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Dhavaer
2007-03-19, 01:33 AM
For the vast majority of D&D species, including humans, there is no difference in abilities between males and females. Temporarily disregarding magic/dragons/falling off 10000ft. high cliffs and not dying/etc, would human society be radically different as a result of this?

Wippit Guud
2007-03-19, 01:37 AM
Technically, there's no difference in abilities in human society. It's mainly an issue of attitudes. Given the same circumstances, a woman and a man could have the same level of strength and endurance.

The problem is, most women tend to avoid those activities whcih would greatly enhance their strength, so examples of them are fewer.

The Great Skenardo
2007-03-19, 01:38 AM
Perhaps more egalitarian, when it comes to women doing work outside the home (even in physically demanding jobs, where the period seems to dictate women be excluded). Domestic power might be more evenly shared.

Bears With Lasers
2007-03-19, 01:40 AM
Technically, there's no difference in abilities in human society. It's mainly an issue of attitudes. Given the same circumstances, a woman and a man could have the same level of strength and endurance.
Not quite: the bell curves of, say, strength distribution overlap a lot, but the male bell curve does extend further out. Many woman can be stronger than most men, but the very strongest people in the world will pretty much inevitably be (and are) men.

I don't think that if the bell curves were to be the same, it would change much, though.

Jade_Tarem
2007-03-19, 01:51 AM
BWL pretty much nailed it. There's a notable but largely irrelevant difference in the maximum physical strenghts between men and women, but that kind of strength just isn't worth much any more. There are also a number of differences in how the two think, physiologically speaking, with each having ups and downs.

But if the two were exactly the same save for gender-specific functions, then society would still be the same. The ignorant would still find reasons to hate easily-identifiable and excludable groups of people for no reason. Kind of depressing, when you think about it.

Bears With Lasers
2007-03-19, 02:02 AM
BWL pretty much nailed it. There's a notable but largely irrelevant difference in the maximum physical strenghts between men and women, but that kind of strength just isn't worth much any more. There are also a number of differences in how the two think, physiologically speaking, with each having ups and downs.
Careful; thinking isn't as clear-cut. There's a number of differences in how the two tend to think, but it's not nearly as absolute; you could point at a man and say "no woman is that strong", but you can't really point at any man and say "no woman thinks that way". Furthermore, the way we think is far more culturally influenced than strength, and a lot of the things people assume are universal actually aren't (for example, the Trobrianders of New Guinea had men do the bulk of their child-raising... because they thought men were just naturally better at it).

Sardia
2007-03-19, 02:10 AM
Maybe not-- there were egalitarian and even matriarchal societies in actual history.

How the society is arranged may have more to do with the average degree of risk that a member faces, because no matter how similar men and women are otherwise, the women bear the children and can't be exposed to as much risk as the men can.

Zincorium
2007-03-19, 02:17 AM
Well, there is one persistent factor in separating the genders, and that's the hormone production associated with each. Testosterone is well known as a naturally occurring chemical that increases muscle mass, and it's almost always found in higher concentrations in men, whereas the opposite distribution is found with things like estrogen.

Those aren't strong determining factors, but they can strongly influence the attitudes of society based on even relatively insignificant changes.

Turcano
2007-03-19, 02:22 AM
The default fluff tends to treat humans as either being influenced by culture than by race or having cultures that are much less monolithic than those of other races, so you would expect gender roles to run the gamut of every conceivable scenario. One thing you should look to as a guide is the role of the sexes in combat; combat is the near-exclusive domain of men in the vast majority of real-life cultures, so female participation in combat can be used as a barometer of gender roles (or lack thereof) in general.

However, there is a very strong correlation between gender equality and racial/cultural Good-ness; most of the PHB races have gender equality to an extent that is unprecedented in real life, while evil races tend to treat women (or men, as the case may be) like property.

Bouldering Jove
2007-03-19, 02:27 AM
Sociology is an absolute nightmare of a field, and I don't trust myself to pick out the good science from the bad without overpowering confirmation bias. Even the most obvious trends have intricate, overlapping roots. Trying to make a prediction from a starting assumption like this? Just about hopeless.

averagejoe
2007-03-19, 02:31 AM
Maybe not-- there were egalitarian and even matriarchal societies in actual history.

How the society is arranged may have more to do with the average degree of risk that a member faces, because no matter how similar men and women are otherwise, the women bear the children and can't be exposed to as much risk as the men can.

But such things are less of a concern in a society with acess to divine magic, and the risk of childbirth would be considerably less than in a magicless society with similar technology levels.

Sardia
2007-03-19, 02:46 AM
But such things are less of a concern in a society with acess to divine magic, and the risk of childbirth would be considerably less than in a magicless society with similar technology levels.

Childbirth yes, but if you stand a good chance of being eaten by a (fill in monster here) while out hunting or fishing or farming, those professions are going to be mostly male.

kamikasei
2007-03-19, 04:37 AM
Sardia has the right of it; the chief difference between men and women, sociologically, is childbirth. Namely, the per-child investment for a member of each sex.

Women are the limiting factor for reproduction; a population with X women and Y men can reproduce at a rate determined by X, and if you add more Y, they can't reproduce any faster. Furthermore, a small number of males can impregnate a large number of females; but (and there's an elegant explanation for this, which I forget) every child born has an even chance of being male or female, so those surplus males are still there, available to be used as disposable fighters.

Any given female may be just as capable as any given male for any given task, but in societal terms, any society in a race that reproduces like humans will show the influence of this basic difference in reproductive roles. The other option is to take races which have been civilized for a long time and don't necessarily need a high rate of replenishment, as this resembles modern, wealthy societies. Elves would be a good model for this.

Altair_the_Vexed
2007-03-19, 04:39 AM
Men and women may be physically and mentally equal in terms of their abilities' ranges, but that doesn't mean that their societies will reflect that at all.
I think that in D&D and other alternate reality settings, it's quite reasonable to have gender divisions based on cultural pressure rather than ability.

Let's assume for sake of argument that the ability ranges in d20 don't have enough fine-tuning to show the real-world differences between male and female humans, and that on the d20 SRD scale, real-world humans operate the same for both sexes - both sexes are fairly close, after all. Real world society is full of gender-role divisions, even though the abilities of the sexes are fairly close.

All that aside, even if we have an egalitarian society where the equality of ability is recognised, there are still going to be lots of gender divides. Wet-nursing and Midwifery are likely to remain female-dominated professions, for example, and possibly this might spill over into general nursing. With the alleged divide between the type of intelligence in men and women (that "Mars / Venus" divide of hard logic vs social intelligence), you might see more men in wizardry and more women in the priesthood, for example.

