What Happens At The Workplace….

Restaurants are truly something only the patriarchy could create, and I work at one. A place where people’s biological needs for food and drink are exploited for capitalistic gains, animal meat is grilled, fried, broiled, eaten, and wasted, mostly women work as host, servers, and bartenders, being objectified and required to look pretty in order to work, and the ideal customer (or at least the ones that get more respect and attention) are a group of douche businessmen. This is a place where the patriarchy rises, feeds, and then rolls over and burps in a booth. This is a place where eco-feminist principles and ideology have not yet seen the light of day. So I decided, why not try and see what happens if I took an eco-feminist approach to my job as a server. Let’s lay down the law, or at least the rules I required myself to follow…

  1. If asked for food recommendations offer the least meat-based meals possible. (avoid steaks, opt for the salads or black bean sandwich).
  2. Do not put straws in drinks before serving them, allow the customer to ask for a straw, but do not offer one without the customer asking for one.
  3. If the customers make a joke with me or in conversation with me that is sexist, racist, homophobic, environmentally unconscious, or oppressive in its nature, call it out, address the issue with their statement firmly, yet avoid offending them, and come from a place of concern for equality, not judgment of ethics or morals.
  4. If co-workers make any sexist, racist, homophobic, or oppressive comments, address them directly, firmly, and from a place of concern for equality and not judgment.
  5. Influence co-workers to minimize waste (don’t always immediately hand out straws) and support them on calling out sexism, racism, homophobia, or any other oppressive statements or actions.
  6. Bring any major issues to managers attention.


So, for a week of work (four shifts, usually about 4-6 hours each for me), I decided to actually speak against sexual harassment, sexism, homophobia, and racism in my workplace, and it was scary. Working at a restaurant, there is no end to the number of people and personalities I encounter every shift I work. As a server, I not only have to navigate interactions with customers (or how were told to refer to them, “guest”), I also have to navigate the well-known co-worker/manager relationships. Working at a restaurant where most of my co-workers are women, I’ve been witness to many encounters of sexual harassment on a micro-aggressive level to flat out objectification. I have to be honest, most of the time I stay silent, or just offer a glare of disapproval at the perpetrator, but rarely do I ever speak up. As a gay man of color, I too encounter my fair share of racist and homophobic comments and attacks by customers and co-workers, and I can say, I’ve never had anyone stand up for me, not even when a customer once referred to me as “feces.” However, in order to remove the personal element of the experiment (because sometimes it can be easier to stand up for yourself, and sometimes it can be harder), I decided to focus mainly on an issue that doesn’t directly affect me, sexism. I also saw an opportunity for another cause as I was planning out different ways, I could address sexism. I decided I would also not offer straws unless a customer asked for one. Also, if asked by the customers why they weren’t immediately offered a straw I would indicate the negative effects plastic and other waste materials are having on the environment. I probably should have had manager approval in order to do it, but nevertheless, I skipped that step and went straight into my plan.

I wanted to lay the groundwork, for myself and my future self who was responsible with addressing these pressing issues of being a witness to sexism and having some responsibility in restaurant waste culture. I told myself that I had to always come from a place of empathy, understanding, and compassion when addressing these issues, no name calling, belittling, or aggressive speech. I’ll tell you one thing when you ask for the universe to test you, it will, and it’ll test you like hell.

