Magazine 2017
International Peer-Reviewed Journal  
Pooja Siwatch  
The works by women writers exhibit the critique of binaries created by patriarchal capitalism to deconstruct  
the woman/nature analogy along with culture/nature oppositions. Literature provides the theory before  
the action. The symbolic action for change thus occurs when methods of literature become the approaches  
towards climate change. The center of this change is the marginalized woman. The nexus of the nonhuman  
nature and marginalized woman is captured in the epiphanies of works by women writers as a common  
point program to liberate from male domination. Thus feminine literature reconfigures the conditions of  
woman and ecofeminism to host the triumph of her free choice of social reproduction that completely  
defies capitalist structure based on personalized profits. Thus the imagery of words in woman based  
nature or nature based woman inspire the physical world to from an allied force for the much needed  
climate change in this age of Anthropocene.  
Keywords : Anthropocene, Socioeconomic, Social reproduction  
Theory of Ecofeminism  
Ecofeminism is the ecocritical consciousness that combats the nature from being used as commodity for  
profit by capitalist state. Ecocriticism here is the relation literature has with the physical environment. Thus  
ecofeminism is the approach to integrate nature within the feminist theory. This involves moving away from  
the patriarchal capitalism that has brought the mono culture for the entire world. This age of supposed  
superior intelligia that has led to rapid growth of industrialization is called the age of Anthropocene where  
man has dominated nature completely to build its infrastructure.It is safe here to say that the cultural identity  
of man is that of ‘master identity’ where woman is the resource like nature who is exploited by the systems  
that has produced conditions to industrialize nature and its many products. Man has used nature as  
convenience to him instead of co-exiting with it. Women‘s genealogy traces similar agencies of exploitation.  
Arising from this repertoire is the new age ecofeminism as condition where “[W]oman must see that there  
can be no liberation for them and no solution to the ecological crisis within a society whose fundamental  
model of relationships continues to be one of domination. They must unite the demands of the women’s  
movement with those of the ecological movement to envision a radical reshaping of the basic socioeconomic  
relations and the underlying values of this [modern industrial] society” (Ruether, 1975204).Friendship of  
Nazneen and Razia is the ecofeminist friendship built on each other’s economies for nourishment and care of  
families (Ali, ‘brick lane’2003). The economies of love, care and nourishment are worked by women in their  
homes. It’s a non-monetized value added trade which is free of profit oriented enterprise. The gratification of  
the need based (and not profit based) enterprise nourishes the recipients of women’s labor without any  
revenue from family in fixed term. Reciprocation remains in actions of her family for her security and respect.  
In this way nature and women function exchanging their forms to nourish the seed in their womb for longevity  
of humanity on this planet.  
Literature by women writers encompasses this consciousness of women in their works to unite us all with  
nature, at times through the imagery of death in words, “the world is ill and dying.Here there are those who  
have gotten ahead of the rest….your time will come….The moment of pain comes for everyone; your mistake  
is not to realize that” (Ardizzi, 2000 90). The feminist theory of literature by women writers does not romanticize  
landscape or its longing characterized as departure from society, rather it pledges to sustain the fragile  
boundary between nature and humanity.Feminine literature, thus becomes discourse of ecology too.  
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It moves away from the gendered discourse of male writer to incorporate concerns of ordinary life of woman  
where she her concerns over the bloom of Gulmohar tree is to “be home in time to catch the flowers as they  
fall” (Badami, 2002 147).The imagery created in their literary works emphasizes the land as source of pleasure  
and engagement for women for her soul to celebrate its existence in workings of nature.  
The anticlimax to above is the patriarchal endeavors for a monetized profit by rendering the earth, its resources,  
and the people, as mere raw material. The discourse of capitalism produces conditions of domination to  
discipline the environment and woman alike. The politics of Ali’s pen validates above and reads comic  
instance from a hand towel “Rules to be observed by the Hands Employed in this Mill.’ It’s got a date on:  
878" (2010 198). Ali creates the vacuum built on capitalist principles to prompt the reader of the distance  
from nature that needs to be reversed.  
