INTERSECTIONALITY “No one is free until we are all free” Dr. M.L. King Jr.

Intersectionality is directly correlated to all types of oppression. Oppression is described as the force that allows, through the power of norms and systems, the unjust treatment or control of people. Intersectionality shows us that social identities work on multiple levels, resulting in unique experiences, opportunities, and barriers for each person It is the study of overlapping or intersecting social identities and related systems of oppression, domination, or discrimination. Some of the aspects that are considered are biological, social and cultural categories such as gender, race, class, ability, sexual orientation, religion, caste, age, nationality and other sectarian axes of identity interact on multiple and often simultaneous level. The ecofeminist intersectionality movement brings together notions of feminism and environmentalism in order to find effective solutions against all types of oppressive behaviors …

There are three main aspects to intersectionality theory that should be considered.

1. Intersectionality theory viewed at the micro or individual level, i

This is a way to help identify people are where they may be oppressed by category. The diagram below helps to clarify this theory. People are very likely to be both an oppressor and the oppressed based on their individual and unique characteristics and circumstances.

2. Intersectionality is also a framework for analysis. This takes a more generic approach to analyzing intersectionality. Some of the categories would be race, financial status, marriage, sexual orientation as well as media stereotypes which help to influence public opinion.

3. Intersectionality as Praxis: Social Justice Movements

In “The Ecology of Feminist and the Feminism of Ecology” (1989), Ynestra King states that ecofeminist principles are based on the following beliefs:   

The survival of the species necessitates a renewed understanding of our relationship to nature, of our own bodily nature and of nonhuman nature around us; it necessitates a challenging of the nature-culture dualism and a corresponding radical restructuring of human society according to feminist and ecological principles. Adrienne Rich says, “When we speak of transformation we speak more accurately out of the vision of a process which will leave neither surfaces nor depths unchanged, which enters society at the most essential level of the subjugation of women and nature by men…”   (470-471).

Kings, A.E. “Intersectionality and the Changing Face of Ecofeminism.” Ethics & the Environment, vol. 22 no. 1, 2017, p. 63-87. Project MUSE 

Kimberlé Crenshaw: The urgency of intersectionality | TED Talk

Intersectional research broadly falls into three main categories: theory, methodology, and application. Each category tends to grapple with one central question, respectively: What is intersectionality? How do we use intersectionality? And what does intersectional research demonstrate?  While the term “intersectionality” originally originated in the late 1980s and early 1990s, it did not gain traction and finally acceptance for many years before Crenshaw first explicitly defined it in 1989. Ecological feminism or ecofeminism is an area of study concerned with understanding the interconnected relationship between the domination of women and the domination of nature.  For over  thirty years, ecofeminism has been taking into account the interconnected nature of social categories such as gender, race, class, sexuality, caste, species, religion, nationality, dis/ability, and issues such as colonialism. It has also challenged anthropocentric modes of thought, by incorporating both species and the natural environment into the ongoing debate concerning the workings of social categorization and identity construction. However, we need to be careful in characterizing earlier ecofeminist work as intersectional. Although it is certainly true that ecofeminism did often engage with intersectional approaches, it did not adopt intersectionality as the conceptual tool we currently understand it to be. 

 “Ecofeminism exposes the repression of women and the environment as interlinked and rooted in patriarchal structures.” 

Both Ecofeminism and Intersectional Environmentalism explore how the treatment and degradation of the earth exposes a deeply rooted societal problem. But while Ecofeminism narrows in on gender, sexuality, and the patriarchy, Intersectional Environmentalism creates space for all social injustices, including sexism. 

“I am ??????? ” The Complexity of Identity: “Who Am I?” Beverly Daniel Tatum 

UNDERSEA I Who has known the ocean? Neither you nor I, with our earth-bound senses, know the foam and surge of the tide that beats over the crab hiding under the seaweed of his tide pool home; or the lilt of the long, slow swells of mid-ocean, where shoals of wandering fish prey and are preyed upon, and the dolphin breaks the waves to breathe the upper atmosphere. Nor can we know the vicissitudes of life on the ocean floor, where the sunlight, filtering through a hundred feet of water, makes but a fleeting, bluish twilight, in which dwell sponge and mollusk and starfish and coral, where swarms of diminutive fish twinkle through the dusk like a silver rain of meteors, and eels lie in wait….. 

