The finalist of the primary of the ecologists, Sandrine Rousseau, claims to be ecofeminism, a movement born in the 1970s and which has known for a few years a real craze. France 24 takes stock of a concept that could make a lot of talk during the presidential campaign.
“The principle of ecofeminism is to denounce what is at the heart of our economic and social system, which is predation”, explains Sandrine Rousseau in each of her media interventions. “We take, we use, we throw women’s bodies when we rape them and when we attack them. We take, we use, we throw away nature when we take resources and dirty the oceans with plastic. We take, we use, we also throw the bodies of the most precarious in society. “
The finalist of the environmentalist primary against Yannick Jadot – the second round takes place from September 25 to 28 in an online vote – has decided to embark on the presidential race on the day of the appointment of an accused man of rape, Gérald Darmanin, at the Ministry of the Interior. Impossible for her not to link ecology and feminism. These two struggles are intrinsically linked.
Born in France in the 1970s with the publication of the book “Le Féminisme ou la Mort” by Françoise d’Eaubonne, ecofeminism then links birth control to the survival of the planet. “The first relation of ecology with the liberation of women is the taking back of demography by them, which defines the reappropriation of the body”, she writes, thus establishing a parallel between ecological crisis and patriarchy.
It is, however, abroad that ecofeminism is developing, particularly in Anglo-Saxon countries via the anti-nuclear fight, but also with protest movements against deforestation in India with Vandana Shiva and in Kenya with Wangari Muta Maathai. The latter founded the Green Belt Movement in 1977 with the aim of encouraging women to plant trees to fight against deforestation. The felling of trees endangered the daily life of Kenyan villages and women, in particular in charge of collecting wood. Thanks to his association, several tens of millions of trees have been planted. Wangari Muta Maathai received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for his work.
The #MeToo click
“The idea behind all this is the denunciation of a patriarchal system of oppression. We realize that it acts all the time in the same way, on the planet and on women, with the overexploitation of natural resources, the exploitation of women’s bodies and women’s work, “explains Solène Ducretot, activist, co-founder of the ecofeminist association Les Volonterres, also spokesperson for Sandrine Rousseau, contacted by France 24.
“If we pull the thread even further, it’s the same system that creates lots of knots in our society, like racism or capitalism,” she continues. “We therefore need a convergence between all these struggles that ecofeminism allows, in order to move from a society based on a pyramid scheme with a few powerful at the top and a mass that suffers to a society based on a circular scheme and leaning on co-construction. “
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In France, the concept remains quite confidential, however, until the #MeToo movement and the big marches for the climate. “The ecological emergency is more and more sensitive for everyone and at the same time, we are witnessing a return of feminism, long considered outdated. Moreover, since the confinement, there is a kind of general aspiration to a change of system, with the impression of having arrived at the end of the race “, analyzes Jeanne Burgart-Goutal, associate of philosophy and author of the book” Being ecofeminist: theories and practices “, in an interview with Reporterre.
“There was a lot of writing on ecofeminism in the 1970s in Anglo-Saxon countries, but there is almost everything to build in France,” adds Solène Ducretot. “It is therefore a movement that can be appropriated in many different ways, which allows creativity and which makes it possible to recreate an imaginary, admittedly a little utopian and radical, but in any case hyper stimulating.”
>> To read: Sandrine Rousseau, the radical and feminist surprise of the environmentalist primary
In fact, ecofeminism is a protean movement, crossed by many currents. This diversity is, moreover, an angle of attack that is easy to exploit for its opponents, who accuse ecofeminism of essentializing women – that is to say of reducing them to their gender and the characteristics that are attached to them. – or to make an enemy of man. Especially since, at the same time, some recent books – such as “Les Génie lesbien” by Alice Coffin, elected ecologist at the Council of Paris and supporter of Sandrine Rousseau, or “Me men, I hate them” by Pauline Harmange – fueled accusations of misandry.
Feminism and class struggle
Solène Ducretot does not deny the existence of these trends, but considers them to be marginal. “Feminism is not to hate men. What we denounce is a system, not men. Our goal is to deconstruct society as it exists today to rebuild everything from zero. And for that we need men and everyone. “
They are however invited to “deconstruct”. During the in-between debate against Yannick Jadot, Wednesday September 22 on LCI, Sandrine Rousseau declared to be delighted to share the life of a “deconstructed” man.
“To deconstruct oneself means to start by listening to the words of women”, explains Solène Ducretot. “This is what #MeToo has enabled. Then, you have to be aware of the social hierarchies and the small privileges that go with them and which participate in the reproduction of inequalities. If you are a white man from a wealthy social class, we are at the top of the pyramid. And the further we go down in the pyramid, the more we are subjected to a system of oppression. “
>> To read: Primary environmentalist: Yannick Jadot or the ambition of a “pragmatist”
This approach combining feminism and class struggle is another marker of ecofeminism defended by Sandrine Rousseau, which differs in this from traditional feminism. Its fight does not focus on the accession of women to positions of high responsibility, in the world of business or politics, but on the defense of all women, and in particular those at the bottom of the line. social ladder and occupying precarious or difficult jobs, such as cashiers or housekeepers.
Will the translation of this thought into a political program result in a victory at the polls? Sandrine Rousseau is convinced of this. “This result, in the end, is only a surprise for people who did not understand, or who did not want to see, the evolutions of the company”, she declared after the announcement of the results. of the first round of the environmentalist primary. The results of the second round, Tuesday, September 28, will say whether ecofeminism will remain in the spotlight during the next presidential campaign.