Things like that should be a general trend rather than any sort of rule... but in the real world, trends can become rules, so that genders, castes, races, etc, become excluded from roles. Even in a good society, it's likely that a gradual "settling in" of "traditional roles" would increase some divides.

factotum
2007-03-19, 05:14 AM
Kamikasei's point is a good one, but it assumes a species that tends to have one child at a time (as humans do). If you have an intelligent species where the normal "litter" is much higher then the dangers of putting the females in harm's way are reduced. How the heck it would work in a species that lays eggs is anyone's guess!

Arlanthe
2007-03-19, 05:29 AM
I like your post Altair the Vexed, it largely reflects my real-world view. Midwives (real world OBGYN) is more dominated by ratio than most fields, etc. I think these roles are largely cocial. While I'd prefer that everything be de-gendered, I imagine some of this will continue.

I think in a fantasy world (and this isn't a bad thing IMO), it is easy to remove gender roles and bias. There are women generals, warriors, wizards, etc. I really appreciated how WotC de-gendered D&D at 3rd edition (mixing prounoun usage in the rulebooks, "men" to "folk" i.e. Lizardfolk, etc). That represents what, imo, society at large should do.

In the real world, I'm a strong proponent of the conclusion that gender is largely programed. From baby showers to pink and blue, to "coded" toy aisles and toys, to boys/girls TV shows, books, clothes, magazines, etc. I think people are taught how to "behave" a certain gender, through subtle and not-so-subtle programming and training. I'm glad that is minimized in the D&D fantasy worlds.

Sure there are aways some realistic differences and limitations- some minor hormone issues, physical strength and features, etc, but by and large gender is learned.

To Kami's point:


Furthermore, a small number of males can impregnate a large number of females; but (and there's an elegant explanation for this, which I forget) every child born has an even chance of being male or female, so those surplus males are still there, available to be used as disposable fighters.

Many socieities, i.e. China, India sex-select for males. In fact, there is a huge problem in the world's largest country with this right now, and there are measures being taken to keep the smaller number of girls from being adopted out so rapidly. I wonder how sex-selection and gender offspring preference affects the issue?

Yuki Akuma
2007-03-19, 05:39 AM
Kamikasei's point is a good one, but it assumes a species that tends to have one child at a time (as humans do). If you have an intelligent species where the normal "litter" is much higher then the dangers of putting the females in harm's way are reduced. How the heck it would work in a species that lays eggs is anyone's guess!

According to Races of the Dragon, kobolds (who lay eggs) don't distinguish themselves by gender at all (they still have the pronouns and apply them correctly, of course, but a male can hold any office thta a female can). They tend to gather all the eggs in a tribe together and have a few males and females raise them communally, while the rest of the kobolds get on with their lives.

Kobolds also don't mate for life, but they do marry. I'm not sure whether marrying is just between opposite sexes, though. It's pretty rare for kobolds to marry, though.

Saph
2007-03-19, 05:47 AM
For the vast majority of D&D species, including humans, there is no difference in abilities between males and females. Temporarily disregarding magic/dragons/falling off 10000ft. high cliffs and not dying/etc, would human society be radically different as a result of this?

Yes. It's kind of hard to figure out how, though, since it's such a big change.

In real life, men and women are very different, physically, mentally, and culturally. D&D doesn't model this, partly because the differences are really complicated, and partly because of the vast amount of hate mail they'd get if they tried, since it's a hot-button issue. :)

The real answer is that society is going to be however the GM says it is. There's no RAW answer.

- Saph

Yuki Akuma
2007-03-19, 05:50 AM
In real life, men and women are very different, physically, mentally, and culturally.

No, they really aren't. There are some slight differences physically (mainly due to different hormones due to the difference in sexual organs), but mentally and culturally, male and female humans really aren't very different.

Yes, there is the stereotype that women can multitask better than men and men can focus on one task better than women, but it's just that, a stereotype.

Saph
2007-03-19, 05:54 AM
No, they really aren't. There are some slight differences physically (mainly due to different hormones due to the difference in sexual organs), but mentally and culturally, male and female humans really aren't very different.

Yes, there is the stereotype that women can multitask better than men and men can focus on one task better than women, but it's just that, a stereotype.

Eh. Going to have to agree to disagree on this one, I think. I've found otherwise.

I think getting into an argument about it would probably violate board rules, though, since it gets into politics, so I'll stop there. PM me if you want to talk about it.

- Saph

kamikasei
2007-03-19, 06:20 AM
To Kami's point:

Many socieities, i.e. China, India sex-select for males. In fact, there is a huge problem in the world's largest country with this right now, and there are measures being taken to keep the smaller number of girls from being adopted out so rapidly. I wonder how sex-selection and gender offspring preference affects the issue?

I remember now the explanation I had forgotten earlier: it applies to the idea that in a species that reproduces like humans (one male and one female mate and produce one or more children), you get a 50/50 ratio of births, and can't maintain a different ratio as stable. Here's why.

Say you have a variety of genetic factors in an individual that affects whether its offspring will be male or female. It'd be possible for a trait that makes offspring more likely to be, say, male to spread through the population. In that case you would see more males being born than females. Therefore, any females born would have a greater chance of mating and passing on their own genes, so the "genetic value" of having a female child would go up (because it would improve your genes' chance of survival). Thus, traits that encourage females to be born rather than males would become successful. The net result is that all genetic factors influencing birth ratios will settle on a stable, even split.

The thing is that that's genetic factors for birth. It doesn't take into account intervention by, say, tribal elders casting out female infants to die because they want strong men. In that scenario, I imagine you'd end up with a 50/50 split of births but a different final sex ratio due to infanticide (but also a need for a higher birth rate to maintain the same size of population, because you're automatically increasing infant mortality).

So, yeah, in summary: policies like you describe would seriously mess with a society. You essentially have society fighting biology, there, and that's a hard fight to win without crippling yourself in the process.


Eh. Going to have to agree to disagree on this one, I think. I've found otherwise.

I think getting into an argument about it would probably violate board rules, though, since it gets into politics, so I'll stop there. PM me if you want to talk about it.

- Saph

Without getting into politics on it myself, I'll just point out that it's very difficult to say whether any pattern of difference you or anyone else may see between men and women is due to some inherent, inborn trait of the genders or due to social, cultural, historical factors - so trying to represent them in a fantasy setting where all of those things are very different is especially troublesome.

The most interesting argument I've heard for an actual, biologically-based difference that could be represented in D&D stats is the one (I believe it claimed to have statistical support, but I don't have the references - nonetheless, the argument is interesting) that says males and females have the same average intelligence (I think it was IQ they were measuring) but a different distribution, so that you were more likely to find males at the extreme high and low ends of the curve. The reasoning was that high intelligence had more survival value to a male animal than a female, and allowing the variation to get that high intelligence also increased the odds of having a low.

