Summary of “Ursula K. Le Guin on Being a Man”

One of the most important authors of our time, Ursula K. Le Guin has influenced such celebrated literary icons as Neil Gaiman and Salman Rushdie.
This is what Le Guin examines in an extraordinary essay titled “Introducing Myself,” which Le Guin first wrote as a performance piece in the 1980s and later updated for the beautifully titled, beautifully written, beautifully wide-ranging 2004 collection The Wave in the Mind: Talks and Essays on the Writer, the Reader, and the Imagination.
Le Guin turns to the problem of the body, which is indeed problematic in the context of this Generic He:. I admit it, I am actually a very poor imitation or substitute man, and you could see it when I tried to wear those army surplus clothes with ammunition pockets that were trendy and I looked like a hen in a pillowcase.
Men are people, people are men, that has been well established, and so people, real people, the right kind of people, are lean.
I’m really lousy at being people, because I’m not lean at all but sort of podgy, with actual fat places.
I get born before they invent women, and I live all these decades trying so hard to be a good man that I forget all about staying young, and so I didn’t.
I keep thinking there must have been something that a real man could have done about it.
Sometimes I think I might just as well exercise my option, stop short in front of the five-barred gate, and let the nazi fall off onto his head. If I’m no good at pretending to be a man and no good at being young, I might just as well start pretending that I am an old woman.

The orginal article.