“Feminism & the Mastery of Nature” by Val Plumwood
This is an astonishingly “chewy” book! I’m impressed, as well as greatly enjoying Plumwood’s fascinatingly erudite, logical — and yet, I feel, still thoughtfully spiritual — considerations on ecofeminism. She is, in fact, so logic-oriented that it was initially a bit disconcerting when her writing was also richly metaphorical. It’s always a pleasure to discover one’s inchoate, half-considered beliefs given clear and lyrical form in someone else’s writing. Plumwood’s analysis of the different feminist interpretations of ecofeminism, as well as the logical structures supporting dualism, were just such a pleasure for me.
At the same time, I’m having to reorganize my thinking on many of the philosophical theories with which I am already familiar. It’s a bit embarrassing to realize you’ve become so familiar with a concept that you’ve started engaging in a sort of mental shorthand regarding it — and you’ve gotten intellectually sloppy. I’ve discovered this in myself while reading this book, which has made me once again have to seriously review my thoughts on ecofeminism. This is wonderful, in that I absolutely love being challenged intellectually like this! -and terrible, in that I must wade slowly and consideringly through it — the book is not a quick and easy read! I’m having to effectively construct new mental paradigms as I go, since more than one of the philosophical concepts discussed are new to me.
In retrospect, I should have scheduled two weeks, rather than only one, for it. I’m still not quite done with it despite sending in this review at the end of the weekend. I’ll have to see if I can read more of the book during my catch-up week, because I really want to do it justice in later journaling.
My first (and most embarrassing) review of ecofeminism occurred when I first stumbled over the movement many years ago, while pursuing my anthropology BA. I erroneously leapt to the opinion that ecofeminism was all about illogically conflating woman with nature, and then ideologically elevating that conceptual linkage rather than denigrating it. It took me around a decade to slow down enough to discover what ecofeminism appears to really be: a pointing out that throughout androcentric history there is a conceptual equating of woman with nature which oppositionally categorizes them both as property resources to be owned, used, and managed by men, and an ensuing search to replace that faulty hierarchy with something more just and egalitarian. Consequently I wrote a few scathing — and rather inaccurate — papers on the faulty epistemological basis of ecofeminism. I wince mentally as I read them today; that was back when I still considered flame wars a legitimate form of argumentation. What can I say? I was younger then. :)