At a certain point in the documentary 'The disappearance of my mother', its protagonist, the one who was an iconic model of the 60's

Benedetta Barzini,

teaches a class at the Polytechnic University of Milan on the

image of women

in

art

and the

media of masses.

Show your students a paper advertisement for the Ipanema brand where the model

Gisele Bundchen

poses

naked

, covered in

leaves

, almost forming part of a plant

.

"This is an advertisement for plastic flip flops," says Barzini. "They represent her as

mother nature,

inside a tree, naked. This image is terribly

symbolic

of an

idea of ​​the woman

that someone wants to keep in our minds.

Woman equals nature.

This is why we often see women lying on dry leaves or photographing themselves on top of a tree or among flowers. The woman is synonymous with nature, the man, reason and thought ".

As Barzini suggests, the traditional identification of women with nature, as the one that links her to the

world of care,

is still as valid today as centuries ago, although with new ways. Voices of the most different, many of them female, demand that

women

take the

reins

of

caring for the environment

by virtue of a kind of millennial 'savoir faire' and by our supposed 'familiarity' with the earth. "At a time when the protection of biodiversity, mother earth and future generations has become essential, essential animal behaviors, such as breastfeeding, take on greater relevance," we read, for example, on the

Inter-American Development Bank website.

Caring is in the genes?

But

accepting these ideas ...

doesn't it help to keep us women pigeonholed into the roles we have been trying to free ourselves from or share over the last century?

And furthermore, what is based on, beyond that construction

of gender roles,

the belief that women are better at taking care of - be they children, the elderly, houses, forests, platypus - than men?

Since when does having done it always justify continuing to do it to infinity?

If not even the universe is going to expand ad aeternum, man ...

And it is that there are

apparently

harmless

ideas

that, when they 'fall sympathetic', can dangerously settle in our belief system until they become dogmas. A classic case is the idea that

women are multitaskers,

conceived by evolutionary psychobiology, which has not been scientifically proven, but with which we

all share.

Is it because one of the two genders (mark with a cross what applies) is especially convenient for you?

As women have been caregivers since the time of Maricastaña (a lady who, by the way, lived in the fourteenth century), it goes without saying that we are especially gifted for the task. As if we had it

tattooed in our genes

or we had a

muscle specialized

in rocking babies. From there to thinking that the professions whose essence is care are especially good for us, there is just one little step, and from there to caring for the environment, a stone's throw away. Or pineapple. Or starfish.

"Who better than women, also sources of life, to take care of the planet" we read in an article published on a corporate website. Sure, who better? All maybe? Speaking with

Alicia Puleo, the

main Spanish representative of ecofeminism and professor of Moral and Political Philosophy at the University of Valladolid, she warns us of the

risk of 'overexploiting'

the discourse on the nexus between women and care, to the detriment of the concept of equality in care: "We have to demand, teach and

share attitudes,

roles and virtues of caring for men, because

praising them without a critical look

that denounces power relations leads to a

sweetened and insubstantial discourse."

Come on, the more we repeat the idea that hooray for women who are great caregivers, the more fuel we will be giving to the stereotype.

Be careful what you wish for ...

The fact is that also from feminism and even from the own

environmental defense

messages arise that invite to relate feminine gender and ecology.

Women "have led the

ethics of care,

or the care of life" and now "the vulnerability of the natural world should be our priority," declared

Asunción Ruiz,

executive director of SEO / BirdLife, in March of this year.

The courteous does not take away the brave, what Asunción Ruiz said does not mean you take off to put me on, but make room for me that we all fit, but the

discourse that relates,

in the best intentioned way,

sustainability

with

our gifts

for care, is still there , growing. And the message is getting through. It has even reached the

corporate world

. 'The more women in the company, the greater the commitment to sustainability', a newspaper headlines an information on a study carried out by

PricewaterhouseCoopers

and

Women Action Sustainability

according to which, the more relevance a company gives to sustainability, the greater the weight of the women in its management.

Well, it's actually the other way around. The study analyzes 50 large Spanish companies and discovers that

when the presidency is female

or there is

parity on the Board, it

is more likely that there are specific sustainability commissions. It also points out that

more than 50% of

the

departments in

charge of managing this area are

headed by women

(which may mean more or less the same as the fact that 50% of the

Communications department's

directions

are in the hands of women, according to data from ADECEC, the Association of Consulting Companies in Public Relations and Communication).

Of course, no matter how much PricewaterhouseCoopers says, it is enough to go to any climate summit to realize that in environmental matters there is also an 'up and down'. In the

Conferences of the Parties

-the famous COP-, supreme body of the

United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC),

participation continues to be very unequal by gender, in the latter, of the order of 62% men and 38% % of women.

In the same way, we are the majority in environmental groups at the international level but, as

Alicia Puleo

pointed out to EFE some time ago

,

with this "it happens as in other movements and in almost all sectors: we rarely get to the

most important part. elevated of the pyramid,

we are in the

bases

".

Green is feminine in the store too

Also on the basis of

consumption

. Because all the data indicate that women are the most inclined to

buy 'green' products,

to rationalize energy consumption, and to allocate resources to the defense of the environment. The

'Report on the gender gap in consumption'

that

L'Oréal Spain

and

ClosinGap

presented last year, for example, revealed that women are

consumers more thoughtful,

aware and concerned about

sustainability

than men. And not only that. It is that we also feel more guilty (a classic). According to the aforementioned study,

61% of Spanish women

'recognize' their

responsibility

in

climate change,

while men do not reach 50% in this mea culpa.

And, hold on, there is even a

'environmental machismo'.

According to a study published in the

Journal of Consumer Research

in 2016 titled 'Is Eco-Friendly Unmanly?

The Green-Feminine Stereotype and Its Effect on Sustainable Consumption '

many men identify

everything that sounds ecological with the

feminine

, and that this stereotype "can motivate them to abandon' green 'behaviors in order to preserve a

masculine image".

Oh Mother.

And while this male sector is stressed and in the haute cuisine of ecology the Michelin stars are still theirs, the

messages

that call on women to

merge

(re-merge?) With

Mother Earth

do not cease. If in 2010 the magazine

'Ecopsychology'

stated, throughout a monograph dedicated to women and the environment, that

motherhood

stimulates

activist behavior

or that the

maternal instinct

extends to the desire to protect and preserve nature ..., in the middle of 2021 we witness situations like

Seoul Milk,

South Korea's largest dairy company has to apologize for an advertising video depicting

women grazing

like

cows in the fields.

Gentlemen of Seoul Milk, once and for all, as Alicia Puleo says: "Women are not more natural than men."


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