cover image Feminism or Death: How the Women’s Movement Can Save the Planet

Feminism or Death: How the Women’s Movement Can Save the Planet

Françoise d’Eaubonne, trans. from the French by Ruth Hottell. Verso, $26.95 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-83976-440-0

Appearing for the first time in English, this excoriating 1974 treatise from ecofeminism pioneer d’Eaubonne (1920–2005) places the blame for overpopulation, natural resource destruction, and other ecological ills on “patriarchal power.” Calling for a synthesis between ecology and feminism in order to “remake the planet around a totally new model,” d’Eaubonne distinguishes the idea of “feminitude,” or the tragic state of being a woman in patriarchal culture, from femininity, and explores the contradiction that women are the “biological majority of the species” yet are separated from society “in the way oppressed minorities are.” She sees greater access to contraception and abortion as a means of combatting unchecked population growth and finds the roots of environmental destruction in the male urge toward “productivity” and “consumption.” Ultimately, she calls for a “mutation,” in which liberated women overthrow the “phallocracy,” yielding “the restitution of space for the species.” An incisive introduction by contemporary ecofeminists Myriam Bahaffou and Julie Gorecki tracks the movement’s evolution from the ’70s to today and interrogates d’Eaubonne’s use of racist tropes about “Third World women” while celebrating her cutting-edge radicalism. Students of feminism will savor this cogent presentation of a landmark text. (Mar.)