Leush
2007-03-19, 06:58 AM
Actually it'd go the other way. If females are selected against, the species will eventually evolve to give birth to more males: Because people who do not 'waste' nine month to grow a female offspring will end up with a larger number of living offspring. So people who inherantly are more likely to produce male offspring will not be selected against and therefore slowly become a larger proportion of the population.

But back on topic: Males and females have the same goal- to live, but a different set of tools for getting there. If you make their stats identical, the tools will become more alike, and therefore the distinctions between their ways of getting to their goal and the distinction between their roles in society will blur slightly, but since women still give birth and men do not, which with the hormonal requirements is the main difference between the two, I doubt that much will change.

On another note- whose to say that females and males of the same species have the same stats in D&D? A lot of the races have different vital statistics for different genders, which is an indicator of different strengths and what not and players (I think) are more likely to make their male and female characters in line with their RL stereotypes, which determines the stats distribution of a race more than the 3d6+6/8/10 distribution. SInce having rolled that they decde which race and gender it is.

Tormsskull
2007-03-19, 07:10 AM
I think it would radically change the typical D&D setting. I think a large part of what defined 'male' roles and 'female' roles was based on their physical capabilities. Assuming males and females were exactly the same I think you could see a large variety of different civilization types.

AtomicKitKat
2007-03-19, 07:15 AM
For sex-selection, see Crocodile eggs and Temperature.

As far as mental differences(or at least, thought patterns), see Child of Our Time.

Arlanthe
2007-03-19, 07:48 AM
The thing is that that's genetic factors for birth. It doesn't take into account intervention by, say, tribal elders casting out female infants to die because they want strong men. In that scenario, I imagine you'd end up with a 50/50 split of births but a different final sex ratio due to infanticide (but also a need for a higher birth rate to maintain the same size of population, because you're automatically increasing infant mortality).


I should have been clearer, thanks for pointing that out. To put it bluntly I was referring to adopting out girls, aborting them, or yes even infanticide.

Yes men and women are different physically, but despite all looks I wouldn't say "very" since- without going into detail, men and women's reproductive organs differ only in a few protein switches in the foetus, and come from the same material.

Culturally men and women ARE different- this is where I would argue most of the differnces between the sexes come from. How they are taught to behave and socialize; not how they are biologically determined to behave and socialize. There are some good books on the subject.

Jayabalard
2007-03-19, 07:50 AM
I don't think that "slight" covers the physical differences between men and women... there are certainly a large physical difference between the sexes.

Difference in ability aside, it's sad that D&D took the easy way out by just not doing any design on gender roles, etc in their campaign settings. Even the most egalitarian societies have gender roles of some sort.

For contrast: In Yrth (a GURPS fantasy setting), the cultures are described in fair detail, including gender roles; the religions are taken from real world religions, so the first female knight and the knightly order that has female knights as members because of her squire get their own write up, including little facts about how female knights are treated in al-Haz and al-Wazif (when not on crusade), or how other knightly orders perceive them.

While I'm sure that not everyone wants that kind of detail, it's nice to have.

AtomicKitKat
2007-03-19, 09:19 AM
Well, Orcs are patriarchal, as are evil Frost Giants(those who follow Kostchtchie at least), most Lizardfolk are at least partially patriarchal(Lizard King is still the default), Drow are matriarchal. I can't really think of too many other matriarchal societies in D&D.

anphorus
2007-03-19, 10:39 AM
Well, Orcs are patriarchal, as are evil Frost Giants(those who follow Kostchtchie at least), most Lizardfolk are at least partially patriarchal(Lizard King is still the default), Drow are matriarchal. I can't really think of too many other matriarchal societies in D&D.

Elephants maybe? Though that isn't really a society as such.

Fixer
2007-03-19, 11:11 AM
In my experience GMs tend to enhance the whole stereotypification (hope that's a word) of gender roles.

When was the last time you were in a tavern with a female barkeep and being served by male serving 'wenches'?

Indon
2007-03-19, 11:13 AM
Personally, I take the position that men and women are still physically different in D&D, but that the difference is not significant enough to justify a statistical distinction (i.e. less than one D&D 'point' in a stat).

I think the more significant issue regarding gender equality is the same issue which allows drow and half-orcs to run around being heroes; adventurer culture is no more sexist than it is racist or ageist or anythingelseist. At least, that's my take.

Mick_the_Rogue
2007-03-19, 11:16 AM
What I tend to do, for all races, is give males +1 to the strength score and women +1 to the Con score

Men are, on average, stronger, period. Men were built as the hunter gatherers, the ones who brought food and did that sort of thing

Women are tougher...They can take pain better than men. An example? Let's make all men have to give birth to children...A man's response to that would be 'Fine, no more children'

That being said I hate pain and can be a little wuss about it

Anyhow, human society has run the gamut on all sides of the issue, the most famous being the repression of women. In earlier times women were regarded as holy, or even the ruling class (and still are in some societies)

Crueldespot
2007-03-19, 11:34 AM
I agree with Kamikasai and Sardia. Gender roles in prehistoric times were derived from the role of females in childbirth, rather than differences in physical abilities.

In a prehistoric society, infant mortality was much higher. So each woman had to bear several children just for society to break even on population growth. There were no bottles or formula or baby food, so the mom had to breast feed the baby herself for at least the first year. All this adds up to women spending most of their adult lives either pregnant or nursing. It is not realistic to go hunting or go on the warpath while pregnant or nursing, so those jobs fell to the men. The women ended up doing the gathering part of "hunter/gatherer" because you can gather while pregnant or while caring for kids. Some anthropologists have argued that the most patriarchal societies are the ones that rely on hunting meat for their diet, such as Eskimos, while those that rely on gathering tend to be more egalitarian or matriarchal.

So bottom line: Equality in stats wouldn't cause society to become gender-equal. We are still dealing with gender inequality even though it is a leftover tradition from the hunter/gatherer days 6,000+ years ago.

Sergeantbrother
2007-03-19, 11:47 AM
Women are tougher...They can take pain better than men. An example? Let's make all men have to give birth to children...A man's response to that would be 'Fine, no more children'

That's a myth actually, they have done a number of studies that show that men have a higher pain tolerance on average than women do.

Fixer
2007-03-19, 11:53 AM
That's a myth actually, they have done a number of studies that show that men have a higher pain tolerance on average than women do.
I am still glad I am male, because there is no way I would ever want to experience childbirth.

My wife will get to tell me what it's like in 4 months anyway and she can be very descriptive. (Hopefully not utilizing any painful 'visual' aids.)

Closet_Skeleton
2007-03-19, 12:11 PM
Oh no, not this old thing again.

