Urras or Anarres?

I feel like because I’m a female my obvious choice should be Anarres since women are treated as equals.  And in strictly societal terms, I would choose Anarres to avoid sexual degradation.  However, the desert landscape of Anarres is incredibly unappealing.  Shevek even says that “Compared to this [beautiful view], every scene Anarres could offer… was meager: barren, arid, and inchoate… Even where men farmed Anarres most closely, their landscape was like a crude sketch in yellow chalk compared to this fulfilled magnificence of life, rich in the sense of history and of seasons to come, inexhaustible” (65).

Urras has environmental aspects similar to Earth: there’s vegetation and animals.  I can’t imagine living somewhere that lacked those aspects. So I would choose Urras.  Even though women are no where near considered equals to men, there are some perks to being a female on Urras.  For example, shirts aren’t necessary, in fact they’re frowned upon for woman.  While this may be for the men’s benefit, that means no struggling to find the right size bra or battling underwire, and that definitely means less clothes to wash.

I’m not saying that the treatment of women on Urras is ideal, but if I’m being encouraged to choose between nature in a condescending society versus deserts and equality, I’m most likely going to go for the former.  Women aren’t even really aware that they’re being treated unfairly because they’ve been conditioned to believe that the treatment they receive is “right.”  In the case of women living on Urras, ignorance is bliss.

Urras somewhat reminds of me of Huxley’s Brave New World.  The people in the World State generally don’t question the structure and so they’re content with their status.  The people of Urras have never experienced life outside of their world and so they’re accustomed to the ways of their society.  Assuming that I would be accustomed to that life rather than being accustomed to life on Earth and migrating, I would choose Urras.

One Response to “Urras or Anarres?”

  1. Warren Rochelle says:

    But you wouldn’t be ignorant of the social issues on Urras.