All the above are episodic collection to purport the relevance of this paper in combining the eco-feminine  
literary force with social reproduction as the force to empower movement for climate change.  
Patriarchal CapitalismCreated the Divide of Man from Man,Man from Woman, and Woman from nature  
Capitalism obtained its influence by injecting race, class, and gender binaries as a historiographical project  
of scientific discoveries and invention to align women, nature and man as resource in the process of selection  
of few. Naturally such systems of power were built on discourse of ‘progress and prosperity’ in disguise of  
the project of universalizing the world in arbitrary categorization of woman and nature in a fixed order to  
deliver for factory requirements. This has made relation between patriarchy and woman/nature one that of  
domination and oppression by patronizing the domestic labour along with re-productivity of woman/ nature  
as ‘[T]he highly institutionalised demarcation of domestic labour from wage labour in a context of male  
supremacy forms the basis for a series of powerful ideological structures which develop a forceful life of their  
own’ (Vogel, 2013 153-4). This divide creates systems of power for effectiveness of ruling class which expands  
its trade by creating multiple hierarchies or divisions to appropriate labour ‘which then becomes synonymous  
with women’s underdevelopment and nature’s depletion’ (Shiva 2010).  
Reclaiming women and nature from the identity inscribed is by valuing their social reproduction.Capitalism  
separated areas of production calibrated as ‘workplace’ from that of reproduction namely the ‘home’. Women  
was assigned the house. Birth, child-care, caring for elderly and nourishment of the whole family involved  
hour-to-hour work by woman. The labour became her commitment to her role and progressed as her natural  
gender attribute. This hard work is not accounted in any nation’s GDP gross figures. Devaluing performativity  
of the women’s role gave capitalism the leverage through patriarchal norms. It eroded all social relations.  
Cheap female labour and child-labour became the discriminatory tools employed to regulate the labor market.  
The selection of few created hierarchies led industrialization where ties of solidarity were based on economic  
gains. Naturally the domestic labour that did not bring any economic gain further devalued women’s work at  
home: cleaning, care-giving, cooking. This class division and gender division has become the order of the  
day. Nature is relegated to raw material provider and men at factory became the producers with no obligation  
towards earth and its components. Thus the divide of humanity and separation from nature became the will  
of the state. It is vital acknowledge this insanity in human behavior towards nature the ‘prakriti’-knowledge of  
self, for healing the planet.  
Here one needs to recognize that the nature of woman and her reproduction is not an imposed condition. It  
is rather her choice practiced through her role that patriarchy has exploited and dominated. It is her culture  
like the ‘aranya samskriti’ (forest culture) which is not the ‘condition of primitiveness, but one of conscious  
choice” (Shiva, 2010 53).  
Men perceive their state of mass production as active and that of women as passive state. This creates the  
divide of conscious and alive from the unconscious mass production of factory fit values. Thus women’s  
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natural creativity has caused another divide paradigm from man as ‘renewable base of agriculture provided by  
women through carrying green manure and fodder to farms and carrying compost and organic matter to fields  
has been destroyed by reductionist agriculture which replaces renewable inputs from the farm by non-renewable  
inputs from factories, and displaces women’s work in providing sustainable inputs with the work of men and  
machine to produce hazardous agri-chemicals as inputs to green revolution agriculture’ (Shiva,1998 92). The  
ecological prospective of woman is the knowledge that nourishes humanity. The patriarchal order in contrast  
reduces her social reproductivity. This is aptly recognized by works of women writers who strike to bring this  
care for humanity back into our lives. Women’s literature substitutes the patriarchal functions by ecofeminist  
cultures that are committed toward social reproduction as a “decent weaver won’t wait on a tackler. They’ll fix  
it and get on” for a capitalist tackler has “threads that break all the time” (Ali. 2010 287). with social reproduction.  