Rachel Louise Carson (1937). Undersea. Atlantic Monthly, 78:55–67 

The Pando Forest, Utah

The Trembling Giant, or Pando, is an enormous grove of quaking aspens that take the “forest as a single organism” metaphor and makes it literal: the grove really is a single organism. Each of the approximately 47,000 or so trees in the grove is genetically identical and all the trees share a single root system. While many trees spread through flowering and sexual reproduction, quaking aspens usually reproduce asexually, by sprouting new trees from the expansive lateral root of the parent. The individual trees aren’t individuals but stems of a massive single clone, and this clone is truly massive.  This ecological treasure is a metaphor for human environmental intersectionality. “Pando” is a Latin word that translates to “I spread.”Pando, the Trembling Giant – Richfield, Utah – Atlas Obscura 










Women+Governmental Positions = Environmental Gains

“Women are Turning Green”

Women in Political Power and State Environmentalism:

     The authors Kari Norgaard and Richard York wrote about how to improve “Gender Equality and State Environmentalism,” the two authors place a key emphasis on how improving gender may lead to further ecological reforms. (Norgaard, York PDF 14) An interesting quote in their research claims that “women are more likely than men to express support for environmental protection and that women consider a variety of environmental risks, from nuclear power to toxic substances, to be more serious than do men.” (Norgaard, York). Increasing and respecting women’s gender equality would then lead to improved environmental conditions throughout the world. “societies with higher levels of gender equality are more supportive of environmental protection.” (Norgaard, York). An important way to orchestrate this change would be to ensure that women are fairly included in any legal policy involving environmental issues which could result in mitigating climate change. What Norgaard and York have found is basically that countries that treat women better are generally more likely to treat the environment better. There seems to be a stereotypic gender bias arising which confirms the philosophy that men care about money and women care about the earth. Categorizing gender roles with such strict adherence to social stereotypes devalues all genders.

     Norgaard and York also found a link between “foreign direct investment” and a lack of state environmentalism. They determined that smaller countries are less likely to care about the environment if they are being given money from different countries throughout the world. An interpretation can be logically drawn that the more economically advanced countries in the world such as the US, Great Britain etc. may be apathetic to the environmental consciousness of other countries maintaining a self-centered and hollow commitment to the world’s shared environmental crisis. The implication here is that countries like The United States, Russia, and the United Kingdom which give a lot of foreign aid to smaller countries do not want these countries to be greener. This leads into Norgaard and Yorks arguments that capitalism is a root cause of the environmental issues Earth is currently experiencing.

     There is a positive, direct correlation between the degree of political power that a society shows women and the rate of environmental support. Research and experiences increasingly show the transformative power of inclusive decision making and both women’s and men’s unique differentiated knowledge in successful environmental programming and sustainable development. For example, at the national and international level, countries with more women parliamentarians are more likely to ratify environment treaties. At the community level, in India and Nepal, forest management groups that included women showed better resource governance and conservation outcomes.

     According to the new data, women occupy the role of Heads of State or Government in 22 countries, up from 20 countries in 2020. As of 1 January 2021, 5.9 per cent of elected Heads of State (9 out of 152) and 6.7 per cent of Heads of Government (13 out of 193) are women. Europe is the region with the most countries led by women: five out of nine Heads of State and seven out of 13 Heads of Government. The Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, and Norway are all currently led by women.

     Environment is the top portfolio held by women. The environment or energy portfolio jumped from third place in 2020 to the top spot in 2021 of ministerial portfolios held by women. Women ministers nonetheless continue to dominate portfolios covering social affairs, women’s affairs, and gender equality. However, women’s share in traditionally male-led ministerial portfolios has slightly increased in 2021 compared to 2020; for example, there are now 13.5 per cent of defense portfolios held by women compared to 11.9 per cent a year ago, and 11.5 of finance portfolios compared to 10.1 per cent a year ago.

Christiana Figueres Diplomacy

     After heading a climate-change nonprofit for eight years, Christiana Figueres took on leadership of the UNFCCC, the body responsible for international climate-change negotiations, at the agency’s lowest point. Just five months earlier, the world failed to reach an agreement at the 2009 Copenhagen summit. She injected a unique sense of optimism, attempting to remove the talks from what she calls “the political trash can.” It worked: Figueres successfully steered world leaders to reach the Paris Agreement in 2015. Along with a number of other women involved in the negotiations, Figueres was successful in shedding an important light on the gender dimension of climate change. 

The CBD (Center for Biological Diversity) recognized from the outset the crucial link between women and biodiversity conservation. Preambular paragraph 13 of the CBD states: Recognizing also the vital role that women play in the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and affirming the need for the full participation of women at all levels of policy-making and implementation for biological diversity conservation. The phrasing of this paragraph is in line with the prevailing recognition of (and thinking on) the importance of women in environment and development issues at that time (IUCN, 1994). The paragraph clearly shows recognition by the State Parties to the CBD that gender issues, particularly those related to women, should be taken into account. However, the wording of that recognition denotes a rather instrumental understanding of the role of women in biodiversity conservation and sustainable use (Brand, Görg, Hirsch, & Wissen, 2008, p. 75). 

