The Use of Alternative Gendered Perspectives in Ursula Le Guin's 'The Matter of Seggri'
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The use of alternative gendered perspectives:
Ursula Le Guin's short story "The Matter of Seggri"
Ursula Le Guin's short story "The Matter of Seggri" is a dystopian tale which is unfolded through a series of different characters' perspectives. The first parts of the tale are a series of 'reports' issued by aliens, which are followed by stories told by the planet's inhabitants. Seggri is a society that is almost entirely governed by sexual differences (much like contemporary Earth) although in contrast to Earth it is a matriarchal society rather than a patriarchal one. Le Guin uses different character's voices to narrate the tale to show the extent to which sexism can hurt perpetrators as well as the victims. It does not matter if sexism is wielded against males or females: it has equally negative effects. She also uses outsider's perspectives to show how what can seem 'normal' regarding gender relations when someone has grown up within a particular social context is, in fact, not intrinsic to human nature but is imposed upon the body by culture.
The story opens up with two outsider perspectives of Seggri: male and female. The male perspective of Captain Aolao-olao depicts a society which is deeply divided and privileges men because men play all day, and women do all the work (including the intellectual work). The female observer, an anthropologist named Merriment, also views the society in a negative light, but views the women as having the upper hand because of their