About real life: Who do you believe? Some Feminists claim that any differance is cultural while some scientists say the Feminists aren't looking at enough empirical evidence and there are differences.

About DnD: I don't see how it would neccesaraly effect anything. If people are right that in the real world there are no major differences then there's no reason why it would make the DnD world differant. Some Prestige classes have female as a requirement for fluff purposes (Hathran, Battle Maiden) while others that should have female as a requirement from fluff purposes (Incantrix) don't. One would apply that if your not female there's a job you can never do despite the fact that Hathran is merely a cultural role while the other implies that even though all Incantrixes as an organisation are female there isn't any reason why a male couldn't learn the same skills. DnD doesn't present a unified enough front.

AtomicKitKat
2007-03-19, 12:54 PM
Let's make all men have to give birth to children...

Bring it.:smallamused: I've cut myself(not intentional), scalded myself, let people punch me in the gut, headbutted walls, broken my arms, twisted my ankle, even let people hit me in the groin. And the worst pain I've ever felt? Having my brother's shin meet mine when we decided to use the same leg to kick at the other.:smalltongue:

Mick_the_Rogue
2007-03-19, 01:24 PM
Ah...hmm, perhaps we should say males get a -1 to wisdom instead?

Jayabalard
2007-03-19, 01:31 PM
About DnD: I don't see how it would neccesaraly effect anything.In my opinion, the fact that D&D assumes equality between the genders is one of the things that makes the D&D world feel so 2-d and fake. I'm not talking about the fact that there is no difference in attributes, just that there seems to be very little in the way of fluff that takes gender into consideration.

Jade_Tarem
2007-03-19, 01:45 PM
Careful; thinking isn't as clear-cut. There's a number of differences in how the two tend to think, but it's not nearly as absolute; you could point at a man and say "no woman is that strong", but you can't really point at any man and say "no woman thinks that way". Furthermore, the way we think is far more culturally influenced than strength, and a lot of the things people assume are universal actually aren't (for example, the Trobrianders of New Guinea had men do the bulk of their child-raising... because they thought men were just naturally better at it).

Well, yes. Certainly it's much harder to quantify mental values than physical ones, as physical ones can all be assigned an objective value (he can lift 500 pounds over his head, she can only lift 415, so he is stronger - that kind of thing) and mental ones largely cannot. We have IQ tests, but that's about it and really not all that accurate as even the most comprehensive ones cannot thoroughly test vocablary, creativity, and a number of other things.

When I mentioned "the way the two think" I wasn't talking about stereotypes, as you bring up with the child raising thing (although I'm glad you brought it up, as it is a good point) nor was I saying that there isn't an enormous social and cultrual influence on how people of both genders think. What I was trying to say is that, physiologically, certain things in the brain tend to fire off differently in women as opposed to men and vice versa. There are studies that show this, athough I can't produce one right now. I'm sure there would be a number online and in libraries, as well as conficting ones as well.

LotharBot
2007-03-19, 02:13 PM
IMO gender differences in humans would barely show up in attribute scores -- women would be less likely to have 18 strength (but could), men would be less likely to have 18 wis (but could). If someone had an 18 in one of those, you'd have an 80% chance of guessing their gender. But if the stats did NOT include an 18 in either of those attributes, it'd be a coin flip. Physically and mentally speaking, we're just not different enough for the D&D attribute system to care.

Where gender differences would really show up would be in classes, feats, and skills. Anybody from any gender could take any of them, but in a cross-section of society X, more women would take skill Y and more men would take skill Z. Whether due to genetics or culture, there are just some things men are more likely to focus on and other things women are more likely to focus on. In American society, a lot more men than women have profession(engineer), and a lot more women than men have profession(teacher). In some societies, there might be true gender restrictions -- men can't take this class; women can't take that skill.

If, as a DM, you want to add gender-based flavor to a world... create gender stereotypes within your world's culture. Rule that certain skills or feats require training, and make it difficult (ie, a plot hook) to find someone who'll train a man in diplomacy or a woman in spellcraft. Or make it so that people react with surprise when a man fights effectively with a greatclub, or a woman makes a really high tumble check. You can even make this change from region to region, perhaps leading people to suspect a party member of being a spy because "men of this country don't act that way".

BCOVertigo
2007-03-19, 02:16 PM
I am still glad I am male, because there is no way I would ever want to experience childbirth.

It's called a gallstone. Pray you don't get one.


Bring it.:smallamused: I've cut myself(not intentional), scalded myself, let people punch me in the gut, headbutted walls, broken my arms, twisted my ankle, even let people hit me in the groin. And the worst pain I've ever felt? Having my brother's shin meet mine when we decided to use the same leg to kick at the other.:smalltongue:

I once put a kid out of a taekwondo tournament due to repeatedly mirroring kicks like that. Didn't phase me a bit. No two people are the same I guess....

Anyways, I've seen enough air headed girls and idiot guys that I don't think either should get a wisdom penalty or any other stat alteration. And it's the average that matters for giving racial bonuses, not how high you can get it. On average orcs are much stronger than humans, hence the +4.

Maroon
2007-03-19, 02:42 PM
Another thing is what constitutes as 'better taking the pain' or 'worse at multitasking'. The ability to endure more pain makes you resist poison better how exactly? And where's the Multitask ability score? Sure, men are more likely than women to have an 18 in Strength, but that doesn't mean women can't have an 18 in Strength at all. And who says adventurers are representative for the whole society, anyway?

ravenkith
2007-03-19, 03:15 PM
D&D simplifies things a lot. We know this. It's a fact.

It creates basic rules to simulate complex realities, and then throws in some magic and psionics to add some chaos to the mix.

In reality, the gender roles that men and women traditionally filled up until the 70s (arguably still do, to an extent) had evolved from a series of complex factors that just don't exist in D&D.

People say that there is a difference in the upper limits of strength when it comes to men and women. While this has not been proven, it has been found to be true over time.

Why is this?

If you believe in the theory of natural selection, the answer is pretty evident: evolution selecting for advantageous traits through breeding and reproduction. Only those who surivive and are capable of breeding get to pass on their genetic heritage.

It is important to note that it is a fact that if a woman gets too fat or too lean, she becomes incapable of menstruating properly. The portion of this that interests us is on the 'lean' side of the equation.

It is easier for some people to pack on muscle than others, because of metabolic rates, physical size, and amount of exercise, among other things.
People who are predisposed to pack on muscle are possessed of a metabolism that can more readily convert fat and protein to actual muscle, it is this that helps them develop such imposing physiques.

In ancient times, the strong members of the group would go out to hunt, working as a team. Sometimes, people died. A lot of the time, these would be the weak, slow, and less quick-witted of the hunters.

Evolution was aggressively weeding out the smaller males from day one.

