Over at Shakesville they have an article on the increasing trend of objectification of women for “green” causes1. Thanks to the work of some of our very talented and practically inexhaustible Green women, I find it really hard to imagine the idea of a green movement that isn’t something of a safe space, and that’s something all of us (men and women) should be thankful for.
However, the USA is showing us how we very easily could have gone down an “enviropop” path had we been willing to strip out the truly progressive part of our message- that the limited availability of resources dictates immediate progress towards social equality. In the USA, however, that philosophy doesn’t appear to have caught on, and instead the Green movement has widened faster but is making slower progress- encapsulating more reluctant greens on their own terms has opened up the floodgates not only to misogyny, but also a weakening of the environmental message in the name of “prosperity”- or rather, not-quite-as unsustainable growth.
While I’m all for a broad tent, and I don’t think you have to be progressive or leftist to be an environmentalist or a supporter of aggressive action on climate change, I think that this sort of behaviour within Green movements actively damages them by compromising the integrity of the whole. Not being a progressive or a leftist is not the same thing as being a misogynist, and letting new people into our tent shouldn’t mean objectifying some of the people who are already behind us.
1 The fact that it’s self-objectification isn’t an excuse. Self-objectification is still a construct of male pressure on women- and if you need any proof of that, think for a moment on the way men would be treated if they tried a similar tactic.