Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The gender roles of the land

Nature=Nurture?After describing rock dust as Viagra for plants in the last post, I came to ponder the gender roles that we assign to farmland and how it affects discourse and perceptions of the corporate vs. local debate. It's no giant leap to see that land is usually given feminine qualities: virgin, fertile, barren, nurturing. It is big ag, the farmers, and [his] machines that are workhorses, plowers, industrial. (Leave the nurturing to the gardeners.) The patriarchal powers that be (TPPTB), society at large included, are comfortable with the male dominating the female, with big ag dominating the fields.

So would turning the current gender roles discourse on its head simultaneously produce a stronger public backing for sustainability and family farming? "Land once virile is now being castrated by the pesticides and monoculture that nurture corporate agriculture's profit scheming." Or perhaps, "needy monoculture practices and dramatic pesticide use by corporate ag have really been a bitch for the virility of the land." If it sounds funny, maybe there's just too much momentum going for the current gender roles our culture has assigned to nature and industry?

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