On the other hand, females that became too muscular became incapable of breeding, as their menstrual cycles fluctuated and finally, in extreme cases, failed. This phenomenon is well documented in the sport of female body building, and among female gymnasts. Without sufficient fat, the female body will not allow itself to become/remain pregnant. As such, unable to breed, they were unable to pass on their genetic material to the next generation.

In order to survive, the weaker females (because they were smaller and less muscular, with more fat and less stamina) would trade access to their bodies for food and continued survival, establishing a patriarchal bond. Literally, the female and her offspring survived only as long as they had a male to do the hunting for them.

Keep in mind that hunters got first pick of which parts of the animal to eat, and so were better nourished than those who were unable to hunt: only so much can be brought back by any one hunter, and they didn't have refrigerators to keep meat from getting spoiled.

So not only were thuse back at camp not getting the best cuts, depending on how far out the hunters were when they brought something down, the meat might be spoiled and make them ill by the time they finally got it, yet another hazard the hunters did not face.

So the overly muscled and poor of constitution got wiped out over time, and the genetic traits that produced such specimens did not get passed on, for the most part.

This established a long lasting pattern that dominated much of the world for thousands of years. It is in this time period that men and womens upper limitations started to alter and differ from one another's irrevocably.

But the patriarchal bond, initially developed for survival, took on a different kind of meaning: one of possession. For a long time, might made right, as muscle power ruled everything.

If you look at old peasant homes in England, you'll find them stouter structures than todays buildings. Shorter door frames, lower ceilings...why? Because people were much smaller, on average, back then. Tiny by comparison, to the giants of today. Nutrition and healthcare have caused both men and women, across the board, to shoot up in size just in the last hundred years or so. The average height in the middle ages for men was somewhere in the low 5 feet range. Nowadays it's a good 5'9.

Now imagine that only the strongest got the advantage of proper nutrition...and the rest went without: how much more noticeable would the difference be? What would that translate into, in terms of physical power?

All that physical power was spent creating bands, and from bands, armies, and from armies, nations. Nations begat laws, to make sure those who had the power held onto it.

Technology improved, society became agrarian, and food became more readily available, if not for the taxes of those in power, which spawned a revolution that caused the laws to change, and gave every male a voice in the running of the nation.

Centuries of tradition, of patriarchal society...in the end, it comes down because of three things:
1. Proper nutrition & healthcare for both men and women
2. World War II decimating the male population, forcing men to allow women to enter the workforce (something they previously were not disposed to do)
3. The Feminist movement

Women now can earn their own money at a fair rate, with which to buy food which is readily available, and have established their legal right to vote, hold property, and as such, choose their own destiny.

That is how patriarchy finally was dealt the death blow, even though it reels yet, like a drunk, trying to keep it's feet, but doomed to fail.

But it has taken centuries for the real world to get there, simply because of the costs of survival, and the path evolution has taken.

In D&D, they simply waved their hands and said: "we are all equal".

In reality, change takes time....but it is inevitable.

Iron_Mouse
2007-03-19, 03:17 PM
I always find it odd that many (usually male) DMs argue that it is "realistic" to give women the lower role in a fantasy society. We have worlds that are full of magic and dragons and active gods and other races and societies that are completely different from ours and whatnot...

But *that* has to be "realistic". Yeah.

It's true that there are differences between the genders, both physically and psychically. But we, in the real world, usually tend to overestimate and exaggerate them. Because we do, we make it even worse, by raising girls different from boys and "force" them into different gender roles. This results in females developing some abilities more and suppressing others, and the same thing happens with males.
In the end, this makes the differences look somehow greater than they really are.

In our world, we can only compare men to women. They are the only "intelligent races" we know of, after all.
In a D&D world, the people see a lot of different other intelligent races. An average human woman might still be slightly weaker than the average human man. But at the same time, the average human woman is a lot stronger than an average halfling man. And the average human man is a lot weaker than an average halforc female. Compared to the differences between the races, the differences between the genders quickly start to pale (statwise, +2/-2 points [or more] vs. not even one).
It's likely that the people start to not see themselves as men and women first and humans second (it kinda looks to me that they do these days...), but as humans/dwarves/halflings/whatever *first* and women or men second. How much that changes is up to you, but I wouldn't ignore it.
In my game world, sexism is a very minor issue, but racism is quite popular, for exactly those reasons.

Another very important thing to keep in mind is, that when you talk about a "medieval society", you also talk about a "very religious society". In the real middle ages, it was a christian one.
In fact, women were suppressed back then mostly because the (male) church wanted it that way. They could just say "god wants it that way" and get away with that.
In a fantasy world, it's not that easy. Actually, a priest even risks the wrath of his deity (losing his powers and worse things) when telling the people whatever he wants. If the god actually wants equality between the genders, he (the priest) better tells the people that. And after he did, even non-religious folks can't just ignore the will of the undoubtly existing and active gods.
Unless you have sexist gods, of course. But I can only see evil gods saying to their followers "go and tell your women/men to shut up and to do whatever you want". Lolth comes to mind...

If you have non-sexist gods you would almost automatically have a non-sexist society I guess. Sure, you can have gods that don't care and leave it to the mortals, but even then they would hardly ignore priests who wrongly justify oppression of someone (or anything else, probably) with "it's the will of [deity]!".

Jayabalard
2007-03-19, 03:39 PM
I always find it odd that many (usually male) DMs argue that it is "realistic" to give women the lower role in a fantasy society. We have worlds that are full of magic and dragons and active gods and other races and societies that are completely different from ours and whatnot...

But *that* has to be "realistic". Yeah.Actually, I like for all of that to be as realistic as possible.

that means dragons aren't living in every mountain, they're very rarely seen even by those who search for them.

Magic isn't common; most commoners will never see real magic performed, just charlatans and con artists.

Some of the gods that people worship in the game world are real, and some of them are not, just superstitions and legend. The real ones don't walk around performing miracles very often if at all, nor do their priests. Miraculous healing and divine magic is just as rare and wondrous as arcane magic.

Women don't universally have a lower position in society; some societies are matriarchal, some are patriarchal, though the latter tends to be more common. Men are much more likely to be in risky professions (hunters, soldiers, etc) because they are expendable in a way that women aren't. Societies that are set up to protect women and children from danger survive... the ones that don't protect them from harm don't survive.

I advise staying away from real life religion btw... that's a pretty strict no-no on the forums; besides real life medieval societies weren't all the same religion, nor was being male-centric restricted to that.

Grey Paladin
2007-03-19, 03:40 PM
Actually the only reason D&D didn't originaly had anything but a limit on the maximum strength of a woman (that's now removed) is because then they'd have to use numbers in the range of hundreds and that would complicate things too much, man are stronger then woman, and woman are more preceptive, but a whole point is a HUGE difference, the parameters are simply too small and too few in number.

