"One of the things I feel about women is that we live in a cage, but the cage is so normalized that we don't even know it anymore."- Eve Ensler interview w Grist.
I am a feminist. I don't mind the word, it means respect to those women who battled before me to give me the rights I have today. It means equality between human beings. It means strength of conviction.
In a lot of ways, this equality in power and how we treat each other as human beings relates to the current non-reciprocity with how we treat the planet.
In a recent interview with Grist, Eve Ensler, author of the Vagina Monologues and promoting the Anti-Violence against women movement, One Billion Rising, made the fascinating connection between feminism, violence against women and the environmental movement.
I agree that a crucial part of the anti-climate change (or pollution movement) is the complete and utter lack of mutual respect for our resources, planet and the environment as well as a willingness to turn a blind eye to the majority of the mainstream opinion. Similarly, there is a lack of mutual respect with how women's bodies are treated in our culture along with a strong anti-feminism, or feminism denier movement that parallel's the climate change discussions.
What these large corporations, oil companies, logging companies, huge polluting businesses, are doing can be describes as intrinsically gargantuan violation of the natural world. Ripping apart forests, desecrating natural and clean waterways and invading our air with toxic chemicals... these actions are all decided by a select few in power.
Statistically speaking, these decision makers, climate change ignorers, are men. It just so happens that we don't have a truly equal society when it comes to violence against the human person (1 of 3 women will experience violence in their lifetime), nor when it comes to political and economic positions of power.
Initially Eve Ensler's use of strong language and imagery to describe the connections she sees between feminism and our current environmental battle was shocking and off-putting. I don't usually respond well to shock tactics or emotional language.
However, after some thought, specifically in consideration with all that she has seen and the very real atrocities that are committed against women around the world, it would be remiss to shy away from the truth. Using nicer words, like 'violated' instead of 'raped' diminishes and disrespects the very reality that so many women and families experience, not only in 'far away countries' but in our very own home towns.
I do believe that in a culture and dominant society where 50% of the population remains viewed as 'less than equal' (whether in policy, practice, relationships- unconsciously or not)- we shouldn't be surprised that this same culture would treat all relationships as one-way without mutual respect, including our relationship with our planet.
Hopefully, this will mean that progress in one movement will inherently equal progress in the other.