283%29.pdf

What is Ecofeminism? Continued

In Africa, women and girls are directly affected by the lack of safe drinking water and the lack of sanitation and hygiene. They are mainly responsible for collecting water, which puts them at a greater disadvantage because this task is very hard and time-consuming. Also, they are exposed to sexual abuse while walking to use the toilet. In addition to that, women have certain hygiene needs during menstruation, pregnancy, and child rearing. In other words, this problem affects females more than it affects anyone else.

In the reading by Agarwal, we learn about a different ecofeminist perspective, a non-western perspective. Agarwal says that western society, the United States specifically, explains ecofeminism in terms of ideology. She suggests that in order to end the division between men and women and nature and culture, we must analyze this issue further. For example, “it is critical to examine the underlying basis of women’s relationship with the nonhuman world at levels other than ideology (such as through the work women and men do and the gender division of property and power)” (p. 123). This means that the concept that we have in the United States empowers gender division because by saying that women are more related to nature because of biological factors and that men are more related to culture, we are affirming that this is something that cannot be changed because this is the way it is, period.

Agarwal explains that we need to end this idea that we have created by integrating women into culture and men into nature because although women are certainly biologically closer to nature, that does not mean that we are disconnected from culture and that men are disconnected from nature. In other words, western society has defined ecofeminism in a way that promotes the problem instead of ending it. I agree 100% with the non-western perspective of ecofeminism because the point of creating a movement is to provoke change, not to keep dealing with the same issues. Therefore, the western perspective, although it has some good points, is lacking in this part because it is creating more division between the genders. Also, Agarwal makes a great point about defining ecofeminism in terms of class, gender, race, ecological zones, and castes.

I liked this part because the other readings that I have come across about ecofeminism all define this movement only in terms of gender. However, we should be looking at women as a whole and not only as female vs. male. This raises the point that not all women are the same, therefore, not all women face the same types of issues when it comes to nature. The types of issues a woman faces are greatly affected by where she comes from, her skin color, her economic status, etc. For example, women in India are more affected by the destruction of nature because they get most of their food to feed their families from nature. These women have an even bigger attachment to nature because of their ecological zone, class and caste. On the other hand, a woman that lives in the United States and has more access to goods, is not going to have the same attachment to nature, but she might relate to nature in a different way.

What is Ecofeminism?

The image above shows a tree trunk in the form of a woman symbolizing mother nature. What I perceived from this image was submissiveness because the woman is looking down and does not look too happy; she looks sad and subjugated. Ecofeminism is a feminist and environmental theory that brings these two together because “ecofeminism asserts that all forms of oppression are connected and that structures of oppression must be addressed in their totality. Oppression of the natural world and of women by patriarchal power structures must be examined together or neither can be confronted fully” (Hobgood-Oster). As we know, women have been controlled by men since the beginning of time, and although there have been some changes, we still live under patriarchal domination. Similarly, nature has been controlled and damaged by men, and it relates to feminism because for example, the term mother nature, is a feminine term that automatically ties nature to women. Why is this? Well, women are always expected to be beautiful and delicate, and nature is beautiful and delicate, so we relate nature back to women because if it was defined in a masculine way, then people would think of nature as strong and powerful and this takes away from the beauty because men are not associated with beauty.

According to Hobgood-Oster, ecofeminism became the theory of feminism and environmentalism in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Some people say that ecofeminism is a third wave of feminism, while others say that it’s more ecological than feminist. The truth is that ecofeminism addresses both issues, and ecofeminist theorists say that one issue cannot be addressed without addressing the other because they go hand in hand with each other. Ecofeminism does not challenge individuals, it challenges social structures that allow the domination of women and nature. Basically, ecofeminism is worried about dismantling patriarchal divides like male/female, mind/body, culture/nature, human/animal, spirit/matter, heaven/earth, and white/non/white. These divides come from patriarchy and divide humanity against itself.

Karen Warren identifies eight connections between women and nature, and one of the connections that interested me the most was the symbolic connection. Warren says that many times women are described in animal terms like bitches, pussycats, and serpents. This is supposed to reflect women’s inferiority and the feminizing of nature. Nature is also described in sexual terms like raped, mastered, conquered, and mined. These terms reflect the patriarchal domination of nature. An example of a symbolic connection between women and nature is when a man gives a woman flowers. Flowers are associated with femininity and are never given to men.

Hello To All!

Greetings,

my name is Natalia Castillo, I am a senior at UmassD and will be graduating in May! I am 21 years old and recently had my first baby, she is almost 8 months old and the cutest little thing and I’m not just saying that because she is my daughter. I lived on campus for 3 years, but once I had the baby I decided to finish my degree online and I have to say that it has been great, online classes are pretty cool. I am grateful for this resource because it has allowed me to continue my studies, which is extremely important to me. I have been living in Lawrence, MA since I was 9 years old after coming to the US from Puerto Rico, where I was born. My family is Dominican from both my mom’s and dad’s side, but my mom’s side of the family has been living in Puerto Rico for years, which explains why I was born there. I have a very strong connection to my Latina roots and absolutely love embracing it.

This is why when I was going through the different feminist blogs, the one that automatically caught my eye was Brown Girl Magazine. This blog is written by different women of color sharing experiences either of themselves or of other women of color. I enjoyed this blog, especially the post about Meghan Markle titled “The U.K. Press vs Meghan Markle: a Reflection of its’ Issue With Women”. In this post, Safeera Sarjoo explains what has been going on with Prince Harry and his wife Meghan and the whole issue with having to step back from the royal family. She also says that Meghan has been a victim of racism through all of this, which I totally agree with. However, racism is not the only problem with this scenario, what Sarjoo wanted to focus on was the British’s treatment towards women overall. She mentions what happened when Kate Middleton married Prince William, she was mistreated for being a “commoner”.

ST. ANDREWS, UNITED KINGDOM – JUNE 23: Kate Middleton and her father Michael Middleton sighted prior to her graduation ceremony at the University of St. Andrews, where she obtained a 2:1 degree in the History of Art on June 23, 2005 in St. Andrews, Scotland. (Photo by Indigo/Getty Images)

I can use this blog post as a model for my own work because I like how the author developed her point by presenting various evidences to back up her argument. She didn’t simply state that the British have a problem with women, she explained why she is correct by starting with Markle’s example, and then proving that this has not been the only incident. Some bloggers focus on giving their opinion and not on providing people with facts, but this was not the case with Safeera Sarjoo.

Here in Massachusetts, there is a non-profit organization called Massachusetts Climate Action Network that fights the climate crisis. They have chapters all around Massachusetts and their goal is to improve Massachusetts energy and climate policies and programs. They advocate at the state and regional level for policies that will benefit the citizens and end climate change. They believe that the best way to fight climate change is by getting our electricity 100% from renewable energy. They have gotten the government to listen to them and actually take action, and this to me means a successful social movement. There are tons of social movements, but not all of them get to make a change. This organization has mobilized a group of people who have the same goal and they have made a change in Massachusetts.