Tag Archives: gender

The Invention of Women

When the extraordinary is ordinary, it is worth celebrating (and vice versa). All week and in the spirit of the #InternationalWomensDay, I’ve made a more conscious effort to read through articles and watch videos about women achievers who have changed the world (my favourite was computer scientist Margaret Hamilton who discovered the code which got us to the moon), but I had to share this specific 1980 read from one of the very influential authors of my generation (and a Salman Rushdie inspiration), Ursula K. Le Guin who has in her essay “Introducing Myself” explored the complexity of what gender means with great eloquence. Below is an excerpt of her essay, and one that resonated with the man and woman in me.

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– photo courtesy of AFFOB –

“I am a man. Now you may think I’ve made some kind of silly mistake about gender, or maybe that I’m trying to fool you, because my first name ends in a, and I own three bras, and I’ve been pregnant five times, and other things like that that you might have noticed, little details. But details don’t matter… I predate the invention of women by decades. Well, if you insist on pedantic accuracy, women have been invented several times in widely varying localities, but the inventors just didn’t know how to sell the product. Their distribution techniques were rudimentary and their market research was nil, and so of course the concept just didn’t get off the ground. Even with a genius behind it an invention has to find its market, and it seemed like for a long time the idea of women just didn’t make it to the bottom line. Models like the Austen and the Brontë were too complicated, and people just laughed at the Suffragette, and the Woolf was way too far ahead of its time.”

More of her essay can be read here.

It’s Women’s Day everyday, let no one convince you otherwise.