Thing is, a man can do just about everything, and so can a woman, but asuming a man and a woman train the exact same amount of time in the same field and live in the same way the person with the natural advantage is going to be better in this field then the other.

Closet_Skeleton
2007-03-19, 03:48 PM
In the real world Sexism has never been a constant. Anglo-saxon and medieval England had better rights for women than Elizabethan and Victorian England (Proving that what sexism really needs to flourish is a female monarch :smallwink:) since noblewomen in Anglo-saxon England could gain quite a bit of power as Abbesses and Mayors but around the Tudor period Chivalric myths of damsels in distress became popular. In 'Viking' society magic was for women and swords were for men (there's little evidence for Norse Warrior Women but a lot more for Celtic ones) and that sort of thing would work fine in DnD.

Don't assume that just because stories of Knights and Damsels in distress are old they're an accurate representation of gender roles from the beginning of time. Remember that in England universal female sufferage only came 50 years after universal male sufferage. It's the intellectual societies of the Enlightenment, Renaissance and Classical period that are primeraly male centric.

JadedDM
2007-03-19, 04:04 PM
People, what it boils down to is this:

It doesn't matter.

Whether or not you personally believe there is a big enough difference between men and women to warrant having ability adjustments between them, if you employ such a thing, you will eventually cheese someone off. It would be like adding racial modifiers for whether your character is black or white. You're just asking for trouble.

Draz74
2007-03-19, 04:06 PM
No, they really aren't. There are some slight differences physically (mainly due to different hormones due to the difference in sexual organs), but mentally and culturally, male and female humans really aren't very different.

Yes, there is the stereotype that women can multitask better than men and men can focus on one task better than women, but it's just that, a stereotype.

Actually, hormones can affect mentality as much as they can affect physical prowess. They control, for example, which areas of the brain receive more blood flow.

And yes, MRI's of brain activity have indeed shown that psychologists are right, who claim that women can multitask better than men.

... of course, this is "overall"; it doesn't tell you anything about individuals. An individual woman can be better at focusing on one thing intensely than a certain man, just as easily as a certain woman can be physically stronger than a certain man.

bosssmiley
2007-03-19, 04:13 PM
Well, Orcs are patriarchal, as are evil Frost Giants(those who follow Kostchtchie at least), most Lizardfolk are at least partially patriarchal(Lizard King is still the default), Drow are matriarchal. I can't really think of too many other matriarchal societies in D&D.

Formians, Abeil(sp?), Koa-Tou (IIRC) are all supposed to be matriarchal. Other than that I can't think of any notably matriarchal D&D races (except possibly Elves, who are all tied to Mommy's apron strings anyway :smallwink: ).

I tend to go with the Dwarven position on gender roles in D&D: exclusively women's work lasts until the children are weaned.

Saph
2007-03-19, 04:32 PM
In my opinion, the fact that D&D assumes equality between the genders is one of the things that makes the D&D world feel so 2-d and fake. I'm not talking about the fact that there is no difference in attributes, just that there seems to be very little in the way of fluff that takes gender into consideration.

It's a political decision. WotC just didn't want to deal with all the hate mail they'd get if they included even the smallest differences between genders, so they avoided the whole subject. Gender differences are a hot-button issue and no company wants to buy trouble.

- Saph

LotharBot
2007-03-19, 04:35 PM
if you employ such a thing, you will eventually cheese someone off.... You're just asking for trouble.

Perhaps we should all amend what's been said with the following:

don't even think about using gender-based flavor in your games if ANYBODY in your group is immature or sexist, especially the DM. And don't think about using it if someone in your group has a problem with it due to past discrimination or whatever. (The same applies to, for example, making a society that has racist attitudes toward one of your characters, or making a society that views one character's religion negatively.) Only do it if your group as a whole is mature enough to treat it as a good roleplaying scenario.

---

To answer the OP: I don't think society would be any different due to the D&D "attribute-based equality of the sexes", because I think it's already more or less true. The main differences between the sexes are opportunity (moreso in ancient than modern society) and personal preference (genetic or cultural). Opportunity differences already exist within some D&D societies (Drow) but you can expand those. Personal preference differences should come from your players.

Grey Paladin
2007-03-19, 04:37 PM
coughBethsedacough

Gorbash
2007-03-19, 04:41 PM
Hmm, I'd give men +1 str and women +1 wisdom... They do mature earlier than us, and are more down to earth than men... But constitution... No... I mean, you can't say men couldn't stand giving birth, when nobody tried it (not that they could have). My ex gf always bragged how men couldn't stand waxing their legs every month yada yada yada, so one time (it was winter :D) I let her shave my leg. It didn't hurt that much... So, I don't believe that any gender can take more pain than the other...

Exarch
2007-03-19, 04:51 PM
I can't believe no one has mentioned Gnolls as being a matriarchal society.

As to all of this gender role stuff...I think it evolved for a reason other than "men want to control everything". While there are exceptions, men are generally stronger than women. You can put a man and a woman in a boxing ring, both who are about the same size and experience, and I'll put my money on the man. There's also the statistics stating that men have better track times than women.

Certain individuals can, and will, always break the mold...but there is a set mold for a reason. Not everyone is extraordinary.

Edit: Waxing is nothing. Male swimmers go through it. Guys with hairy backs will do it. Hell, I've underwent waxing...no big deal.

And I'm not sure I can see how women mature faster than we males. I'd say the sexes mature equally. And are you kidding about down to earth? The term "diva" came from somewhere. That, and my girlfriend seems to have a Listen score of -1.

Jayabalard
2007-03-19, 05:24 PM
It's a political decision. WotC just didn't want to deal with all the hate mail they'd get if they included even the smallest differences between genders, so they avoided the whole subject. Gender differences are a hot-button issue and no company wants to buy trouble.

- SaphGURPS default fantasy setting is Yrth (now in GURPS banestorm), which uses real life religions, and medieval gender roles in the fluff that it provides. They don't seem too afraid of shoving that sort of trouble out there.

The old Powers and Perils Fantasy RPG system had very different stats for different genders, even more so for the fantasy races over humans. They're long gone, but I don't remember anyone complaining about the sexism.

I agree that D&D is making a political decision, I just think that its a pretty lame one.

asqwasqw
2007-03-19, 06:37 PM
Well, people saying that there is no difference except for culturally should refer to animals. Most mammals and birds are seperated by genders because of their ability to raise children and defend the home. Men and women do have different capabilities, different roles, in all types of life. Females typically raise children because they give birth to children and are actually designed to feed children. There is also the social perception of it, because most people would rather have male tavernkeepers and female serving wrenches than the other way around.

