We will be posting three blogs in the coming days representing different perspectives of Endangered Species Coalition staff that work on wolf recovery and protections.
A couple weeks ago, I was in Phoenix talking to a friend. She said, “Women and wolves…” And paused for a moment, gathering her thoughts. “We’re like this,” as she raised her hand with her index and middle fingers crossed. What she was describing didn’t have any other words attached, but I immediately understood and the weight of those words sunk deeply in my heart.
I grew up in a place where women are treated as pretty, little things by those who still hold onto the residual mindset of the Revolutionary War era. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told, “put your legs together,” “sit down,” “be quiet,” “be nice.” “Be nice.” That was the worst one. Where I’m from “being nice” means to not fight back. It means to put your head down when you hear or see injustice, because it would be rude to correct someone. Being nice did not end enslavement. It didn’t get white women, and later women of color, the right to vote. It didn’t start the civil rights movement and it didn’t get us a slew of environmental laws in the 1970s, including our old-faithful, the Endangered Species Act.
When women are not “nice,” we are quietly, yet persistently, shamed and pushed to the outer rims of society or worse. We have been so tamed, that still in 2017, men and women do not share equal rights. We have been tricked into domestication over and over again.
Like the “not-nice” women, the “not-nice” dogs of the wild have been put in their place, shown who’s boss, and pushed to the farthest corners of suitable habitat. In the name of human encroachment, wolves have been shot, trapped, poisoned, and blown up with explosives. And, like our female ancestors, wolves and wildlife are treated like property by our state and federal agencies.
Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes explains in her book, Women Who Run with the Wolves:
“Wolves and women are relational by nature, inquiring, possessed of great endurance and strength. They are deeply intuitive, intensely concerned with their young, their mates, and their pack. They are experienced in adapting to constantly changing circumstances; they are fiercely stalwart and very brave. Yet both have been hounded, harassed, and falsely imputed to be devouring and devious, overly aggressive, of less value than those who are their detractors. They have been the targets of those who would clean up the wilds, as well as the wildish environs of the psyche, extincting the instinctual, and leaving no trace of it behind. The predation of wolves and women by those who misunderstand them is strikingly similar.”
I see it as no coincidence that as many of our elected officials are plotting to take away women’s rights, they are also trying to pass legislation to delist wolves from the Endangered Species Act in the Great Lakes Region. The same people that devalue women also devalue wolves and the natural world. Wolves are not able to march for themselves, as many people around the world did last weekend. So, if there was ever a time to stand up for both, women and wolves, it’s now.
Bills to delist wolves in Wyoming, Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin have been introduced in the Senate and House of Representatives. These bills could move rapidly, making your email or call crucially needed. Please contact your senators and representative today and ask that they oppose the War on Wolves Act.