I find the tropes about Gethen to be the most interesting. Thinking back to our last discussion on gender in class, the author tries so hard to remove gender from this planet. However, gender identification will always be present.
“Gender Neutral Writing: Much pain to anyone not a Gethenian. Sooner or later they all decide to use “he” or “she” for convenience, though it leads to traps.
Why is it so comforting to put a he/she identification to this species? We are forcing expectations and roles of a specific gender on beings that are gender neutral themselves. However, thinking about why Le Guin would eliminate gender but keep gender identification, it seems to mock the use of gender roles. In this world, beings that are seen as female are truly male by nature and vice versa. “Genly’s feminine “landlady”, whom he couldn’t resist to think of as a woman, was a father several times and a mother not once.” With supposed women acting like men and supposed men acting like women, gender roles are no longer of use. Even today we encourage the use of gender neutral terms like firefighter instead of fireman all in the effort to eliminate these roles.