Vaynor
2007-03-19, 06:43 PM
Females get cold resistance 1 for being able to wear miniskirts in 30 degree F weather.

Ravyn
2007-03-19, 06:44 PM
*raises an eyebrow* Most people? And how did you come by this conclusion?

asqwasqw
2007-03-19, 06:52 PM
Most people as in the majority of a tavern crowd at any given time are male, and I think people would prefer that the innkeeper is someone their gender and their servers the opposite gender. However, even if this point is moot, you have to agree that there is a difference even if it is not hard coded at childhood. Animals seperate from gender, and people do too. Females take care of children because normally that is what they are best at and men hunt because that is generally what they are best at. A long time ago, when humans lived alongside nethanderals (sp?), they did not have a social bias because they were raised that way. They did it because it was the most efficent way. I am not saying there is no exception, but that is the way most people are born.

Sardia
2007-03-19, 09:31 PM
This could account in part for the egalitarianism of the elves-- if elves hit puberty after a century or so, have three or four kids over the next forty years (painfully slow compared to peak human reproduction) and let them amble about to be raised by the tribe as a whole, the adult elf woman has no particular disadvantage in social roles-- she's done her reproductive duty and is done.

shaddy_24
2007-03-19, 10:40 PM
Most of this is pretty insignificant(sp). The differences between men and women are so small that it wouldn't have any affect on game stats. I think WotC did it for 2 reasons:
1. To make everything equal. People who want to be good fighters don't have to be male to get the good strength.
2. So that nobody would jump on them about it. If men and women had been different, there would have been so many calls of sexism.
I think gender roles are entirly controled by the DM. Any given community could have men or women in leading roles. I may make an elvan patriarchy or a dwarvan matriarchy. Since they have grown up in these rolles, their stats would reflect it. Adding rules that differenciate between the two is unneccesary IMO.

Sergeantbrother
2007-03-19, 10:49 PM
I think that one problem with giving realistic attribute adjustments is that real life isn't balanced. Well, there are numerous advantages and disadvantages to being a man or a woman in real life - and who can say whether being a man or a woman is "better". But D&D isn't real life and the things that matter in real life don't always matter in game.

The fact is that men are better at kicking butt. Men are bigger, stronger, faster, have denser bones, more aggression, built muscle mass faster, and are generally more athletic. If we're talking about going into underground tunnels and killing goblins, men have an advantage over women. Of course, in real life there are advantages that women have that men don't, but physical combat isn't one of those.

So I think if we truely made attribute bonuses that reflected real life then it would be mechanically unfair for female characters because females aren't as good at the things that "adventuring" entails as men are.


That was a little bit of a tangent though, because the original topic was about gender roles. Personally, when I run a game males and females are not equal. Men are stronger and tougher than women are - but this is only for NPCs. NPCs in my world don't get 3d6 randomly, they are much more uniform that that, so that 18 is very rare for a typical NPC. Also, 10 or 12 is common Strength of a generic NPC man, while 8 is fairly cmmon for the typical NPC woman. So gender roles usually have more of a historical feel about them and attributes of NPCs are more realistic as well.

BUT - PCs always use point distribution and there are no bonuses or penalties in any way for being a man or a woman. So in essense, there is a double standard in my D&D between PCs and NPCs - PCs get sexual equality where as NPCs don't. This gives me the more historical feel that I like and still doesn't limit players at all.

AtomicKitKat
2007-03-19, 11:31 PM
Shaving != Waxing. I've done both. I've also used tweezers to individually remove hairs. To the point that I hardly even feel that sort of stimulus anymore. :P

Lord_Kimboat
2007-03-20, 12:07 AM
I am afraid I can't agree with you Sergeantbrother. While I have seen bell curves that show that men have greater physical strength as well as aggression, I have seen similar statistics to show that women have greater reaction speeds (dex) and higher pain thresholds (Fort saves? HP?). As well, generations of artists (as well as advertising executives) would say that women have higher charisma scores than men. If we wanted to make a balanced rules system, I'm certain that it could be done, I think that people thought it was just easier not to get into the whole gender debate (3 pages here on this friendly forum).

It has also been argued that men have higher strength and aggression because, in a limited society, they are more expendable. If you have a village of 25 men and 25 women and 20 women die, your village is pretty well gone in a generation. However, if you lose 20 men, your village can be pretty much back to the same level within 15 years.

Beleriphon
2007-03-20, 01:01 AM
I suppose if you want to assign statistical differences between men and women in D&D you could, but its rather pointless. The basic six stats are so generic that they can't show anything except gross differences. A strength of 10 compared to a strength of 11 are both considered average, but the mechanical benefits of the two are quite clear, and the average man compared to the average woman doesn't have that much of a difference between them. Its only when you begin to look at the extremes that you'll start to see differences.

As for GURPs and its cultural differences they have a built in excuse. They're fantasy setting is at least nominally based on real history, so they can just claim thats the way it was back then. And they would be quite correct for the most part.

If you want to examine the difference between males and females look to other races in D&D. Orcs for example are typically described as being patriarchal to the point where female orcs are property and little better than slaves. The average orc female will have the same basic stats as n orc male if you assume rolls of 10 and then applying the racial modifiers.

I don't do that however, I use the non-elite array. It still gives the averages 3d6 rolls, but now every orc starts with the same numbers. I might decide that orc females are specifically kept from engaging in anything requiring strength because they are just stupid non-warrior cows. So they get an 8 strength as a base, but they are racial inclined to being much stronger than a human so they still end up with a 12 strength. Obviously those big ough warrior orcs get a 13 strength to start with and end up with a 17 strength. There's a five point difference showing a clear gender bias derived from the cultural bias of my orcs.

At any rate if you want to apply a gender bias to your stats don't change the modifiers for the race, change the base starting point. The non-elite array is really hand for give a specific NPC, or even group, a bit of a different twist other than 10s and applying the stat modifiers.

Wehrkind
2007-03-20, 02:58 AM
I am not certain I buy that men and women are on "average" pretty close physically. I recall running track in highschool and despite only doing two sports and not going out of my way to do physical activity the rest of the year (my father continuously pointed out I would be better if I bothered to practice in the off season) I could handily out run even the sportiest girls. Now, I ran the 400 which was pretty unpopular, so perhaps it was indicative of my specialization where they were not, but still it seems to me that if the fastest girls are at best equalling a lack luster male (whether I had champion runner's genes or not) than you have evidence that they are on average not as fast.

The gist of what I am saying is that males are stronger by accident, just by virtue of being male, than females. I have known some pretty butch women, a personal trainer included, and in her case despite her weight training at the gym every day, sometimes twice a day, she could not bench press as much as I could, and I am not a prime specimen at all.

kamikasei
2007-03-20, 03:25 AM
Well, people saying that there is no difference except for culturally should refer to animals. Most mammals and birds are seperated by genders because of their ability to raise children and defend the home. Men and women do have different capabilities, different roles, in all types of life. Females typically raise children because they give birth to children and are actually designed to feed children.

