OMGZ OMGZ OMGZ!
OK, calm down calm down calm down,
I know it’s super dorky to get this excited about this, but
VANDANA SHIVA JUST EMAILED ME! For reals! Or, for as reals as you can ever be sure about an email. But still!
Dudes. You don’t even KNOW. I am MADLY TERRIBLY HORRIBLY in love with Vandana Shiva. She’s such a crazy wild heroine of mine, my cheeks flush with ridiculous pride to think that
VANDANA SHIVA KNOWS I EXIST!
That means that something I’ve accomplished in my life has merited the attention of someone who has done more good work in the world than almost anyone else living on this earth today.
Seriously. Oh, I’m not going to hide it: I’m proud.
See, in college I was deep into the philosophy of ecofeminism. I still am, but I got tired of explaining to people that feminists who refuse to separate their environmentalism and animal rights practices from their analysis of gender relations have a special sort of feminism all their own, so now I just say I’m a plain old feminist. And the philosophy of ecofeminism practically wouldn’t exist without Vandana (yes, we are on a first name basis). She is a passionate believer in the idea that putting women in charge will lead to a better-functioning world, and that in order to dismantle patriarchy we need to all move closer to a historically-devalued connection between women and the earth.
…everywhere, women were the first to protest against environmental destruction. As activists in the ecology movements, it became clear to us that science and technology were not gender neutral; and in common with many other women, we began to see that the relationship of exploitative dominance between man and nature, (shaped by reductionist modern science since the 16th century) and the exploitative and oppressive relationship between men and women as prevails in most patriarchal societies, even modern industrial ones, were closely connected…
-Maria Mies and Vandana Shiva, Ecofeminism, introduction.
Staying Alive and Ecofeminism were such important books for me during college, and I’ve been a careful reader of her articles in Resurgence and whatever else by her I can get my hands on since then. She balances serious revolutionary zeal with a down-to-earth sensibility and zest for life that makes reading her such a pleasure.
(There is so much of hers out there I haven’t read yet, too—oh, someday I will sit and read everything I’ve been meaning to read. What a wonderful thought.)
So, I emailed her to see if I could send some of the chocolates named for her, and at the last minute got super nervous that she wouldn’t be OK with me using her likeness on the box or maybe she hates chocolate or something and wouldn’t like having a chocolate named after her. I didn’t consult with any of my chocolate honorees before I printed up the boxes (though I asked Noel if it was OK if I named an X-rated chocolate after her and outed her as a former model in her little bio on the box—she’s the fiercest lesbian I know, and doesn’t exactly make a point of talking about the years she spent modeling pantyhose and cinched-waist dresses in the pages of Seventeen and Mademoiselle), so now I’m going around and trying to make sure everyone is aware of them.
Here’s what she wrote back to my email:
Thank you so much!
The address for mailing is xxxxx
Much as I would like to taste the chocolates at the earliest, maybe we should wait till after the summer. Don’t want your wonderful creations to melt at 48degrees celsius.
Please send them in Sept if that is possible. And visit us in India some day.
“Visit us in India”!!!!! I’m on a plane tomorrow! Or, maybe next fall.
Oh life. You’re just too ridiculously wonderful to be believed sometimes. Thanks, chocolate!
Also, making the Vandana chocolate and talking it up to people (because, really, it is the tastiest, if I am being perfectly honest) I have realized that we have a major thing in common: everyone mispronounces her name too! It’s “vahn-DAHN-ah” (it’s Indian, yo) not “van-DAN-uhh.” (it doesn’t rhyme with “bandana,” yo). And for the record, mine is “la-GUS-ta” —hey, just like it’s spelled, imagine that!—not “la-GU-sta”—yes, also like it’s spelled, I’ll own that–like you’ve probably been saying it in your head.