Androcentrism is defined as the practice, conscious or otherwise, of placing male human beings or a masculine point of view at the centre of one’s world view, culture, and history. This term came to be because of the male monopoly on leadership, and shaping our culture. We can see this idea displayed in the most inner workings of our lives, from the work place, to religion. This prevents women from bringing their own ideas, beliefs, and point of views into solving worldly problems. Androcentric culture impacts views of human existence down to the smallest ideas from things like light and dark, to left and right, and life and death creating androcentric gender symbolism. In this gender symbolism the female is always the other, the less than, or the negative.
This has occurred not only with gender, but with races, with economic statuses, and more broadly it has happened with the environment. This discrimination led to a cause called Ecofeminism. This term was coined by a french writer in 1974 to describe movements and philosophies that link feminism and ecology. Ecofeminism seeks to abolish all social injustice. The belief is that the ways in which women and nature are discriminated upon are extremely similar.
The division in today’s societies will not be overcome until we address androcentrism and stop treating our environment as an object to be exploited as a means to an end. If we wish for change, we must first begin to understand the connection between different forms of oppression and begin to evaluate injustices as a whole. Learning about ecofeminism has helped me understand the relationship between patriarchal violence against minorities and nature. Ynestra King explains, ecofeminism is about wholeness, connectedness between theory and practice.”It asserts the special strength and integrity of every living thing.” It is now clear to me that we must move beyond our individual struggles and embrace our diversity in creating a coalition of movements that addresses all oppression.
Halle Van De Hey