It was not easy. I’m going to isolate a few major incidents that occurred during this past week of work in order to showcase the experiences, how I handled it, and what I learned from it. However, there were many more nuanced statements, looks, laughs, and actions done that illustrated the oppressive nature of the restaurant industry, our society, and how humans interact with other humans. The first shift I worked this week one of my co-workers came up to me fueled with anger because a table hadn’t tipped him properly and started cursing out the people after they left saying “stupid, cheap, ignorant, black people” among other racially driven comments. I then had to explain to him that he cannot ascribe characteristics to an entire race of people because one table of people didn’t tip him 20% of their check. Also, he was saying this to me, a black person, he came to me to complain about someone who had wronged him and instead of seeing it as an individual doing an individual act, he compartmentalized the entire race “black people” as being “stupid, cheap, ignorant” among other things. The way I chose to address this was by simply pointing out the falsehood in his statement, identifying that many non-black people had not tipped him at all before (one just last week) and he didn’t say “stupid, cheap, ignorant, white people!” he said “table 36 didn’t tip me! I don’t get it. I didn’t do anything wrong!” When it was a white family last week, he’s mind assumed it must have been his work ethic that caused them to not tip him at all, not because they were stupid, or cheap, or ignorant, or white. I also had to point out to him that he came to me, a black person, to obviously console him in an incident where he felt wronged, so how could all black people be horrible, if you’re literally going to a black person to get consoled? It was a very odd and weird dynamic to encounter and I constantly felt myself wanting to curse him out for his anger and stereotyping of an entire class of people, a class of people I’m literally a part of. I then began to realize that this is my personal fear, every time I go out to eat I have this sense from my (more often than not) white waiter that they feel that I am not a quality customer, that I won’t compensate them, and that I will likely not tip. I realized, upon reflection that I always over-tip because of this fear, that I, one sole person, am speaking for my entire race. I do this in any incident, at any given time, I’m constantly navigating stereotypes placed upon people who look like me, trying to show how wrong these negative assumptions are, and fearful that I could possibly do anything to further a belief in these stereotypes. Then I walked into my next shift, a few days later, and I overheard two of my white female co-workers by the computers counting the number of black people that worked here. One saying, “There’s Mirko, name, name, and name. That’s four. That’s a lot of black people.” Four people is a lot of black people! Is she serious? I snapped my head, “Why are you two counting how many black people work here,” I said. One answered “Huh? Oh, I don’t know, we were just wondering how many black people worked here.” I then replied, “You said “four, that’s a lot of black people” what does that mean? That’s a lot of black people! There are over 70 people that work here, how are 4 black people, a lot of black people! There’s more than just four black people eating here!” They then reacted as if I was overreacting, and then chose to walk away and ignore me. I felt confused, scared, and watched, honestly why the hell were they counting how many black co-workers they had? Why was 4 (one being a manager) a lot in their eyes? I felt that I had walked into white America and saw what it really was white people were doing behind people of color’s backs, which was counting us! It’s like I had entered the white person’s car, where the Kanye West song plays, and they sing along to the N-word because no black people are around. I’m still in disarray, I’m still a bit confused, but I am very clear on what their intent was based on the general vibe, the wording they chose, and how they reacted when I confronted them, they thought “there’s a lot of black people at this job, there shouldn’t be this many black people at this job,” however 4 out of 70+ does not constitute “a lot.” Other smaller instances occurred, someone was disappointed or annoyed by something and they would refer to it as “gay” like for instance “this soda machine is acting super gay today” and then I would step in, stage left, and do my best Hilary Duff impersonation explaining to them that this is aggressive, oppressive, and homophobic language and they should not be referring to something they detest as “gay” especially if you were just telling us a story about how you’re angry that your younger brother who is gay is being bullied for being gay. I’m not sure if it’s just because of the place that I worked at but every customer was angered, offended, and adamant that they wanted and needed a straw for their drink (except for one teenage girl who had her metal straw handy, annoying the rest of her family in the process). Some people had an inkling of the issues of straws and plastic waste saying “are you guys not handing out straws because of the sea turtles” then rebuking any responsibility by claiming “I need a straw, I don’t want to put my mouth on this dirty cup” or claiming that the ice would hurt their teeth too much. The latter argument can almost be argued, but the first “dirty cup” excuse made no sense, and I fearfully had to denounce it by the second time I hear it, explaining that we wash our cups after every use, always refill with a new glass, and why would you drink out of a dirty cup even if it was through a straw? Clearly, there isn’t much sense in what people do or think, it’s often social conditioning or fear of the unknown. However, I’m sure almost everyone drinks their beverages at home (or at other people’s homes) without straws so why do we insist on drinking with straws everywhere else? The last incident I came across happened just two days ago when over the weekend I walked in on the dishwashers doing a “person with down syndrome” impersonation while rating their female co-workers from “most f*ckable” to “least f*ckable” based on their bodies, now this I can’t make up! I then, somewhat calmly asked them why they were talking like that and one dishwasher responded “you know how people with down syndrome have that talk” and I then cut him off and kind of lost my cool and said some aggressive things I don’t want to repeat, but essentially explained why that’s not okay and why it needs to stop. Then I told them in really unhealthy terms why they shouldn’t be talking about women and their bodies and then called them “pathetic bags of *insert assumed term*” and left the dish room to tell everyone what they did. It was a very complex feeling, I was scared of these blatant idiots who were both making fun of the disabled and objectifying women, I also was afraid that I had flipped out to no avail, because people would likely do what they eventually did, which was to brush over the incident and just say “ugh they’re pigs.” After not much anger or attention to the issue from my co-workers I just decided telling a manager was probably not going to do anything, but moreover I was afraid to be the person who magnified the issue because I didn’t react in the best way and could possibly get in trouble for the names I proceeded to call them. All of these incidents happened in three days, or four shifts (I worked a double one day) and I have countless examples of other issues that have taken place there and other comments people have made at my job. I realized after the fact that originally I didn’t want to concern myself with speaking out against racism or homophobia as much because I would, in essence, be standing up for myself and people who I directly identify with which is challenging but something I would do anyway. I wanted to focus more on speaking up against the oppression of groups I wasn’t a part of, but due to not being a part of these groups I think I may have not been as exposed to these situations as someone who is directly living it. Weeks prior I had witnessed a 50+-year-old father at a table with his family attempt to stare up the skirt of a young girl (14 -16 years old) who had clearly just come from cheerleading practice and wanted to get something to eat with her mom. Yes, that actually happened, and I just screamed. I maybe could have, should have, told a manager (I can tell you now, I know my managers, they would have said and done nothing) or I could have told the mother of the young girl or confront the guy straight up, but after weighing out the situation I realized, that I don’t think I would have fared well in any case, and likely would get myself into trouble while also making this young girl feel preyed upon and aware of the objectification and sexualization she had innocently walked into. I didn’t follow most of what I laid out for myself and I the biggest issues I assumed I would encounter (such as suggesting salads over steak) turned out to be irrelevant to the other huge and pressing social issues I witness and became a part of during this past weekend.

I don’t know what I took away from these instances, I don’t know if I gained anything, learned anything new, or felt that something was accomplished.  The truth is, I’m going to walk into work later this week and something along these lines is going to take place again. A waiter is going to run to the front of the host stand demanding they not have to take the party of 8 or more people who walk in wanting a table and happen to be people of color. The dishwashers will probably still be doing their “down syndrome impression” and some creepy old guy is going to stare at an underaged girl, sexualizing and objectifying her in the process. This will all take place again, and because of social conditioning and fear, everyone who stands as a witness to these crimes will remain silent, complacent and possibly even complicit. Though it was a good exercise for me, to speak out, I know I’m not going to do it every time. Just like when that devil of an old woman referred to me as “feces” and I stood there, shaking, fearful, holding back tears, and silent, I will once again encounter an incident that I will not know how to handle, I may even be the direct victim of the incident, and I will remain silent, because people have taught me, society has taught me, and everyone, that it isn’t worth speaking up. When you call out hate, when you look these criminals, the patriarchy in the eye, its minions look down, remain silent, watch as the lions feed on you, and then turn their backs to count how many black people are in a room.


It’s all conditioning, it’s all fear, and it’s all not okay.


A link to a website that brings attention to the Straw epidemic:



Links on how to deal with workplace racism and sexism.



