Avatar & Ecofeminism

After watching Avatar in 3-D I had a headache from the intensity of the sharp, protruding images on the big screen. The whole experience blew my mind. Avatar was epic on so many levels. Mostly for its commentary on the environmental future of our world. Colonialism, Capitalization on Natural Resources, Displacement of Indigenous Peoples, the Indigenous Connection to Nature, Patriarchal Domination, Violence as Diplomatic Solution,

Check out the Trailer.

One quote that stands out, “They already killed their mother, so now they want to kill ours.” (One biologist referring to the transference of tapping out Earth’s resources, and now the capitalist and military tycoons moving onto the pristine planet Pandora.)

Spiritual themes also pervade the film. As the Avatar peoples explain their connection with nature as a spirit (Gaia).

[“The Gaia hypothesis is an ecological hypothesis proposing that the biosphere and the physical components of the Earth (atmosphere, cryosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere) are closely integrated to form a complex interacting system that maintains the climatic and biogeochemical conditions on Earth in a preferred homeostasis” (Wiki…).]

They are all interconnected, intertwined in each others’ existence. It is a beautiful idea. One I wish we humans adopted more fully.

Then I was reading for my Globalization course, Tangled Routes: Women Work and Globalization on the Tomato Trail, by Deborah Barndt, about the feminist ecological perspective.

[Ecofeminism being a ” social and political movement which points to the existence of considerable common ground between environmentalism and feminism, with some currents linking deep ecology and feminism… Ecofeminists argue that a strong parallel exists between the oppression and subordination of women in families and society and the degradation of nature”(Wiki…). One of the most prominent voices of ecofeminism is Vandana Shiva, philosopher, environmental activist, author, and physicist.]

Vandana Shiva

In Tangled Routes, Barndt makes a significant connection between women and nature’s well-being, saying, to a degree, women are more in tune with nature due to the gendered division of labor in agricultural work. Women are a life-giving force. Thus the “Mother Nature” label, etc.

“…there is a critical connection between the domination of nature and the domination of women” (p.67, Tangled Routes).

Just a little connection I’m making between the epic themes of environmental degradation and colonial oppression with woman’s roles in society being objectified and oppressed by a patriarchal liberal democracy…

Neytiri in Avatar - the new face of ecofeminism


One thought on “Avatar & Ecofeminism

  1. Recently I wrote a blog entry offering a leftist critique of the ideology of “Green” environmentalism, deep ecology, animal rights activism, eco-feminism, and lifestyle politics in general (veganism, “dumpster diving,” “buying organic,” etc.). I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the matter and any responses you might have to its criticisms.

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