Save us from the EcoMoms?

February 23rd, 2008

It figures. Just when, for a nano-second, I felt like a trendy, cool green “EcoMom,” a backlash has started. It’s only been a week since The New York Times featured a group of EcoMoms on the front page of the Saturday paper. That was followed by my own 5 minutes of blog fame when one of my favorite bloggers, La Marguerite, profiled yours truly as an example of an EcoMom.

Now, in today’s Financial Times, you can read about concerns that green Moms are setting the cause of feminism back by worrying about when to run the laundry machine at energy-efficient times. “Save us from the eco-mom?”

I think we have bigger things to be saved from….hazardous toys…poor water quality…disappearing animal species…global warming…unhealthy and unsafe food in school cafeterias…terrorism. The list goes on.

As for the EcoMoms, fasten your seatbelts – I think we’re just revving up!

— Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2008

5 Responses to “Save us from the EcoMoms?”

  1. MamaBird on February 23, 2008 12:12 pm

    Hmmm…thanks for the Financial Times link. I think that La Marguerite hit upon the crux of this dilemma in some commentary on her interview with you — that some are most comfortable with the green movement when it encourages consumption of new ‘green’ goods rather than promoting a conservation-of-resources ethic.

    As the FT author exhorted, “Ultimately, though, I am hopeful that the environmentalism more and more Americans are embracing will be pro-growth, pro-science and pro-consumer.”

    Lots of eco moms are embracing throwback values — think WW2 Victory Gardens and conservation, using clotheslines, making food from scratch, dispensing with modern chemicals — which is threatening for any # of reasons (more time consuming, uses fewer resources, promotes less consumption, more difficult to reconcile with modern convenience-based lifestyles). As La Marguerite pointed out, there’s a huge industry poised to flood us with green products. If the case can be made that stepping out of that paradigm entirely, ie not consuming those products, is anti-woman, and anti-progress, then it may remain more acceptable to continue with a disposable life in the name of feminism.

    Using cold water and doing laundry during non-peak energy hours (the FT example of eco-moms’ egregious turning back of the housework clock to 50s intensity) is not the same as using a clothesline and dispensing with a dryer, steam iron in hand. I actually think that all of those are sound moves. Who’s doing the laundry anyways might be the real question I’d have. If laundry’s done at night and all household members are involved in the equation, how is that anti-feminist? It’s not like taking your clothing to the middle of a river and beating them on a rock instead of working full time at an engaging job. It’s recognizing the impact of consumption and trying to mitigate (easily in my opinion) one’s impact on resources (via cold water, timing, and perhaps environmentally friendly cleaners).

    A lot of people seem resistant to enviro efforts bz of the perception that one must lead a hair shirt existence in order to be truly green. There’s a wide spectrum of green, though. Seems like there’s room for more than one point of view, and surely criticizing/belittling women who are choosing to use their communal intellect to lighten their footprint is counterproductive to feminism.

    Great links, Lynn! Thanks for the thought-provoking post.

    My Goodness, MamaBird! It’s THANK YOU for the thoughtful comment! You might want to post your observations on Marguerite’s comments over at her blog too! — Lynn

  2. Robin Metcalf on February 23, 2008 4:01 pm

    You go, Lynne. There have been backlashes since the beginning of time, but best practices and ethical behavior eventually win out. Keep up the fight. Go Eco Moms!

  3. Sue on February 24, 2008 8:26 pm

    I would suggest that there is nothing anti-feminism about the eco or green movement as some of the earliest founders were strong feminist, Rosemary Reuther for example. In fact the early eco movement suggested that there is similarity between the oppression of women and the abuse of nature. It is the feminist who considers the protection of the environment a human responsibility, unlike the conclusions of the writer of the article you reference. What a sad state of affairs when history is forgotten.

    Hi Sue, thanks for this interesting historical commentary. I think part of the problem is that women have little knowledge of our own history. Unless you’ve taken women’s studies classes in college or were taught these lessons by another woman who remembers, odds are you don’t know about this history. — Lynn

  4. mama k on February 25, 2008 6:05 am

    If it’s antifeminist to care about your kids and your familiy’s well being and health than I guess you can slap that label on me. Caring for the environment is an extention of those things for me. A healthy environment and a safe food supply go hand in hand. And I think that is important for ALL humans regardless of gender.

    Unfortunatly as with all trends, this is to be expected. There will be backlash and green washing will fall out of favor again. Then I guess we’ll be back to being “crunchy hippies” in instead of hip eco-moms. :)

    Right on mama k, thanks for stopping by! The dichotomy between “crunchy hippies” and hip eco-moms? I think the crunchy hippies buy a lot less STUFF. But great of you to point out! — Lynn

  5. Rejin on February 25, 2008 4:21 pm

    I just read that FT article, and I am shocked at the illogical conclusions the writer came to. Changing the water temperature for your laundry is anti-feminist? Trees are great but we have to put people first?
    Some people just don’t get it, and count on Big Media give those people a forum to spread the Gospel of the Status Quo.
    (I wonder what great school her daughter goes to, though, because my son is definitely not getting the green message at his school.)

    Well put, Rejin! Thanks for stopping by! Check out Rejin’s blog at

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