Environmental Ethics

Volume 18, Issue 2, Summer 1996

Beth A. Dixon
Pages 181-194

The Feminist Connection between Women and Animals

Comparison of similarities between women and animals does not necessarily show that animals are oppressed, much less that they are oppressed by patriarchy. Moreover, by seeking to establish symbolic connections, ecofeminists run the risk of essentializing women as emotional and bodily and closer to nature than men. Feminists have little to gain by concentrating exclusively on how the concepts of woman and animal overlap. Likewise, there is little to be gained for animal liberation by comparing women and animals in theory and practice. Feminists have obligations to liberate animals to the degree that they have obligations to liberate any oppressed population, but not because there are either theoretical, practical, or symbolic connections between women and animals.