In the context of a masculinised and patriarchal society such as those that exist in several countries, the social representations that have been constructed over time about the woman and the feminine are evidence of a discourse that proposes and exhibits the relations of domination and submission that we have constructed in relation to women.
Such relationships ended up crushing women’s autonomy and discarding feminine logic. And all for imposing masculine logic, articulated in the discourse of the Great Male. It is clear that language unveils and undresses us before others.
And in the discourse of “capitalist patriarchy” of which Vandana Shiva speaks, we find particular expressions and uses of language and language, which clearly account for a relation of domination proclaimed and sustained over time by the white Western male.
Dominating and conquering Nature-Woman allowed the ‘Great White Western Male’ to subjugate the life of natural ecosystems to his ambitions and to an incontrovertible and universal idea of progress, while bending the knees of Woman to place upon her the heavy cross of reproduction, her cultural objectification and self-sacrificing service to Man.
Phrases used apparently without any hint of machismo, show a negative representation of women and femininity: “How did he conquer her?”, journalists or “ordinary people” often ask in casual conversations.
Behind the question, we can glimpse a heroic deed that in turn reveals a process of heroisation of the Great Male who not only conquers and dominates inhospitable territories, but also takes possession of a trophy, previously conceived as such: the Woman.
That is why it appears as an unavoidable objective: Women must be conquered, they must be pursued, they must be advanced towards, in a game in which “hungry warriors” participate, in which all kinds of stratagems are permitted in order to achieve the objective and the north of happiness that the white Western male has set for himself.
Like the conquest of a disputed territory, Nature and Women have long been in the sights of this masculine logic and the macho discourse that legitimises and imposes it, and which is closely related to the discourse of development (developmentalism).
Vandana Shiva points out that “nature and women have been turned into passive objects to be used and exploited for the uncontrolled and uncontrolled desires of alienated man. From being creators and sustainers of life, nature and women are reduced to being ‘resources’ in the fragmented, anti-life model of poor development”.
Thus, from now on, it is not only necessary to substantially modify or reorient the ideas of development and progress, but also to moderate that discourse which, adorned by the paradigm of bourgeois love, insists on giving women the character of spoils in dispute, in the midst of the voracity of an insatiable masculinity that becomes toxic, unsustainable, and violent.
Therefore, when asked How it was conquered, I suggest you answer this way: I am not a disputed territory.
*German Ayala Osorio: Social communicator and political scientist.