Ecofeminism as the Language of Resistance  
Women writers are more tuned to the social reproductions in the role of women. Through study of their works  
I attempt to explore the intersection ecofeminism makes with their non-monetized labour of care and  
nourishment to resist the globally regenerative age of Anthropocene and prove that ecofeminism is vital for  
climate change.  
Subverting the norms is the initiative of literature. Thoughts proceeds actions. Therefore women writers write  
the language of change. They create the conditions for identifying feminist agendas with nature to bring  
holistic and value based economy of social reproduction to initiate reversal of our habits.  
Imagery of Ecofeminism  
Human spirituality progresses through womanhood. Spirituality has to be essentially viewed as an ability of  
human to focus beyond the pain and move ahead in life. This part of feminist behavior links it with eco  
spirituality which is the ground work for ecofeminism.Writer Anita Rau Badami brings the cathexis of concerns  
of past with relinquishing the past for better present occurs when environmentalist Arun and his father Sripathi  
find peace in each other’s choices in life. Sripathi and Arun both enjoy the stroll on the beach at dusk time to  
watch the turtles returning to lay eggs. Badami’s climax in her narrative is when her protagonist coexist with  
nature as he “humbles by the sight of something that had started long before humans had been imagined  
into creation by Brahma, and had survived the voracious appetite of those same humans” (‘The Hero’s Walk’  
000, 355). The reverence for nature further prompts Sripathi to relinquish his old Brahmin house and its  
ways to evolve a non-gendered symphony arising from the cacophony of his mother Ammaya. The unity of  
feminist ideals with the non-human nature are the ‘new cosmologies emerging from physics, [that] provide  
fertile ground for ecofeminist entry into dialogue with natural sciences’ (Sree 2008, 97).  
Quite similar to above the epistolary narrative of ‘Brick lane’, letters of Hasina are the pain beyond which  
Nazneen has to constantly grow out from, to care or her children. She has to forgo any thoughts of reunion  
with her sister in Bangladesh when she sought the new order of life. In this way she figuratively and literally  
relinquishes her past (Ali Brick Lane).  
Language initiated by such literature is that prompt where ‘[T]he World needs an epistemological change  
which will rearrange desires. Global contemporaneity requires it’ (Spivak, 3). The contemporaneity in the  
language of women writers is the non-essentialist and non-gendered discourse that forms a more urgent  
bond with nature for reversal of patriarchal norms and climate change. The existential crisis is the women  
writer’s resolve to admit the crisis between the protagonist and the environment reflected through oppression  
of woman, and her distance from the nature. The crisis is resolved by Badami inher prolific language that  
says, “ how neat that garden used to be…Maya and Nirmala had lovingly tended the mango and guava trees,  
the banana plants and coconut palms, and had been rewarded with steady supply of fruit” (‘The Hero’s Walk’  
00 7). The physicality of the time and geography of the fictitious town Totupuram by Badami is ecofeminism  
planted in trees of old Brahmanical house. The garden of the house bears the ‘image of bounty’ as social  
reproduction when attended by his daughter, Maya and wife Nirmala. The garden dried up when Sripathi as  
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representative of patriarchal norms devalued Maya (womanhood) and her decision to marry as per her own  
choice. He eroded the social relation of mother and daughter. This language delivers the cause and verdict  
of ecofeminist actions that lead to holistic social reproduction in the imagery of the garden that will bloom  
again when the desires are rearranged for global contemporaneity.  
In her narrative ‘Made in Italy’, Maria J.Ardizzi drowns the cacophony of World War IIon the farm life in Italy.  
