Ecofeminism

Many feminisms look critically that the monopoly that men have over public policy, explaining history, and general portrayal of reality. Feminists concern themselves with the dominance that men have over issues of ecology and the ways that it affects women and minorities.  This is the result of of the internalized notion that “man is the measure of all things” (Verchick 71), that he is the norm. As is the nature of patriarchy, its danger is in its invisibility. In Feminist Theory and Environmental Justice, Robert Verchick notes the way that women and marginalized communities, mainly people of color, are harmed by environmental policy that does not account for them. The role of the man, in this case of the men making environmental policy, is the sole decider of who is impacted and how. Verchick reveals that “male biases that lie beneath supposedly ‘neutral’ law” (Verchick 65) fail to account for those who will be impacted differently/ to a greater degree than the white male deciding. This is because white men typically benefit from the action that reaps disaster in parts of the community that he will never see. On top of the man’s lack of experience, he is also privileged to not take others’ concerns seriously.

Verchick gives us the example of Cathy Hinds a mother who found her rural community’s well water to be contaminated. The role of the man was to first not consider, or to overlook the dangers when making the policy that lead to the contamination. His secondary role was to dismiss Hinds’ concerns and prescribe her tranquilizers (Verchick 67). Compare Hinds’ experience to Lois Gibbs’ the mother turned activist of the Love Canal environmental crisis in which it was the low-income mothers who noticed that the children in the community were sick and dying and were able to make the connection to a toxic waste site.

The role of men by the ecofeminist perspective is to listen, to educate, and to stop seeing the white-male expereince as the default human experience. The “environmental movement’s next rovulation is now being plotted around kitchen tables”, and the men need to start paying attention.