Interwoven Connections – Women & Nature

Oppression can not be felt, understood, or conceptualized by those who are not oppressed, only those of an oppressed class can conceptualize the emotional, psychological, and physical effects oppression has on the mind, body, and spirit of its victims. As a major structural component to the existence of the patriarchy, oppression is experienced by all non-male, non-hetero, non-white, non-binary gendered beings. One class of being, the female, has felt the gruesome impact of the patriarchy (a male-dominated power system) being viewed as a direct threat while simultaneously propagandized as “less than.” Aligned with the female and assigned a title, “less than,” has been all types of beings which are not directly a cis-straight male. As this patriarchal system stands with cis-straight men above all other beings, nature and the natural world have been viewed and understood as nothing more than a means to an end. As understood through the ecofeminist theory, the oppression of nature and the oppression of women fall hand in hand because both are seen as a means to an end which is to only benefit men, this is the issue at the center of the fight Native-Indigenous populations throughout North and South America.

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At this very second and into the foreseeable future, the deforestation of the Amazon, and other rainforest continues at an unsustainable rate. As Ivone Gebara’s scholarly article “Ecofeminism: A Latin American Perspective” points out, “‘lots of women and children are starving and dying with diseases produced by a capitalist system able to destroy lives and keep the profit for only a few.” (Gebara) In Brazil, many children and women are living in slums unable to make a living wage to support their families. As the Vice article points out, many of these areas are extremely polluted by residents and international corporations, corporations that are only looking to profit in these developing countries by extracting their natural resources such as precious metals. Many of these residents and their children like in the case of 9-year-old Paulo Henrique, dive into heavily polluted rivers to find cans to sell to corporations as a recyclable good. The article notes a Brazilian woman by the name of Fabiana who explains that she and her kids “spend two months collecting all kinds of aluminum material” and then sell it to a company that pays them “130 reals [around $55] for recycling,” raising her three children like this. (Gebara)


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“US agents fire tear gas and rubber bullets at caravan migrants”… whether it’s activist or refugees, the Native Indigenous population remains under attack by the U.S.


In North America, indigenous women and children stand strong at the battle groups, protesting the invasion of their sacred land and cemeteries by corporations, yet the U.S. government which should be there to protect and serve their right to protest, sends down officers to arrest them as if they are criminals when really they are exercising their 1st Amendment Rights. As explained in the Guardian article “At Standing Rock” and the “2015 Gendered Impact Series” by KAIROS Canada, Native Indigenous people of North America are facing a fight against corporations and capitalist greed. Activist like Prairie McLaughlin faces unbelievable traumatic events, such as the one that she describes when she was wrongly arrested and taken to a North Dakota jail where a group of four male and two female guards “forcibly removed her clothes when she refused to strip in front of them.” McLaughlin recounts this traumatic event with waters in her eyes as another activist, LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, founder of the Sacred Stone camp, speaks about the violation of a sacred cemetery where contractors plan to place a pipeline and the heinous crimes taking place against women and children with many underaged girls going missing near construction sites. All this while women, “under threat of arrest, have led prayer circles directly on land where construction is planned” when faced with Mace, teargas and rubber bullets during increasingly tense standoffs with police. The officers in place and patriarchal white supremacist society which we live under have no empathy, comprehension, or decency for the people they are harming and the sacred natural land these women are so directly interwoven with and protecting. Lacking a connection to the natural and spiritual world, men have destroyed the environment, ecological functions, and the beings who are able to nurture it, help it grow, and work with it, WOMEN. Faced with the relentless and senseless harms that our patriarchal societies are causing to women around the world and nature they inhabit, we have only one option if what we desire is an equal, eco-friendly, and prosperous future for all, we must deconstruct the Pyramid of Oppression. We must bring an end to the Patriarchy.


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Get Ready.

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The Intersectional Quilt of Oppression is blanketed all around us, some just happen to be swaddled a bit tighter than the rest and understanding the multitude of intersectional threads that the Intersectional Quilt of Oppression has woven into it, is crucial to acknowledging who is most affected by oppression, and why in order to reverse and prevent this oppression. There is no doubt that of all the gendered beings, women, female, and all things identified as feminine have been gravely abused, mistreated and oppressed by our global patriarchal social order and capitalistic culture. If we were to breakdown the patriarchy from least oppressed to most oppressed (those who sit at the top of the Patriarchal Pyramid of Oppression [i.e. least swaddled] to those who sit at the very bottom of this Patriarchal Pyramid of Oppression [i.e. the most swaddled]) you’ll find there has been an intentional system put in place that has lead to the construction of this “social order.” The intersectional nature of everyone’s identity means that it is possible to be oppressed by one aspect of your person and yet liberated by another aspect of your person. For instance, a wealthy, cis-gendered gay white man is only oppressed by the social standing of his sexuality (being gay) while liberated by all the other aspects of who he is (male, white, cis-gendered, wealthy). Another person who’s identity intersects in ways that they would be much more oppressed by the social order of the patriarchy would be a poor, trans-gendered gay black woman (being oppressed for being poor, gay, trans, a person of color, and a woman). This shows how “Intersectionality” as Black Feminist theorist Kimberlé Crenshaw coined it, is important in understanding the scope of oppression some face and the levels of liberation others enjoy because of our patriarchal social order.

