‘Gender-bending’

This past weekend I went to a postgraduate conference hosted by my university’s medieval institute on gender and transgression in the Middle Ages. None of the papers were very relevant to my research, except to make plain that there will definitely be room for a paper of my own next year on the gender dynamics of fairies. The papers were interesting, though, and Saturday was sunny, so in between sessions I went for walks around town. It ended up being a pleasant day.

Though my flare up in March has died down, I’m still quite low on energy. Most days I am rather tired when I finish walking home. On some days (like today), I wish that dinner were already made when I get home. And on those days (today included), I am reminded of Judy Brady’s essay “I Want a Wife” (1971). I don’t have one, incidentally, nor a personal chef, and so it was up to me to make my own Lentil Soup with Lemon, with spinach leaves topped with feta and olives and a drizzle of lemon juice, and fried cinnamon apples on the side.

(I might be cooking for only myself, but it might as well look pretty. I apologise for the less-than-scenic background.)

And on the subject of gender, I have finished rereading The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin. I saw that there was a 40th anniversary edition, a nice hardcover with maps and extra notes in the appendices, and immediately lifted my ban on buying new books to purchase it. It is still one of the best treatments of gender in fiction that I have read; at the very least, in science-fiction. Genly Ai is a Terran envoy sent to the planet Winter, where humans are gendered only a few days every month—quite literally gender-bending, because they can be either gender each month. I put another one of the signed bookplates from Le Guin in the anniversary edition, so I won’t be loaning it out. It’s a good thing I have my paperback edition with me, too: my friends need not worry about being deprived of such a wonderful work of literature.

3 thoughts on “‘Gender-bending’

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