HomeDALUMAT E-Journaltomo 2 bilang 2 (2011)

Representation of Inang Kalikasan in Mainstream Philippine Art: Liberating or Oppressing to Women?

Ramon Rafael M. Quiroz



Women and nature have always been associated with each other. Apparently positive characteristics which are usually associated with women such as being pure, pious, moral, gentle, kind, nurturing, graceful, simple, beautiful are also used to describe nature. On the other hand, disorder in nature, with her storms, droughts, and other natural disasters are also used to describe women’s emotion. Hence, the term Mother Nature (Inang Kalikasan) to signify the relationship of women and nature. In 1974,

French ecofeminist Francoise d’Eaubonne coined the term “Ecofeminism”. It is a movement that adheres to the belief that the social mentality which leads to the domination and oppression of women are directly connected to the social mindset that leads to the abuse of the environment. In her work The Power and Promise of Ecological Feminism, Karen Warren strengthens the arguments that a strong parallelism exists between the oppression and subordination of women in families and society and the degradation of nature. Hence, the movement’s main task is to liberate both women and nature. Today, the continuous degradation of the environment paves the way towards the promotion of environmental campaign for the preservation and care of the environment. Indeed, environmentalism has reached its peak in our times. Both governmental organizations and non-governmental organizations help spread this advocacy; the field of art included. Nature has always been depicted as a woman in visual art. Such is also the case in the Philippine context. Nature is always represented as a caring mother consequently calling nature Inang Kalikasan. But are these representations of nature as Inang Kalikasan helps to liberate women from the oppression that they experience? In this light, this research analyzes the representations of Inang Kalikasan in the Philippine art and determines whether the depiction of nature as a woman helps in the liberation of women or these representations just deepen the oppression that women receive from the society.