by Val Plumwood
“The unheard of was happening; the canoe was under attack! For the first time, it came to me fully that I was the Prey” Val Plumwood, 2006
SUMMARY: Val Plumwood, an Australian feminist and environmental activist describes a nearly fatal attack by a crocodile in her article “Being Prey”. In 1985, Plumwood was canoeing in Australia’s Kakadu National Park when she noticed what appeared to be a “floating stick” however as she approached the ‘stick” she realized it was a crocodile. She tried to canoe to shore but the croc struck her canoe, over and over again repeatedly, fear of being capsized Plumwood attempted to escape by jumping onto an overhanging tree branch from her canoe. However her attempt failed! The croc seized in mid air between her legs and began “death rolling” her several times underwater. On her third attempt to escape from the croc, Plumwood succeeded! She managed to pull herself up from a hanging tree branch onto the mud bank. With her entire leg ripped open and bleeding profusely, Plumwood crawled nearly two miles for several hours to the nearest rescue point. She was found later that evening and against all odds, survived.
THEMES: ANTHORPOCENTRISM, DUALISM, AND FRAMEWORK OF SUBJECTIVITY
Plumwood states that in the anthropocentric culture of the West humans fail to see themselves as animals positioned in the food chain, she further states that our culture's human-centric view disconnects us from the reality that we too are food for animals.
We see ourselves as outside of nature, we have illusions that we can control it, that we are not embodied beings and are apart from the animal kingdom, this ideal of humans as prey threatens the dualistic vision of human anthropocentrism where we can control and manipulate nature from the outside and thus are the predator never the prey.
These ideals of anthropocentrism and dualism create a framework of subjectivity where we only view the...