Non-materialism of Ardizzi distances the womanhood of Nora from her loveless marriage and the philanderer  
way of life of her husband Vanni. Ardizzi’s pen critiques the war on outsidethat claims to bring honour to its  
people and on the inside talks of ‘who are those people’ through Zia Tina who is able to settle the fear of  
soldiers when they wandered into their house by saying, “they are some mother’s poor sons too…..Tossed  
about and confused….full of fear…” (Ardizzi1999, 106). Men in this discourse of literature are ‘re-educated  
with minimum damage to them’ (Sree 2008). The ability to envision all humanity as born through singular  
womb and thus connected is working of nature through woman and woman through nature.This is ecofeminism  
that crosslinks with the written texts in words of Elleke Boehmer “postcolonial women writers ….…are equally  
concerned to bring fore the specific textures of their own existence. Both as woman and postcolonial citizens  
they concentrate….on their ‘distinct actualities’ and ‘often this is a political commitment” (Boehmer 6). Ardizzi  
has integrated social relations in bringing back the sense of unified at womb through caring for every mother’s  
son. Here ecofeminism functions as relation of nature (care for every mother’s son) withfeminism that re-  
educates humanity.  
Ardizzi retains the currency of social issue by putting protagonist Nora in capitalist market of garment factory  
but only to explore identity of female subjectivity to establish its identity free of any essentialism threatened  
by her coexistence with nature. This identity of Nora does not need too many artifacts in the house or the  
abstentious display of wealth. She practices this as a response to patriarchy in expressing her freedom of  
choice and not of imposed conditions. It despises of the clamor caused in Amelia’s clothing in appreciation  
of simplistic forms of life in form of mama and papa andZia Tina. The fondest memory of Nora are from the  
ecofeminist world where she lived one with nature.  
This theoretical assumptions of Ardizzi that functions through Nora is in line with “Gramsci’s exhortation:  
instrumentalize the intellectual, in the interest of producing epistemological change, rather than only attending  
upon the ethical, in subaltern and intellectual alike” in Gayatri Spivak’s explanation that “By superimposing  
and interconnecting many loops, we (and all other biological systems) not only solve particular problems but  
also form habits which we apply to the solutions of classes of problems. We act as though a whole class of  
problems could be solved in terms of assumptions or premises, fewer in number than the members of the  
class of problems. In other words, we (organisms) learn to learn….[The] rigidity [ of habits] follows as a  
necessary corollary of their status in the hierarchy of adaptation. The very economy of trial and error which is  
achieved by habit formation is only possible because habits are comparatively “hard programmed’. ….The  
economy consists precisely in not re-examining or re-discovering the premises of habit every time habit is  
used. We may say that these premises are partly “unconscious’, or-if you please- a habit of not examining  
them is developed. (EM, p. 274). Therefore women’s literature is the habit of examining the hard programmed  
norms of patriarchy. To watch the turtles return and lay their eggs, to be back home in time to collect the  
flowers that fall from Gulmohar tree, or offer peace to lost soldiers of war is the social value in acts performed  
by women in feminine literature that induce the habit to develop varied response to workings of nature.  
Deconstructing Capitalism in Favour of Ecofeminist Ethics  
Monica Ali is the voice of the displaced, uprooted and ignored. Therefore her literature is non-gendered in its  
reflection of the proletariat as the exploited. Nevertheless she retains the unassuming position of class  
hierarchies and social binaries created by industrialized North. The social order thus created places woman  
at the bottom of the ladder with further distinctions of the immigrant and coloured women of the world. Ali  
deconstructs workings of capitalist venture through ‘Imperial Hotel’ in her narrative ‘In the Kitchen’. The  
narrative is poignant with techniques employed by Ali to expose what Vandana Shiva argues as “[w]hile gender  
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subordination and patriarchy are the oldest of oppressions, they have taken on new and more violent forms  
through the project of development”. This oppressive apparatus of capitalism is deconstructed by Ali by  
purporting the concept of ‘national identity’ as “market place of ideas and values and cultures, and none of  
them is privileged over the rest….nothing more than laissez-faire” (‘In the Kitchen’, 285). Here ecofeminism is  
practiced by cautioning man, as ‘none of them is privileged’ and to coexist as ‘nonidentity’. Ali’s ethics of  
ecofeminism displace gender and all social binaries for universal ecological justice in the deconstruction of  
the capitalist structure of ‘The Imperial Hotel’.  
