Day 1 WGST 380 ENVS 397 Introduction


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  • One example:Synthetic estrogens in plastics, hormones in meat and milk have been implicated two fold: 1) they are suspected of indirectly stimulating sexual maturity by making girls fatter (which reduces age of Menarche) and 2) they are suspected of directly stimulating sexual development. Concerns about the role of food are reinforced by the fact that we see differences across race and class as we know that access to whole, natural foods is limited among the poor, working class, and communities of color. This has negative long term health effects but near term social and psychological health. Early developers have lower “self-esteem,” poorer body image, higher rates of teen pregnancy, less time between births (and probably many other effects that are immeasurable).
  • Peak in 1980’s then was replaced by the Justice model though many people still use the term.Subset inspired by the ‘Goddess’ groupsEarth as mothers and feminine
  • disproportionate number of toxic pollutants, incinerators, fertilizers, pesticides, and exposure to hazardous materials in living and work places for people of color.NIMBY (Not in my back yard). This is why we need a more comprehensive approach so that we don’t continue to foist the toxic effects on those with the least power to protest.
  • Day 1 WGST 380 ENVS 397 Introduction

    1. 1. Dr. Sara Diaz WGST 380/ENVS 397: Women, Nature, and the Environment Gonzaga University
    2. 2. Intersectionality • Feminist framework • Oppressions, institutions are mutually reinforcing • Racism is reinforced by sexism which is reinforced by classism.
    3. 3. Intersectionality • We all occupy multiple social locations • Our identities cannot be reduced • Mix of privileged and subjugated positions • Oppressions are not additive • a black woman is not simply twice as oppressed as a white woman
    4. 4. Intersectionality • System of Domination • Interlocking, mutually reinforcing • All the “isms” work together • Hierarchy of privilege • Not all privileges and oppressions are equivalent to each other. • “There can be no single-issue politics” – Audre Lorde
    5. 5. Intersections in Environment • Use women’s lives to explore intersections between Environment and: • Sexism • Scientific world view • Colonialism / Imperialism • Militarism • Racism • Economic inequality • Sexuality 5
    6. 6. Woman as Nature as Woman • Ancient—Fertility Goddess • Aristotle—Mere “Matter” • Early Modern Period— Positions women, animals, and Nature as objects of scientific study or of colonial conquest.
    7. 7. Domination: Land & Women • Resource extraction was a primary colonial project • • • • Crops Timber Minerals Oil • Colonization of women’s bodies • Sexual Exploitation • Extraction of unpaid labor • Control of reproduction • Feminization of people of color • Forced unpaid labor
    8. 8. Gendered Effects • Gendered Division of Labor: • Collecting wood to burn for cooking • Finding clean water sources • Nursing ill children/elders • Working in off-shore production zones
    9. 9. Racialized Effects • Three of the five largest waste facilities dealing with hazardous materials in the United States are located in poor black communities. • 96 percent of African American children who live in inner cities have unsafe amounts of lead in their blood. • Pesticide exposure among predominantly Latino farm workers causes more than 300k illnesses each year • High lung and thyroid cancer mortality in native communities – uranium mining and nuclear testing.
    10. 10. Environment & Women’s Health • Breast cancer • 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer • Early menarche increases risk • Average age of Menarche (onset of first menstrual period) • Rates of early onset (78 yr/old) higher in communities of color Average age of Menarche US 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 17 14 12.5 10.5 1830 1920 1980 2006
    11. 11. Lots of Women Activists • Rachel Carson • Wangari Maathai • Erin Brokovich • Vandana Shiva • Lady Bird Johnson • Sandra Steingraber • Many local activists
    12. 12. Ecofeminism • Grew out of 2nd Wave Feminist movement • Emphasized women's connection to nature • Exploitation of women and nature part of the same problem • Limitations: • Not typically intersectional (neglected race/class) • Assumption that women are closer to nature
    13. 13. Environmental Justice • “Environmental Racism”: • Correlation between distribution of environmental pollution and race • Focus on the 'social' - race, gender, class matter! • Draws on concepts of Civil Rights • All citizens have a right to healthy living and working conditions.
    14. 14. Feminist EJ Framework Environmental Economic Social This is where Feminist EJ activists work
    15. 15. First Reading: Carolyn Merchant • Help us understand: • Association of women with nature has deep historical roots • Scientific Revolution • New, mechanized world view • Connection between feminist and environmental movements today.