Let’s be frank,
the Patriarchy is destroying the world.
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.
Cow being stunned and abused before slaughter
Musician Rihanna after falling victim to domestic abuse by her former partner
Swedish farm animals being beaten and abused just before slaughter
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
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
Your post was very thoughtful. Cows are one of my favorite animals and it makes me incredibly sad knowing that there is constant suffering to these amazing animals. So many animals suffer for human convenience…Factory farming is one of the worst and darkest industries in the world. So many animals suffer in the worst ways and end up slaughtered in the end. Human culture is accustomed to eating animals so there would need to be a massive effort to convince people to ditch meat.
Thanks for sharing this information with everyone.
I have never thought of patriarchy as a pyramid of oppression before your blog post. I think something clicked in my brain and I can see its different levels and who sits on top and who is on the very, very bottom. The one thing about our class readings what struck me is how prevalent domination is within our human society. It’s going to be very hard to undo centuries of this mentality. Where do you think we should start? Do we start with the liberation of women? Or do we start on an ecological level? Your quote from Warren is very poignant. The world is in a state of disarray and I often feel overwhelmed by the news. Your idea of this ecofeminist sphere draws from our readings perfectly. Hobgood Oster states we must destroy dualism as it is the crux of patriarchy. If one is better than the others, then there are those who are of lesser value. Hobgood Oster writes “therefore all dualisms and binary oppositional forms must be dismantled otherwise humanity remains ‘divided against’ itself.” Visually I can see how the patriarchy pyramid has different rungs dividing each identity, but the sphere connects everyone together cyclically. That is what ecofeminism truly is, the idea that we are all interconnected, and that domination separates us.
In your introduction you say that you are vegan. I’m always curious behind this personal choice. I have a feeling your decision is a political stance against patriarchy. Do share please.
Looking forward to more of your posts and discussions!
I definitely think, although shocking, the images you used in comparison will be an eye opener to many readers. It seems the correlation is not just dominance, but forcing the other party into submission, if that makes sense. It feels as if they must weaken the other party, to feel that they have asserted their dominance effectively. This cruelty and the patriarchy turning a blind eye to the issues is one of the many issues that make up the core of our brutal and unforgiving society.
Great post. The connection to the abuse of women and the abuse of animals was never something I had explored before this class. But, it makes so much sense. Especially after seeing the images you posted. I feel that people can easily avoid the reality of a situation, and just as easily become manipulated by social structures put into place to make us believe the complete opposite of the truth, when they are not shown what is actually going on. Those pictures you shared were so real and so scary to me, and I appreciate that because I am a person who eats meat, but I adore animals so much. I have always known that animals are not treated correctly during the slaughtering process- wow, that is such a strong word when I say it now- and that there are many alternative ways to eating, but I have never fully addressed this issue with myself. I am guilty of participating in this abuse and it is weighing heavy on my mind. Your post makes me want to view more of the graphic reality just to keep this truth in my head, otherwise I may continue to ignore it, just like most of our society.
What are some of your suggestions for how I can transition to a more vegan-friendly lifestyle? Veganism has become more and more popular, but I think initially people are thrown off by the idea because we are so deeply taught to believe in this hierarchical world dominance where humans are at the top and must do what we can for survival as the strongest species. But, I also think that the more I understand the connection to feminism and ecology, the more I will see how patriarchy uses it’s abuse on a global level and the more I will personally want to change my way of life and the way I view how the world should live together, functioning as a balanced whole. Thanks so much for your post!
Oh wow this is impactful and utterly disturbing. Remember the movie Texas chainsaw massacre? The director was in a slaughter house and saw how we treated animals and created the movie in a response to how disturbing it is and our treatment of animals. Hanging people getting ready to be slaughtered. Which in hind sight is happening to those in a inferior position to the white cis man. This is being displayed in how blatant racism is happening and has been happening. The men in congress being caught wearing kkk garb and discussion of this being unacceptable. This was brought to the senator in his speech to speak openly about it this with undoubtedly no remorse was you tell me and I’ll tell you. The bubble is real let pop this shit.
Great post! It’s so important that you recognized how interconnected the systems of oppression are. Your writing is very passionate. No matter how terrible they were, I think the images of beaten women and animals helped get your point across that a large section of the population is receiving this treatment. Images help people relate to the topics more. I also appreciated how you acknowledged that you only showed pictures of women and animals, but there is so much violence also directed towards people not just based on their gender, but also their sexuality, race, ethnicity, social and economic status, and religion. Very insightful.
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