What You Should Know About Feminism, Ecopsychology, And Cats

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Cats and other animals have much to teach us about nurturing, Photo by Christyl Rivers

Nurturing is part of our Earthly nature. Competing is also part of it. However, it is our values as human beings that determine how much we value competition over nurturing — or the other way around. Men and women can learn to be major nurturers, but often we are reinforced in values that tell us “winning” is more important than anything else.

When rigid hierarchy comes into play, the dominant figure is often an older, whiter, male. This is clearly demonstrated by a dearth of women in world government and business leadership roles. It is slowly changing, but maybe not fast enough to protect our food, water, air, and soil. These things have been ravaged to a breaking point in recent decades, at least in part because women (and many minorities) are not given full autonomy, choice and voice in many issues, from family size to critical self-preservation decisions.

Ecopsychology, for those who truly grasp it, values both cooperation and competition.

A binary value of winning seems to infest the Trump administration’s every decision. Trump is a competitor. He is concerned about the size of his inaugural crowd, the number of ‘illegitimate’ votes Clinton received, everything that is ‘bigly’ ‘tremendous’ or ‘great’. His values do not appear to reflect the idea that cooperating, nurturing, sharing, and helping are of as much value as conquering, vanquishing, taking and winning.

This has much to do with our biological evolution. We, like other primates, mammals and birds, evolved with competing. Our modern values, however, often fail to realize that far more frequently than we compete, we cooperate. Tribalism and its more serious sibling, Nationalism, should be examined skeptically, but without our many centuries of competing, we would not have gotten this far. It is also true, that taking a view that only winning matters, sets our world on a path of assured destruction. Valuing only one tribe above all other life-forms that are needed to protect it, separates us from nature. It suggests a dominant life-form does not need vital cooperation, only enforcement of power.

Feminism has largely become a dirty word. People openly dismiss that it is all about shared voice and choice. They insist that feminism is about a binary winner/loser equation in which just another dominant ‘side’ comes into power. Those who cannot accept the equality definition, it is often observed, tend to have the winner/loser mentality that disallows a necessary recognition of our mutually rewarding strength of diversity.

Nurturing and vulnerability have value. Males encouraged to have emotions, and females in leadership roles benefit all of us. People of color, LGBT people, and life-forms that create sustainability deserve our protection because they are us, not ‘others.’

It is no surprise that many feminists prefer the word equality over the word feminism, because just like in such movements as Black Lives Matter, or even basic civil rights cases, what immediately pops up are such retorts as such as “But! ALL LIVES MATTER.” Yes. They do. So, having the pre-fix “Fem” immediately meets with resistance for those think feminism is discriminatory to males. Of course, it is not. The entire point of feminism, or activism for equal rights, is inclusion.

Ironically, even those of us who know this often find reasons to blame the “others’, who we see as bullies, or brainwashed, or bigoted.

The radical idea of a shared and sustainable earth meets with similar resistance. Those who value winning over shared nurturing react with skepticism. What is up with these crazy environmentalists? Why should I have to give up plastic water bottles? Who has the right to tell me what to do on my own property? I love meat, why decrease my consumption if the other guy (a competitor) is just going to then take all the choice cuts? Why control our toxic emissions if China and India get away (compete against us) by still using toxins?

People who have these defensive reactions are not evil. They are seeing the values and worldview they were taught. That view sees taking as stronger than giving. It sees winners as better than losers. It sees rigid hierarchy as a natural order of things. Often, it mistakenly views Darwin himself as the source of a dangerous meme. ‘Survival of the fittest’ is something Darwin did not even invent, or promulgate.

These values led to two world wars, greed and corruption in governance and business, and our present dilemma of climate change with all its Katrinas, Syrian refugees, and oil addiction dependency influencing elections, and many more such consequences ahead.

Earth biodiversity is the truest miracle yet realized in our Cosmos. Until we see our belonging in this web of life, we lose bigly. It is “otherism” not the “others” that threaten life on this planet with all of the fire, flood and famine we now face daily,

Education, and a realignment with nature, is the only cure I know of that allows our planet and shared bio-diversity to be realized as our greatest strength. With human societies, as with all natural systems, it is our shared needs that best reflect what we have in common.

Our shared DNA with all living beings should always be utmost in our minds. Values of equality, sharing and cooperation must reflect our highest value: life on Earth.

Would love the hear from you! Please share, highlight or comment, Thank You, Christyl Rivers

Written by

Ecopsychologist, Writer, Farmer, Defender of reality, and Cat Castle Custodian.

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