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Oppression can only take place if given reason and justification even through myth and stereotyped lies. In the Black Feminist Thought article, the author discusses how “Ecofeminists argue that environmental degradation and the exploitation of nature and women are rooted in the same capitalist, patriarchal, dominant culture.” This social system creates a space in which people can be oppressed but the oppression must not be looked at in a binary fashion because it is very intersectional. Black women face far more oppression than white women, though both are oppressed for being women, our social structures allow privileges to white people and oppress people of color, so black women would be further oppressed than their white female counterparts. In A.E. King’s scholarly article “Intersectionality and the Changing Face of Ecofeminism” the author discusses how the prejudices women face due to their menstruation vary based on “the various roles of religion, caste, and class (among other important factors) in the outcome of a wide range of issues which in this case affect women and the environment.” (King) This is seen in the struggles of women in developing countries like India face when it comes to their menstruation. A survey conducted in South Gujarat found that restrictions were placed on menstruating adolescent girls “89% of respondents claimed that they were restricted as to what they could touch, and just under 35% of girls were not even ‘allowed’ to leave the house alone.” (King) These are insane statistics encompassing the majority of all adolescent girls in this rural part of India, these women are being oppressed by the patriarchal social system they live under. In order to understand and address these complex collective of oppression, ecofeminism must be always evolving and changing so that activist and society can be sufficient to societies needs and struggle. In the Netflix documentary “Period. End of Sentence.” director Rayka Zehtabchi addresses these same issues of the stigma surrounding menstrual cycles in India while simultaneously finding a way to manufacture sanitary pads (feminine hygiene products). This is a great effort towards ecofeminism in a developing country like India where many women suffer under the oppression of the patriarchy. Intersectionality is an important component in the conversation of ecofeminism and how we will be able to move forward in feminist activities of social ratification and climate change. Understanding intersectionality as a quilt can add an image to the abstract complexities of oppression. As stated in King’s scholarly article, through Karren Warren’s theory of thought, “the patches which provide the quilt with its ‘quilt-ness’ are created by the diversity of perspectives and a multitude of opinions from a grass-roots level upwards,” meaning we should adopt the ecofeminist theory of intersectionality when discussing any issues of oppression.

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Period. End of Sentence.

The Environmental Benefits of Gender Equality

In our society and societies around the world, there are hierarchical social structures that attribute to the degradation and devaluing of women and nature which has led to our current environmental crisis. Environmental issues will continue to have graver ramifications if not addressed swiftly and with an understanding that any policy looking to enhance our environmental state, must also enhance the state of women. In Kari Norgaard and Richard York’s “Gender Equality and State Environmentalism,” the two authors place a key emphasis on how “improving gender equality may serve to further ecological reforms, as ecofeminists have theorized.” (Norgaard, York PDF 14) The article analyzes research which indicates 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 PDF 3) The authors also conclude from their findings that “societies with higher levels of gender equality are more supportive of environmental protection.” (Norgaard, York PDF 14) This illustrates how improving the status of women and their political representation in global societies will ultimately improve the environmental status of the world, linking the status of nature and women as one.


In the UN report listed above, the organization examines how the representation of women in political institutions (government, parliament, the prime minister, etc) has a definite correlation with environmental reformation and policies. The article emphasizes that critical steps need to be taken to narrow the gender gap and empower women into leadership positions in order to help reduce the impact of climate change. The article illustrates how there is a consensus that “gender inequality can worsen the impacts of climate change,” and that in order to empower women we must begin to view women as “not just helpless victims but powerful agents of change,” knowing that their leadership is critical.

Invest in Women to Tackle Climate Change and Conserve the Environment

In this second article by Women Deliver, the author illustrates that though women (especially those in developing countries) bear the brunt of climate change, they are in fact “the world’s best bet in the fight for a clean, healthy, and sustainable planet.” The website article explains how the traditional role of women as caregivers, nurturers, procurers of water, and agricultural production not only makes them well suited to further prevent “degradation and adapt to the changing climate – they have a vested interest in doing so” as well. Like Norgaard and York, the author explains how studies found that “countries with higher female parliamentary representation are more prone to ratify international environmental treaties.” Also, these studies found that when women gain rights and access to land, they utilize natural resources sustainably.

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By including women in climate change reforms and decision making, we can assure that our planet is well taken care of by helping to end climate change and guaranteeing enough safe drinking water, food, and shelter by preventing environmental degradation and the consequence of human displacement for the next generations to come. A new study I found from the Social Science Research (JSTOR – Christina Ergas & Richard York) shows that men are basically terrible for the environment. The study examines country’s environmental practices and the correlating status of women in government and found (like Norgaard and York) that nations, where women had higher political status, “as indicated by the length of time women, have had the right to vote and women’s representation in parliament and ministerial government — tend to have lower CO2 emissions per capita.” (Ergas, York) Even more simply put, carbon dioxide emissions are lower in nations where women have higher political status, and in those nations where women do not, the carbon dioxide emissions are higher (also nations with greater military spending). So the conclusion has been illustrated, explained, and reiterated, women and women in higher political power is good for the environment and thus good for us all. Oh, how beneficial equality can really be!

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(JSTOR Article – Ergas, York) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0049089X12000609

ProChoice = ProLife

The debate between Prolifers and Prochoicers is one that has been long-running and often including voices that have no right to be in the conversation (i.e. someone like me, a man who can’t get pregnant). In America, the law was settled through Roe v. Wade (1973) that women have the right to choose between carrying a pregnancy to full-term and delivery or terminating the pregnancy altogether until/before fetal viability. This ruling (Roe v. Wade) granted women a right they should have always had, which is that they get to dictate what happens to their own body, not only protecting the women’s health and choice but also the potential for human life. Even though this is a human right, to be able to choose, some people have continuously tried to stray the issue from Pro-Choice to Pro-Abortion, which simply isn’t the case. One can use the sensitive scenario of a woman who is raped, having to carry the child (the result of rape) to full term as one that no person should have to go through thus allotting for the possibility of abortion, but I think the issue is much more simple than that. The issue is that a person has their body, and they have the right to do whatever they want to their body, especially if it is concerning an issue that can alter the rest of their life, taking them from human person to human parent, or even economic state (i.e. having more children to care for).