The institution of ‘marriage’ as a patriarchal norm that supports capitalism is regressive and painful history of  
feminine literature. Genealogy of women is abundant with practices inscribed on women to fit the role of  
housewife, mother and care-taker. Ali’s craft in ‘brick lane’ (2003) makes the narrative as a collective story of  
women isolated in their experiences. Nazneen, Jorina, Razia amongst host of other women in the narrative,  
collectively appropriate their labour for idealist goals of raising their children in peace and harmony. The  
women writer transfixes the value based enterprise of woman that arises from repertoire of her past in words,  
But that was before I knew what I could do” (Ali 2003, 410). It is a narrative that does not build accolades of  
a singular soul but a collective emancipation of the community of the marginalized to successfully deconstruct  
capitalism and patriarchy.  
Can You Hear the Night Bird Call?’ is Badami’s verdict on capitalism where “a woman is damaged in places  
too private to see” (2006 399). Ethics of the industrialized world has enabled the capitalist to take what does  
not belong to him: the rightful labour of the proletariat away from them. Nimmo’s labour of love, her son is  
seduced by Sharanjeet to fulfill her lack in childless state. While on one hand it is the performativity of a role  
that inscribes the position of lack on Sharanjeet, namely her childless state, it becomes a capitalist venture  
for her to be able to convince Nimmo to give up one of her children to her. Badami displays the shameless  
morality of man that chooses to exploit nature, ruin or transform it for its own profits. Such deconstruction  
creates deep inroads into the psyche of displaced child who takes refuge in violence and ultimately the  
ethics rolled on red carpet of capitalism cause breakdown of the entire system of lives constructed with base  
of money as power over nature. The absent human-ness in the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan, the  
Golden Temple Tragedy in 1983 and the explosion of Air India flight 182 off the coast of Ireland in 1985 is  
weaved in life of Nimmo; the women who has borne the stink of death and decay from all three political  
events that took place in her life. The loss of ethics, morality and humility to regard nature as undividable and  
universal is preached by Badami through Nimmo whose husband has died in the riots and yet she “collects  
Satpal’s turban cloth, which she had starched that morning and hung out to dry-long strips of colour fluttering  
in the sun, reminding her of him, standing before the small mirror in the front room, winding his turban about  
his head, catching her eye as she watched, smiling at her” (‘Can You Hear the Night Bird Call?’ 398-9). The  
starch on Satpal’s turban that fluttered in the sun is the love of women for her family that is abundant and free.  
It is the love that continues to nourish the soul of the giver and receiver long after physicality of the human  
body is lost. Literature of Badami synchs woman with nature as that force which no riot, or human destruction  
could destroy and that which flutters freely. This consciousness of peace prevails in nature. It is this peace  
that needs to be protected in this age of Anthropocene where war machines have taken control of human  
Eco-feminist Literature Seeks Justice  
This resistance to Anthropocene is resistance to that economy which is bereft of any logic, essential identity,  
determinant or organizing principle. Humanity has built its morality derived from subjects of the written texts.  
These subjects in works of women writers assemble the different constituents of the male-driven economy to  
balance the excessive produce that is not only unethical but has become toxic for man and nature. Their  
existence is threatened by the various emissions from factories overloaded with principles of decay and  
death. Such an economy needs to be deconstructed for perseverance of sustainable geological age.  
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It begins when women writer asks a mother, “Are you happy being Appa’s wife? A mother?”(Badami2000, 160)  
as an unanswered query to recount the decline of resources of air, water and arable land as consequence of the  
lack of speech in unified exploitation of woman and nature. The expansionist discourse of capitalism has  
plundered natural resources who like woman are mute in their existence. Saroja represents the unified struggle  
of woman and nature. The clipped desires of Saroja failed to save her husband from disease. The balance of  
ecology in interconnectedness of woman with nature also promotes gender relations. Thus for longevity of this  
planet the many desires of woman have to be freely expressed through her freedom of choice (of not being part  
of capitalist economy)towards social reproduction.  