Nicky Broeckhoven. “Biodiversity Loss and Climate Change: Gender Issues in International Law and Policy.” DiGeSt. Journal of Diversity and Gender Studies, vol. 1, no. 2, 2014, pp. 23–38. JSTOR, Accessed 15 Mar. 2023

     In the world today, there are social stratifications which are gender oriented. Some of these have a direct effect on women and the environment in a degrading way. This concern extends beyond country borders. It is a global concern. Women and nature have had an understandably symbiotic relationship. There is a common thread that runs through both which results in a deeper sense of compassion and responsibility for “Mother Earth”. Current world environmental issues can be partially attributed to this break in the chain between women and the environment. Norgaard and York theorize that societies that have higher, more developed levels of supportive environmental protection, also have higher levels of gender equality.

This image sourced from C. Gardner on WGS-PHL 307 Blackboard

This image represents the interconnectivity between all women and their respective relationship to the international responsibility of focusing on solutions to Climate Change. Women in influential, high-profile positions, especially in governmental jobs have a responsibility to raise the conciseness of their constituency in contributing to the solution.



“Behind Every Meal of Meat is an Absence………

…. the death of the nonhuman animal whose place the meat takes.” C. Adams

Carol Adams Carol J. Adams (born 1951) is an American writer, feminist, and animal rights advocate. 

Feminist-vegan theory is ecofeminist. From this perspective, “environmental issues can’t be understood without a feminist perspective and feminist issues can’t be understood without an environmental perspective. I place animals into the middle of this”. (Carol Adams, The War on Compassion). Adams has a unique perspective in terms of her views on the questionable morality behind slaughtering animals for food.  When humans turn a nonhuman into “meat,” someone who has a very particular, situated life, a unique being, is converted into something that has no distinctiveness, no uniqueness, no individuality. When one adds five pounds of meatballs to a plate of meatballs, it is more of the same thing; nothing is changed.  Adams describes her viewpoint which includes how killing animals disrupts the natural balance of nature. “But to have a living cow and then kill that cow, and butcher that cow, and grind up her flesh, you have not added a mass term to a mass term and ended up with more of the same. You have destroyed an individual. (Carol Adams, The War on Compassion).

The “massification” of beings permits the dilution, the diminishment of our attention. It is like an hourglass. The more of a “mass term” they become, the less of concern they need provoke. The sands of our compassion drain into the bottom. And how do we flip the hourglass over, how do we revive, or awaken compassion?

And this is a basic difference; meat eaters bury animals in their own bodies. When nonhuman living beings are converted conceptually into false mass terms to enable their conversion into products, we come to believe that their deaths do not matter to themselves. Animals are killed because they are false mass terms, but they die as individuals. They die as a cow, not beef, as a pig, not pork. Each suffers his or her own death, and this death matters a great deal to the one who is dying. (Carol Adams, The War on Compassion).


The Politics of Carol J Adams 

When Carol was asked what about raw meat that made it more offensive, her answer was. “Raw meat may express a more immediate sense of violation of what once was, what once existed and only recently lost their lives. With the raw, there is always more of it — more raw talent to compete in a realty show, more raw meat to be hung in lockers or worn as undergarments. Why raw meat? It is as though through the use of raw meat there’s some sort of fantasy that one can experience life again as “raw, fresh, and tasty,”

There are many individuals who do not subscribe to the ideology that non-human living beings’ “matter”. In response to these critics, Adams writes ..”Nonhuman animals matter because of who they are — individual beings — not because of a certain quality that obtains to them (their suffering). This isn’t like parliamentary procedure where there has to be a second to the first (the “second” being “animals are suffering”). The minute we start arguing about suffering (for women or animals, or anyone who is nondominant), we’re already ceded their difference.

As Catharine MacKinnon points out in Of Mice and Men, white men did not have to prove they suffered for them to have rights. The focus on suffering creates a new category “humane meat” that helps people reduce the issue to “they aren’t suffering, so it’s okay to eat them.”

 I don’t mind being disturbed, upset, dismayed, or depressed, but I don’t want to be the second hand beneficiary of violence, engaging in an act of viewing that can only exist because someone’s death was willed, because someone’s energy was the means to another’s ends. 

Advertising and the “Sexualization” of Women

This photograph depicts a tag that would be fastened to an animal’s ear prior to it being killed. Apparently a “Dick from Hell” attached it.

This ad has to be one of the most offensive towards women that I have ever seen. To reduce to act of childbirth to a sexual, cheap analogy with having hamburgers delivered to your door is egregious! I wonder if they think of their mother when they created and approved this ad.

I found this ad from Hardee’s…can it be more offensive, patronizing and sexists? I don’t think so…..


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