Environmental Ethics

Volume 10, Issue 2, Summer 1988

Patrick D. Murphy
Pages 155-168

Sex-Typing the Planet

The ecology movement has recently attempted to reinvigorate the image of Earth in terms of Lovelock and Epton’s “Gaia hypothesis.” I analyze the shortcomings of using Gaia imagery in the works of Lovelock, deep ecologists, feminists, and ecological poets, and conclude that while the hypothesis serves to alter consciousness, naming it Gaia reinforces the oppressive hierarchical patterns of patriarchal gender stereotypes that it opposes. We are moving toward a new paradigm of nonpatriarchal pluralistic co-evolution, but if deep ecology is going to promote fully its development, it needs to recast or cast aside Gaia imagery.