A Better, Feminist Relationship With Your Glacier?

This has been a big week for feminist glaciology, that is, the possibly revolutionary application of feminist (and post-colonial)  theory to glaciers. Four University of Oregon researchers produced the 15,000-word paper for the journal Progress in Human Geometry.

Steven Hayward who apparently discovered the study, wrote, “This is why you get Trump”  on Power Line. Katherine Timpf at National Review was torn: “I’m not sure if I want to laugh, cry, or punch a wall until my hands bleed.”

EcoWatch, a pro-environmental journal,  took the study with great seriousness, sort of, by portraying the paper as an effort by climate deniers to mock global warming-oops, sorry, climate change. Gawker wasn’t sure what to make of the article, but argued fiercely that the federal government didn’t pay  $412,000 for the study, as believed–it paid that sum for a lot of other glacier analysis as well.

An Oregon newspaper, the Register-Guard. took the study seriously as well, putting great stress on the argument that women are more vulnerable than men to glaciers, for instance contracting venereal diseases from glacial pools. The study also said that women must  walk farther to get water when glaciers shrink, though the study doesn’t explain why, possibly because  women tend to have shorter legs and may have to take more steps to chop off a glacier chunk for drinking water..

Falling back on mockery, one anti-science Internet wag wrote: “Are there male, and female glaciers?

What about the female glaciers that are trapped in a male glacier body?,” a topic, in fact,  neglected in the study.

This was the section that moved me most: “The feminist glaciology framework generates robust analysis of gender, power, and epistemologies in dynamic social-ecological systems, thereby leading to more just and equitable science and human-ice interactions.”

Who wouldn’t want a warmer, closer human-ice relationship with one’s glacier? But be wary as the human-ice relationship grows. The authors point out that glaciers  listen to their environment and that they have “emotional psychological and sexual” aspects.

So before you settle down to a really close human-ice interaction, be sure to think about protection and be sure  the kids are  in bed.






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