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  In ecofeminism concern for the environment and the welfare of the planet are combined with feminist analysis and reaction to the power of the patriarchy. The image of ‘Nature’ as a supine, passive entity cultivated by ‘man’ who ploughs, sows, begets and controls and dominates, is rejected in favour of a conciliatory non-interventionist approach involving equal contributions from both sexes. Feminists are convinced that if attitudes can be changed (and generally they seem to believe that they can be), then the posioning of creation will cease. There is, however, no questioning of the assumption that the natural world in some way is feminine, and congenial, rather than hostile, dangerous, and ‘red in tooth and claw’.

Ecofeminism is world-affirming, with a ‘green’ approach to life. The radical critique of gender roles in the natural world requires a revision of medicine, ethics and theology, with, for example, women reclaiming control over their bodies instead of doing what (male) doctors tell them to do. It involves an integrationist approach to work/housework, home/workplace, gender roles, etc., in a way which recalls William Morris and the Pre-Raphaelites. Some ecofeminists have moved on to embrace goddess theology and the Gaia hypothesis. TK

See also feminism; feminist theology.Further reading J. Plant (ed.), Healing the Wounds: the Promise of Ecofeminism; , Mary Daly Gyn/Ecology.



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