The ‘non-identity’ theory of Ali honours the struggle of prostitute Lena, whose womanhood lost its direction in  
the capitalist world. Lena, the representative of the failed economy of the society, became the product of  
trade for capitalist society. Her commitment to reproduce is lost when she as commodity is valued in terms of  
possession.The anti-authoritarian discourse of Ali through Lena functions to further contaminate deep layers  
of capitalism where woman is degraded further to become the object of culture. Ali creates system of signs  
for deconstruction of modern day development when sexual favours are traded as commodity in words,  
They wanted something from each other, and what was theirs was theirs to trade freely, they didn’t need to  
deceive themselves” (2010, 126).  
Moving further Ali explains her trajectory of the women lost in the process of industrialization as, “when I was  
growing up, in the Soviet Union,” said Nikolai, “femininity was simple thing. A Woman was a  
worker…mother….wife. …..And once a month she went out ….to listen to music and drink little vodka and  
she wore lipstick. It was bright red” (230). This double coding of woman separated her being from nature.  
Lipstick: “This is like a metaphor for women today” (231), labels the price tag of women in her position. The  
surplus of dozens of lipsticks further promote the fear of “what if I am missing something?” (329). Thus the  
query of feminist literature to the man is about his ethics of success which have dominated woman and  
nature as an unsatisfied and unfinished quest. Ali clears away the awe of elite Modernism in favour of broke  
protagonist Gabe who chooses his social commitment and is united with his love in his failure thus eroding  
away Anthropocene of ‘Imperial Hotel’.  
Maria Ardizzi recalibrates the intelligent to remove the fear of success in “a giant unstoppable blaze” (MI,  
41). The drive for ecofeminism is to produce social value system. A process that steers clear of multiple  
definitions. Ecofeminism is a “significant stream within the feminist movement, containing a range of theoretical  
positions which rest on the assumption that there are critical connections between the domination of nature  
and of women” (Braidotti et al., 1994, 161). This relation effects the deployment of resources, identity and  
social reproduction by woman. To sell this critique women writers place their protagonist in ambivalent relation  
with manmade colonialism and development process.  
Women’s literature is not about heroism or win over somebody’s loss. It is the literature where “new plants  
are grown from old seeds” (Ardizzi, 2000 98). It serves to value woman in her womanhood where “[M]other  
is unchanging as the Dhruva Star” (Badami1996,15). Thus feminine literature gives direction to practice  
womanhood for woman.The consequence of ‘Third World’ labour system is viewed from position of lack. The  
discourse that implies that the resource is the raw material for exploitation of woman and nature alike is  
reversed, when every Nazneen decisiveness crawls out of the pages as a conscious force to act on her will.  
She refuses to return to Dhaka from London, which is now ‘home’ to her daughters. The heteroglossia of Ali  
proposes legends in ‘back to nature’ story of protagonists worked in the morality of everyday events that  
shape our perception of the world. The Tattoo lady, and Hassan the boy hanged by tree are the overindulgence  
in the industrialised north where, “[A] serious thing, though, the business with the machine work. Ruins the  
hands, the back, the eyes” (Ali, 2003 151).  
Further more women writers create absence of wealth rendered as a deficit by developed conditions as an  
opportunity to unite woman with nature. Wealth is the condition where one, ‘chooses systems over objects’  
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as a fundamental tenet of Mikhail Bhaktin’s dialogical landscape (Morson and Emerson, 1989 47). So lack of  
wealth is choosing objects over systems. Literature by women writers is the glory, discourse and repertoire  
sustained by social reproductions of non-monetised values to bring climate change. Such literature has no  
benchmark from the past but is obliged to build future by its originality to protect nature.  
I would like to thank my guide for doctorate studies, Dr. Sushmita Dey, for all her help and guidance for this  
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Department of English, University of Mumbai, Email : [email protected]