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Abortion is not only a feminist issue, it is an environmental one at that, as Hawkin’s explains, “As a backup to contraception, abortion plays an important role in limiting the ecologically damaging effects of the human population in all parts of the globe.” This shows the alignment between feminist and environmental issues, as the global population increases, so do environmental damage done by human beings. For a woman to be offered the choice of abortion not only allows her to choose between the consequences of having a child or having another child, but it’s also in a larger scale is a choice that directly affects our environment. Hawkin illustrates people living in poverty may opt for a larger family as “a way of coping with the immediate economic conditions” by assuring more hands to work and the likelihood parents will be taken care of at old age. However, this results in a greater economic struggle and usually caused by people living in poverty not having access to the means for limiting their family size. Hawkin also explains that “the environmental toll taken by each new human born in the developed world will be very much greater than that of one born elsewhere.” However, the ecological effects of industrialized nations are often far greater than these figures and should not be ignored even within the conversation of human life and it’s direct effect on the environment. Hawkin also shares a very telling figure, that though in 1986 worldwide the population grew by 86 million, “an estimated 54 million abortions were performed.” If this were to be a similar figure to the population growth of every year, that would mean that about 39% of all potential births were prevented by abortion alone, meaning our global population would likely be around 39% greater than it currently is! This is not a figure or environmental consequence we would want to imagine. From an eco-feminist point of view, it is clear to see why abortion should always be a choice, not only for the potentially pregnant women but for the global environment. However, I stand clear that abortion should always be a woman’s choice and not one determined by anyone other than the sole person who is pregnant. No matter what the environmental effects are, no nation or group of people should be able to restrict or enforce abortion based on any issues, but especially not on the issue of population size, no matter the environmental effects. We should instead offer free comprehensive contraception education and tools (birth control, condoms, etc.) to the full public as a way to ensure human health and environmental health. We must look to the larger global implication of our practices surrounding health, pregnancy, and the environment in order to understand how to better prevent the negative effects we have on the world and other people. Thus concluding that when taking in the larger global implications of giving birth to human life, being pro-choice is really being pro-life.

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Fun Facts.

Anthropornography: The Abuse of All Living Things

To abuse any living being is to open the door to the abuse of all living beings, this is clearly seen in our factory farm system and mass consumption of animal meat. The same society and system that supports the abuse, murder, and consumption of animals is the same system that supports the abuse, murder, and consumption of women, people of color, and LGBTQ folks. Carol Adam’s “Sexual Politics of Meat” discusses the connection between societies consumption of animal meat and images of sexualized women and how the sexualization of animals and animal meat is directly linked to the animalization and dehumanization of women as well as the animalization of other oppressed groups of people. Adam’s creates a key argument around the vegan feminist theory of anthropornography, identifying key examples in mass media and advertisements that establish women and animals as consumable by the patriarchal consumer, the straight white male. This power system established by the patriarchy is what has allowed for the abuse of animals, women, people of color, and LGBTQ people. By practicing the abuse of female animal’s reproductive systems, such as dairy and egg production as well as reproductive insemination, our societies have opened the door for one group of people (the straight white male) to feel as if they have the power to dictate overall female living beings reproductive rights (i.e. the need for women to have the right of choice (to terminate a pregnancy or to not), birth control, and respected sexual consent). The dualism between the consumption and sexualization animal meat and that of women is no mistake and intently done to assert white male dominance over all living things while simultaneously establishing the straight white male as the “most human” of all living beings, though these practices and ideology would prove otherwise. Below I will present a few images that are reused by Carol Adams to showcase this practice of anthropornography as well as it’s dehumanizing effects on women.



This first image is the logo of an ice cream business. In the image we can see the dairy cow (clearly female) with her buttocks hanging out through a porthole of some sort, with long blonde hair, gold hoops, a beret hat, consuming the dairy product (ice cream) and looking back at the “consumer” with a seductive and sexualized look, as if inviting them in (sexually) to consume her. This is a clear example of the male gaze, which is when an image is created to please an audience which is assumed to be male, typically eurocentric and straight. The exposed buttock implies that the dairy cow is nude and offering herself to the male (i.e. consumer/audience), placing the animal in a sexualized, submissive, and yet feminized, state. There is no missing the correlation between the sexualization of this cow and the dehumanization of all women.

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This second image is an advert for Kenneth Cole shoes which depicts a white male taking an eating utensil (chopsticks) to a white female’s foot as it is presented on a wooden board amoung food (sushi). This established the viewer and consumer (the white male gaze) of the product as male and dominant while the consumed (shoes/feet/food?) as female and submissive. This is an interesting dynamic because clearly the shoes are created for use by women, but this advertisement is establishing that the shoes are only women by women so they can become consumable by men. It is advertising the idea that if a woman wears this shoe they are sexually desirable and “eatable,” a negative correlation and dehumanizing idea of women, their bodies, and clothing. The food is placed around the shoes to add to the sexual appeal. The sushi is raw, this can be, as Adam’s explains “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,” that there remains some untouched, originary zone connected to consuming dead flesh and naked women” (Adams 14) The quote by Kenneth Cole himself “raise some heel” is a reassertion and acceptance of the sexualization and dehumanized consumption of women, as if their body is something to be offered to men “raise some heel.” The quote being made by Kenneth Cole (a white male) asserts white male dominance and control over women’s bodies.

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This third image is disturbing and senseless. It is a cooked chicken, clearly a young one at that, placed in a submissive state (i.e. feminized), tied up, legs raised, and arms cut off, plated for consumption by the consumer which in western society is established as the white heterosexual male. What this is representing, realistically is rape. There is no beating around that bush, this is a symbolic metaphorical image that places women as the tied up chicken, physically unable to resist sexual rape. This is an image that assets male dominance, an idea that women are not their own being and only made for the use of a man (we can go all the way back to Adam and Eve if we’d like to understand this long-standing dynamic) as well as simultaneously dehumanizing women and sexualizing animal meat. There is no way to not see the correlation between the consumption of meat (abuse of animals) and the rape and abuse of women. These images are exposed to young children before their logical minds have even developed and constantly show through different avenues to adult people to reassert gender roles, normalize abuse and rape, and victimize women at every turn, just in order to keep up a hox of a social system we identify as the patriarchy, which when boiled down shows no clear reason or purpose of its existence other than to reaffirm to the weak, inferior, and insecure male that he is of some greater power than all other living beings. This is the great LIE of our society!

