I was going to write about The Female Man, but I don’t think my thoughts have congealed enough in order for me to make any kind of intelligent commentary on the story, so I wanted to talk about something that I thought was cool about The Matter of Seggri.
It’s obvious that the story deals with gender roles and characteristics and how they interplay within the society of Seggri, but what I really thought nice was how the writer didn’t necessarily change what is classically defined as masculine and feminine. You would think that if someone was going to write a story about how on in a different world, in a different time, where women dominated that they would make women, well, more dominant, I guess. They would portray them as the Greeks portrayed the Amazons- super masculine and tough. But in the the story of Seggri, the women still keep characteristics and values that are considered inherently feminine such as love, care, kindness, etc… those things haven’t changed, but what has changed is the way they are valued.
In Seggri this traits are much more valuable than the ‘masculine’ ones such as competitiveness, playfulness and aggression- those are considered lower in societal and emotional importance. They are, in a way, considered child-like. If the author were to make the women in Seggri more masculine, I think that would devalue the message that is being given. The author doesn’t strive to make women more masculine in relation to their power, because by assigning masculine traits to a group in power, even if they are not men, would automatically be saying that masculine traits are, in essence, more suited to authority or leadership in relation to feminine traits. In Seggri, the feminine traits are still there, but they are considered much more valuable. There is no need of making hyper-masculine females or hyper-feminine males- the paradigm hasn’t been altered, really, but just sort of flipped.