Questioning Ambi Sexuality Essay

1441 words - 6 pages

Although Ursula K. Le Guin's primary subject in The Left Hand of Darkness may not be feminism, one of the book's main interests appears to be the question of gender. Le Guin holds a thought experiment to see what happens when society does not have a male or female. In chapter seven of the novel the main character, Genly Ai, states, "Room is made for sex, plenty of room; but a room, as it were, apart"(Le Guin 93). Because sex is not a constant in these people's lives, there is a psychological impact. There are no sexual expectations they have to live up to: men do not have to try to be masculine; women do not have to try to be feminine. A large portion of deriving one's status in society can come from filling sexual roles: men try to be providers, be strong; women trying to be good care givers, nurturers. From one point of view, "it is a novel about women, women's lives, and the meaning of love and sexuality in women's lives. From another, it is about two characters who both appear to be males and who come to love one another, sexually as well as fraternally"(Frazer 222). The use of androgyny, which is not used to satisfy the author or many of her readers, virtually removes the consideration of gender from the text.As Le Guin alters the idea of a fixed gender, feminists criticize her novel on the use of the generic "he" and on the choice of man, Genly, as the interpreter and main character of Gethan. Being a feminist utopian novel, many feminists claim that there are in fact no women roles being played. "If 'women' are constructed and defined by their unique ability to bear live children, such beings are absent from Le Guin's novel"(Rudy 32). This critique tells us how there is no separate group of individuals marked by their ability to produce children; if all people can serve that function, all people are both men and women. According to many feminist critiques, an individual must have embodied a set of gender characteristics otherwise, an individual who is both male and female is, in effect, neither. With the principles of feminism and the understanding of womanhood, a conflict stands in the way that the world is presented in this novel. That is, the world "where female nature as well as male nature are both a part of every person, and where sexual identities operate only inside certain contexts"(Rudy 32).In contrast to a feminist's point of view, gender theorists as well as proponents of gender reconstruction believe that gender should be thought of as flexible and dependent on context. The distinctions that exist between men and women could be negotiated differently when looking at social events and strategies verses scientific tests. Gender is a matter of social construction especially when we reason the idea that there are only two gender types. Our matter of performing whether one acts like a female or a male is what codes us to uncertainty. Our gender is established on the basis of a social grid with respect to a child behaving as a boy...

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