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This is an especially disturbing image I chose to show how women are depicted nonhuman, consumable, and here for the sexual pleasure/consumption of men. The image is of a nude woman who is half woman, half fish (mermaid, but mermaids are truly an example of two male “consumed” beings, fish (animal meat) and women) laying among other dead raw flesh (fish) drinking an espresso (because that makes sense) seductively and willingly looking on as a rather unattractive white man is fully clothed, touching her, and about to butcher her. This image when realized for what it is, is stomach turning. The woman is completely dehumanized and the animal (fish) is completely sexualized. The menacing look on the face of the white man as he breaks the fourth wall and stares directly at the viewer/consumer is one of excitement, hunger, promiscuity, and an assertion of his power over the woman in the image (thus a representation of all women). The creators of this image should be ashamed for not only the dehumanization of women to nothing more than meat or flesh to be consumed by white men but also the significant age difference between the young woman and the oger-like man. It is images like this that really scare me. Adams’ anthropornography; the sexualization of abusing and consuming animal and animal meat and the animalization of women is passed a theory or idea and, in fact,act a real everyday dynamic of how women and animals are treated under the patriarchy. These abuses are a few of many the patriarchy takes against all living things that are not white, straight, and cis-male. Past any other social structures like classism and socio-economy, these issues are pressing and life-threatening. With every chicken that is sexualized, every woman is raped. With every cow that is murdered for consumption, every person of color is killed. This is a check and balance system made to affirm the founding principles of the patriarchy, that white European straight men are above all other living things and all other living things are inferior and made to serve them. This system must be destroyed if we ever want true equality, and it can honestly start with you, not eating meat!

Veganism and Feminism

Person carving a joint of meat

The image presented in this week’s module shows what seems to be a figure cutting into a piece of meat (looks like Cow meat) on top of a cutting board, it’s left foot is placed on the cutting board, and there is another knife stabbed into the meat. The figure can be assumed male because it lacks any features that may indicate it to be a female. This assumption could also be an inner sexist idea of who would be cutting into meat and who consumes meat. If it is a male figure cutting into the meat, the placement of his left foot, as well as the knife stabbed into the meat shows the dominance he believes he holds over the animal he has killed. The figure is also faceless and a neutral gray, possibly indicating that anyone could fulfill this role or take part in this action. Another factor in the image is size dimensions, the figure is small by comparison to the cut of animal meat, knives, and cutting board. This aspect could possibly be symbolic of the number of humans there are on the planet compared to the number of animals we kill, fewer humans compared to animals consumed. The last factor that I noticed in the image was that the figure is wearing what looks like a chefs hat, but also could be perceived as a sort of crown which adds to the tone of arrogance and self-righteous attitude displayed in the image.

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(A meme that shouldn’t exist)

The understanding of this image definitely comes from my assumptions of the figure being male, and the loaded context surrounding the male display of dominance through the consumption of meat. As noted in the HuffingtonPost article meat and a man’s self-perceived masculinity has long roots in society and social interactions. Most food is connected to some sort of gendering, the HuffingtonPost notes the meat vs salad debate, but I feel a bigger indicator of the insecurity surrounding masculinity can be in alcoholic beverages. Certain liquors are seen as masculine in western society, (beer, whiskey, cognac, red wines) while others are viewed as more feminine (fruity mixed drinks, frozen drinks, tequila, white wines). Even the glass the beverages are served in is seen as feminine or masculine, I’ve once seen a man ask the bartender to serve him a martini in a “manly” glass (i.e. a rocks glass / square glass cup), this is really just baseline pathetic. I’ve also noticed there to be a gendered difference surrounding what is perceived to be a more masculine appetizer (chicken wings) and what is seen as more feminine (flatbread or soup). In general, it is clear that what is perceived as masculine often contains more protein, while what is feminine typically contains less protein and possibly more carbs, if it is not the low-carb “healthy” choice.


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It is clear that the relationship between human beings and other animals is not a pleasant, fair, or morally justifiable one. It is a relationship filled with the human’s toxic domination and murder of animals for consumption and other unnecessary benefits. Both philosophers Gaard and Curtin point to the fact that animals are being abused and murdered for the benefit of human beings and that his murder and abuse resonates largely into all aspects of our interactions with living beings, non-human animals and otherwise. The devaluing of a living beings worth and importance to justify the oppression and abuse placed on it is something human beings have done and do in all different forms, even within their own species, and this is where the tangible concern comes about. Philosophers have likened our relationships, treatment of animals, and consumption of animal meat to classism, sexism, racism, and the overall structures of a patriarchal society. Gaard does not hold back in her article comparing the unequal power structure of pets and pet ownership to slavery stating “If the situation (being a pet) were offered to humans, we’d call it slavery” and noting that she believes it to be inhuman, unacceptable, and lacking empathy for the animal. Curtin also brings up some very relevant and important points in his essay explaining how the consumption of eggs and milk is an exploitation of “the reproductive capacities of the female.” Curtin also states that men are “associated with red meat and activity (“To have muscle you need to eat muscle”), whereas women are associated with vegetables and passivity.” This abuse is one that comes from the same central place, a lack of empathy for living beings and devaluing of their lives and purpose on this earth. To the extent that we have this problem is due to patriarchal ideals and the multilayered social contributors that aggregate our society and aid its oppression of those with less power. Until we deal with these central societal ails such as the consumption of other living beings as food, there is no way we will ever get to a place where all beings are treated and respected equally.

Knowing Your Place – Displacement

When I was younger, my mother would tell me the stories of her childhood, the cobblestoned roads, the hidden valley between two mountains, the children playing in the streets til dust, hopping over firepits for fun, and feeding stray dogs their leftovers, the familiar faces, food, and style, all the things that made up her place in the world. This place was Sao Nicolau, Cape Verde. My mother’s mother’s family had long lived on the island, some likely since it’s colonization. This place my mother spoke so gloriously of, sometimes with water in her eyes, was nothing like the place I knew, where I was raised. My place, or at least my greenhouse where I was placed in hopes of flourishing, is nothing like a valley hidden between two mountains, rather, it is a house by the water with a ridiculously close proximity to a factory that I still to this day am unsure as to whether or not it is open or closed.

