Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Eco-feminist art

There are various strands to feminism:- first wave feminism, second wave, third wave, eco-feminism.... 'gender feminsist', 'equity feminists', 'resenter feminists', 'marxist feminists'... and maybe more.... whilst at the same time, academic researchers can use feminist analysis as a research methodology (this is certainly fairly popular  and acceptable within human geography). 

It's high time for a picture in this blog so I wish to include this one by Betty LaDuke, as sourced from We'Moon Diary 2011. We'Moon is most definitely, strongly, almost militantly gender/eco-feminist in view point. Personally, I love the diary for its colourful layout, poems and artwork yet I get angry  with what I perceive as the inherent sexism  of the publication - men are totally omitted.  Eco-feminism has been concerned with the apparent connection between the degradation of the planet and the domination of women. More recently, eco-feminism has come to encompass a standpoint of equality and inclusivity of all races, nationalities, sexual orientation, 'dis-ability' and classes. How this means that men should be ignored and excluded, I don't really understand but never mind, we'll speak more about that later (sorry guys- I want to join you as Duppy Feminists!) ... for now though, I want to post this beautiful picture: 

Introducing, 'Latin America: Between Sunlight and Shadow', by Betty LaDuke - a  highly colourful, flowing, holistic  image depicting women (?), all of whom are connected to earth, water, plants, animals and sky.  One of the figures has a skirt decorated with crosses which might symbolise Christianity, though I am guessing this refers to a more pagan, animated and flamboyant Latin American style Christianity,  with many fiestas and much adoration of 'Our Lady'. Is it a halo, a moon or a sun behind the figures and are we shown  ancestral spirits or tree branches growing from their heads? I see a sadness to this picture yet much beauty and soulfulness. Are these beautiful  Latin Americans betwixt light and dark to suggest  that much of their culture is oppressed or unknown to the dominant cultures?

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Listening to Roots Manuva (as the spirit has moved him)

Something is snapping
into place.
a tangible web,
a tension thread,
pulling taught with
Good Feelings.
tugging on the strands,
those strong silken vibes.
a focus,
a switch of perspective,
ever so slight.
a big penny dropping,
making its way down.
the glow of an approaching 'A-ha!'
a soft illumination,
a piecing together.
after years of wandering,
years of wondering,
arguments half-constructed,
barely cohesive.
tangible to me, yes,
real and vibrant to me, yes,
but, a void of open gestured hands,
upturned eyes-
what is it, this thing I need,
for the pieces to make sense?
why the years of studying landscape,
soil and morphology?
for what?
a kick in the teeth?
a stab in the back?
I don't think so.
hmmm, but tonight, it's starting, just beginning to make sense,
as I gobble (up words) and relish, and cower in front of
These Books.
as I persuade myself, and deny myself,
and finally, enjoy myself,
in absolute delight and terror (equal measure), at the process
of undertaking a feminist analysis of my academic work.

And, seeing as Roots inspired me so much, here he is:

Masculinist Culture

So then, what is a masculinist culture? In broad terms, it refers to the hegemonic culture of dominant societies and ways of working which are favoured by governments, militaries and big institutions. A masculinist culture is based upon patriarchal power structures and is hierarchical. Initially, dominant men implemented a masculinist culture, which still now tends to favour and privilege men. However, individual men can be just as oppressed by  a masculinist culture as can women whilst conversely, individual women can find themselves benefiting from a masculinist culture. A masculinist culture tends towards favouring the scientific and rational over the emotional and intuitive. Joni Seager (in Earth Follies: Feminism, Politics and the Environment) claims that most of our current day environmental crises are a direct result of the masculinist culture and that if we really want to have a happy planet, we need to dig into this culture, examine it, and re-structure around more equal ways of working. Victoria Lawson, in her paper, 'The Politics of Difference...'*, has this to say about the term,

"The term masculinist refers to a historically produced linkage in geography between value-neutral objectivist science and the unmarked subject of Western social science as embodying "male, bourgeois, and heterosexist assumptions" (McDowell 1992, 409)*. Masculism does not imply male scientists; indeed, many women geographers have employed masculinist approaches to knowledge production, just as male geographers have engaged feminist theories and practices in their research."
Getting reflexive- this is me in masculinist mode.

Personally, I like masculinist ways of working and have great respect for many aspects of masculinist culture. I have many a happy hour in a lab, obsessing over soil samples and I adore academia, which tends to be pretty masculinist. I am starting to think I might have to classify myself as some sort of feminist... though whether I will be a 'gender feminist', 'equity feminist' or even a 'duppy feminist',  I do not yet know. How do you define a feminist who believes in equality (as long as I don't have to compromise too much), and both masculinist and feminist ways of working? Having said all this, my next post takes a diversion into some distinctly unmasculinist territory.

*Lawson, V. (1995) The Politics of Difference: Examining the Qualitative/ Quantitative Dualism in Post Structuralist Feminist Research, The Professional Geographer 47:4, 449-457

*McDowell, L. (1992) Doing gender: Feminism, feminists and research methods in human geography. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 17:399-416
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