Filosofia Theoretica

Volume 3, Issue 2, 2014

Fainos Mangena
Pages 124-139

Can Africana Women truly embrace Ecological Feminism?

My starting point in this essay is that, if it can be ascertained that there is something called Black African feminism (which represents the interests of some Black African women) as claimed by feminists and other like-minded African women, then the existence of Black African ecological feminism should be a matter of deduction. In this essay, I interrogate this position using Karen Warren’s version of ecological feminism which holds that there are important historical and conceptual connections between the domination of women in society and the domination of nature. This interrogation also prompts me to trace the history of traditional feminism with a view to showing that while, in the West, there could be important connections – historical, symbolic and theoretical – between the oppression of women and the cruel treatment of nature, the same cannot be said of Africa, especially sub-Saharan Africa where nature is owned or guarded by the spirit world. Using the Africana womanist perspective and the deductive method in philosophy, I argue that traditional feminism together with Warren’s ecological feminism completely ignore the experiences and aspirations of Black African women, thereby ruling out the possibility of the existence – in the truest sense – of both Black African feminism and Black African ecological feminism.