When Barbara Kingsolver writes in her article “Small Wonder,” and speaks on the effect our place can have on us, our connection to our history, our passions, our understanding of self, and our ability for honest work, Kingsolver speaks on the very profound and seemingly incomprehensible sensations of what effect one’s place in the world can on them. This I found to not be any truer than when I traveled to my mother’s place, or at least it uses to be…. her hometown of Sao Nicolau. It isn’t until I roamed these cobblestoned streets, watched as people at work made rum from sugarcane, and groups children roamed alone, free, safe, and unguarded, that I realized, I had been displaced, I had been replanted. The soil I attempt to sprout from is not the soil of my ancestors, not the soil of my culture or history, but rather the soil of someone else’s, limiting my own understanding of self and thus growth.

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(Faja, Sao Nicolau, CV)


My roots were replanted, extracted through immigration and brought from the valley in between two mountains on an island off the coast of Africa to the United States, to the somewhat historical and old city of New Bedford, MA, a place where so many Cape Verdean’s, Azores, and other immigrants had replanted their roots. A greenhouse for immigrants and their children, replanted in the hopes that these roots may flourish and flowers may grow and be seen in the great kaleidoscope of the western world. Though this greenhouse seems to be filled with many pots and vases to sprout new roots in, it simply can not compare to the soil that lays on the ground of Sao Nicolau.


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(Sao Nicolau, CV – City Center)


As a child, I had always felt in a very deep and real sense that I don’t belong. This displacement, as I now realize it affects, caused me much insecurity, confusion, an inability to fully understand myself, and connect with my history, ancestors, and even my parents. I am not an American, though I enjoy many American things, ideas, and benefits, I am the son of Cape Verdean immigrants and though not many people have assumed me to be, I reek of it. There is a mounting pressure being the child of an immigrant, one that is completely and deeply felt. It isn’t until I journeyed back to the island where my mother was born that I saw the lack of economic stimulation and the depth of limitations she and so many had faced in order to arrive where they are now. I am fortunate, I am lucky.

Though I am lucky to live in a first world country with much opportunity, there is still something lacking. There are not enough nutrients in this greenhouse soil for my tree to grow and so we are led to find an understanding of how to enrich the soil we are given. Bell Hooks philosophies on the displacement of African American people during the Great Migration when African American people moved out of the racist and rural south to the industrialized north in hopes of opportunity, work, and a better life. However, this move as Hooks hypothesis caused a separation from nature and the places that African Americans found refugee, connection to the world, and had time to contemplate on the prejudices they faced. In this removal from nature and their roots, they were distanced from themselves causing more vulnerability, misunderstanding of self, and limits spiritual growth. Similarly to Hook’s hypothesis, I found that in my displacement, I lacked confidence, an understanding of who I am and a connection to my soul. I’ve had this feeling that in the puzzle piece of self, the most crucial and important pieces have been missing, and it wasn’t until I stepped foot on Sao Nicolau, saw the people, the land, and felt the feeling that I was finally able to see the full picture that my puzzle of self-constructs. When you learn who you are, fully, deeply, and without limitation, in a way you learn about all of us living beings, how we connect. In a way, it is like seeing God for the first time, and it’s magnificent.

Question Wall Puzzle Piece Answer Complete Understanding

Where are you from? Where is your place? Everyone has an idea, everyone has an acknowledgment of what they’ve seen, who they’ve connected to, what they’ve relied on to fulfill their spirit and how these experiences and places have impacted them. You must find where your place is in order to find yourself, to find what defines you and what fills you.

The Environmental Degradation of the Global South

Environmental degradation has held many consequences for women and girls in the Global South. The environmental changes caused by pollution, global warming, and other factors have led many women and girls in developing countries in very hopeless positions. As this week’s readings pointed out, “women are intrinsically linked to water resources because of their roles and responsibilities in using and managing water” this means that the more difficult it becomes to access clean water in developing nations, the more women are affected as gatherer’s of water. Women and girls have been forced due to environmental consequences, to source water and other goods outside of the places they reside in. As Bina Agarwal points out in her scholarly journal, “the gender division of labor, social relations, livelihood possibilities, and kinship systems” has intensified due to the depletion of forest, water, and soils causing women to have longer working days, gathering resources like “fuel, fodder, and water” thus extending their work days to ten to twelve hours. This is pivotal and important because due to the long work days women and young girls are unable to strive after other opportunities such as education and professions outside of domestic gathering, thus limiting their freedom in all aspects of their lives and limiting their independence. These hardships caused by environmental degradation has led to emotional and interpersonal hardships among families. Agarwal notes that often times these tensions are seen among mothers-in-law and young women because of the generational differences from the environment and its resources before and now. It’s important to acknowledge that these issues caused by environmental change have had profound effects on the mental health of women in these developing countries. In Uttar Pradesh, “the growing hardship of young women’s lives with ecological degradation has led to an increased number of suicides.” (Agarwal) This is distressing because, given the continuing increase in environmental degradation, suicide rates can only be expected to rise as well.

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India’s Ganges River pollution

Scientist and activist Vandana Shiva acknowledges the systemic issue plaguing developing countries and corporate “trade agreements.” Shiva states that the biological wealth of poorer countries was “too often appropriated by global corporations that neither sought their hosts’ consent nor shared the profits.” This is no new fad, countries have long been exploiting or straight up stealing from poorer or defenseless nations, often even going as far to cause political and civil unrest in some nations in order to exploit their natural resources. Simple examples can be noted in what the United States of America did during the 19th and 20th century, interfering with nations like Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic, installing governments that would do as America says and allow for further exploitation. America is actually a key nation when we talk about the broad spectrum of governmental toppling and large corporations exploiting developing nations for their resources. Following World War II, America continued to extend their newfound world power and influence in struggling nations around the world, especially those in South America and the Middle East, (examples: Vietnam War, Bay of Pigs,  Persian Gulf War) If we understand the issues plaguing other nations and can sympathize with the everyday struggles common people face in these developing or poorer nations that have been environmentally exploited by larger nations like the United States then we must enact change and vote for politicians that see these as real foreign policy issues that need to be dealt with. It is not fair, just, or moral to sit back while so many human beings suffer for the unnecessary prosperity of a few. We need to look at ourselves, enact change, and fix the broken systems that led to environmental degradation and resource exploitation taking place all around the world.

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1941 Political Cartoon illustrating the United States exploitation of South America


Here is a Wikipedia Page on the U.S.’s involvement in regime change.


The Patriarchal Pyramid of Oppression: Destroy the Patriarchy, Not the Environment!

Let’s be frank,

the Patriarchy is destroying the world. 

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Now, oppression and abuse of the natural world does not begin or end with the Amazon Rainforest, “all forms of oppression are connected” and the structure of oppression must be addressed in its totality. (Hobgood-Oster 1) The structure we speak of is the Patriarchy, this triangular, pyramid-shaped structure places one being above all else, leaving everything and everyone else essentially at the bottom. I believe it is best if we started at the top of this structure and work our way down.

In modern times and in at least the western world, it is clear that at the top of this pyramid of oppression stands the cis-straight man, in America it is clear this is a White-Christian American born cis-gendered, straight man, and below this apex lays all beings that do not fall directly into this description, but use your brains and knowledge of racism, colorism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, xenophobia, etc, to acknowledge some fall higher on the patriarchy scale than others.  All of these categories and compartmentalizations matter because we have given them value and the greater the value we attribute, the greater the power. With this power, the gatekeepers of the patriarchy have nearly made it their mission statement to limit the freedoms, opportunities, and prosperity of all beings that do not stand at the apex on the pyramid of oppression. Ecofeminism takes an opposite stance, making it clear that all beings (human and otherwise) share in the natural tight to be treated, respected, and praised equally for their natural importance and that all living beings or things are radically interconnected on a grand scale that promotes the prosperity of all things. All other systems of structure that do not contribute to this natural truth are directly working against nature and the natural rights of all living things. The ecofeminist model deconstructs the deeply constructed Patriarchal Pyramid of Oppression and places all living things on a spherical flat scale that measures all beings as equally important in their own right and to the prosperity and existence of all other beings.

A key issue that most of us contribute to on a meal to snack to meal basis is the abuse, murder, and oppression of “farmed” animals. Within our patriarchal bubble, we have accepted the abuse and murder of animals as a necessary and natural way of life needed to sustain human life and prosperity, A.K.A. one of the patriarchy’s oldest lies. This principle, that some living beings must be oppressed in order to ensure the survival and prosperity of other (self-important) living beings is the key principle of the patriarchy. It is important to remember the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he said: “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”


Fair Warning: I’m going to show some graphic photos that contain moments of violence in order to illustrate a point.


From the images below, tell me if you are able to spot any significant similarities or differences.

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Cow being stunned and abused before slaughter

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Musician Rihanna after falling victim to domestic abuse by her former partner

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Swedish farm animals being beaten and abused just before slaughter

outraged Chinese social media PREGNANT beatings

A 7-month pregnant woman in China tied to a pole and being beaten by a gang of men.


This is not to make any direct similarities to anything other than the violent abuse faced by living beings, these comparisons are not to dehumanize any person in any way by making reference to similar abuse faced by animals. Now I apologize if those images were disturbing, but they were necessary, and trust me my quick google search showed much more graphic images of violence towards women and animals. However, it is not just cis-women and animals that fall victim to the patriarchal pyramid of abuse and oppression, people of color, queer and/or trans-people, children, and disabled people are abused just as often (at times maybe even more often). Day in and day out, many people, even though who could be considered potential victims, choose to overlook these factors and abusive patterns of our chosen existence and support this system of oppression, or more simply put, Eat Meat.

Animals like all living beings are not made to be used, abused, and murdered for consumption by any other living being, especially not on the scale we see today. The United States Department of Agriculture records shows that 9.47 billion land animals were slaughtered for consumption in 2017 alone. Animalclock.org keeps in up to date record of the number of animals being slaughtered in the U.S.A. from second to second. https://animalclock.org/ There is no essential need to consume animals as food, especially not on the scale we have been in recent times.

The ecofeminist model shows us why the rainforest, a land that houses and allows for the co-existence of many animal and plant species in such a way where all of its beings are able to prosper and grow are exactly what we as a society and a people should be striving for. However, due to our selfish, carnivorous, and careless actions, we have caused irreparable amounts of deforestation, endangered many animal species, harmed our environment to no reversible end, and have been the direct cause of global warming/climate change/the foreseeable end of existence. Oh and like human trafficking is also still very much a THING, but we’ll save that for another time. Women and all people must see that as Warren states it, “there can be no liberation for them and no solution to the ecological crisis within a society whose fundamental model of relationships continues to be one of domination.” There is no equality or possibility of fairness under a model that allows for an apex, a summit, a pinnacle. In order for us to fix our society, we must first restructure our society and belief system to an ecofeminist model. Away with the Patriarchal Pyramid of Oppression and in with the Ecofeminist Sphere of Equality. There’s a lot of work to do, a lot of systemic issues to acknowledge, but if our goal is to live in a fair, kind, and equal world, the work must begin and the pyramid must fall.

– Mirko Lopes


Works Cited:

Hobgood-Oster, Laura: Ecofeminism: Historic and International Developments

Warrens, Karen: http://thereitis.org/warrens-introduction-to-ecofeminism/

Amazon Deforestation Images: https://www.wired.com/2015/04/using-smart-satellites-to-monitor-deforestation-from-space/

Animal Clock: https://animalclock.org/

Swiss Slaughterhouse: https://swiss-slaughterhouses.ch/

Image of Rihanna: https://alygeorges.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/wife-battering-a-sign-of-love/

Unnamed Chinese Woman: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/horrific-video-shows-mob-villagers-6370953