I don't think anyone (or many people) is saying that there's no justification for men and women to have different roles in a society in D&D. What many are saying is that there's no justification for assigning statistical differences to abilities (giving men +1 STR and women +1 CHA, as has been suggested before). The fact that the sexes have different roles in reproduction and would therefore be likely to be assigned different roles within society is quite independent of this.

If you want to reference the animal kingdom, note how little sexual dimorphism humans exhibit compared to other animals who have really specialized for the sexes' different roles.

Arlanthe
2007-03-20, 04:02 AM
Well, people saying that there is no difference except for culturally should refer to animals. Most mammals and birds are seperated by genders because of their ability to raise children and defend the home. Men and women do have different capabilities, different roles, in all types of life. Females typically raise children because they give birth to children and are actually designed to feed children. There is also the social perception of it, because most people would rather have male tavernkeepers and female serving wrenches than the other way around.

"Refer to animals". Thats a very, very broad kingdom my friend. Huge swaths of the category are asexual or hermaphroditic, and there are tens of thousands of species of animals across every phylum that are hemaphroditic and/or can change sexes. (To that end, not all plants are hemaphroditic- many plants are sexed as well!).

There is a good paper on this published in the August 2006 issue of the journal Integrative and Comparative Biology by Janet. L. Leonard, Sexual selection: lessons from hermaphrodite mating systems.

That being said, the higher primates have culture and behavior that exceeds traditional "biological selection". You specifically mention mammals in association with "roles". Even chimpanzees and bonobos have varying gender roles between cummunal populations, in many of which males take on a major role in child caretaking and empathy transferance- meaning that in higher primates, culture preempts genetics- suggesting social structures are becoming more important than "sexual predetermination". More so with humans.

So no, a man cannot breast feed and a woman cannot impregnate another, and yes men on average are stronger, and women more flexible, etc. The physical bell curves (STR, DEX) are real, as they are more genetically determined. The social curves (INT, WIS, CHR) are all social. The idea that "women are more emotional, and men more rational", or "women are better people-caretakers, and men are better breadwinners" stems entirely from "tradition" and social proscription, not genetics. THAT is all learned.

A good book: Sexual Selections: What We Can and Can't Learn about Sex from Animals Publisher Routledge, part of the Taylor & Francis Group
ISSN 1369-1058 (Print) 1464-5351 (Online)

The Exile
2007-03-20, 04:16 AM
So no, a man cannot breast feed and a woman cannot impregnate another, and yes men on average are stronger, and women more flexible, etc. The physical bell curves (STR, DEX) are real, as they are more genetically determined.
Agreed.


The social curves (INT, WIS, CHR) are all social. The idea that "women are more emotional, and men more rational", or "women are better people-caretakers, and men are better breadwinners" stems entirely from "tradition" and social proscription, not genetics. THAT is all learned.
I disagree that it is all learned. There is at least some genetic component in the caretaker/breadwinner thing, because of the way testosterone and estrogen and other hormones affect the brain, and those traits would be selected for by evolution.

Dhavaer
2007-03-20, 04:23 AM
So no, a man cannot breast feed

It's quite possible, and in some cultures normal, for a man to breastfeed.

Arlanthe
2007-03-20, 04:53 AM
It's quite possible, and in some cultures normal, for a man to breastfeed.

(Actualy, I do know this to be true. It's just not common yet in most places, and people tend not to respond comfortably to this argument, despite the fact it is quite true and normal in some places. Well put.)

Rabiesbunny
2007-03-20, 05:39 AM
You know what I find cute is how in one Dragon magazines, there's a flaw called "Chivalrous Nature'. But not ones to tick anyone off, they didn't make it a male-only flaw -- apparently, women can be chivalrous toward men now.

...err? Nothing to do with stats, but I'd like to see a few male only PrCs! We've got a crapload of female only ones, and that's honestly just not fair.

Bears With Lasers
2007-03-20, 05:42 AM
You know what I find cute is how in one Dragon magazines, there's a flaw called "Chivalrous Nature'. But not ones to tick anyone off, they didn't make it a male-only flaw -- apparently, women can be chivalrous toward men now.

Sure. Open doors, put them on pedestals, treat them like they're made of glass, do things "for their own good", etc.

Falkus
2007-03-20, 05:43 AM
I am not certain I buy that men and women are on "average" pretty close physically. I recall running track in highschool and despite only doing two sports and not going out of my way to do physical activity the rest of the year (my father continuously pointed out I would be better if I bothered to practice in the off season) I could handily out run even the sportiest girls. Now, I ran the 400 which was pretty unpopular, so perhaps it was indicative of my specialization where they were not, but still it seems to me that if the fastest girls are at best equalling a lack luster male (whether I had champion runner's genes or not) than you have evidence that they are on average not as fast.

Do you even know what the word evidence means? A single, personal example proves absolutely nothing. Evidence would be you giving me ten thousand examples. This is just a story, it doesn't prove anything.

Dhavaer
2007-03-20, 05:48 AM
...err? Nothing to do with stats, but I'd like to see a few male only PrCs! We've got a crapload of female only ones, and that's honestly just not fair.

There's Eunuch Warlock, but that's not too desireable.

Ghostwalk has a good male-only monk feat, but I don't remember what it's called.

Zincorium
2007-03-20, 05:56 AM
Do you even know what the word evidence means? A single, personal example proves absolutely nothing. Evidence would be you giving me ten thousand examples. This is just a story, it doesn't prove anything.

However, if you were to, say, compare various olympic sports, which are handily divided into male and female, and compare the respective records from what are supposed to be the world's best athletes, you might be able to find general trends as to the upper limits of biologies. This wouldn't do much for the median attributes of the two, but it is a set of verifiable statistics.

I would say that it's very likely that training at that level is going to be fairly similar, although I'm unsure as to where one could find more information on the regimens of various athletes. If it was comparable, then biological limits would be the next most likely place to determine any discrepancies.

According to the records page on olympic.org (here (http://www.olympic.org/uk/utilities/reports/level2_uk.asp?HEAD2=8&HEAD1=5)), there is a moderate edge in every comparable event on the men's side of the equation, the conclusion is evident but I'd be interested in everyone's ideas as to why it's the case.

Tengu
2007-03-20, 05:58 AM
There's Eunuch Warlock, but that's not too desireable.

There's also Harem Guard, not too desirable for the same reason.

AtomicKitKat
2007-03-20, 06:00 AM
Male only PrCs: Eunuch Warlock, Thrall to Kostchtchie(Dragon magazine Demonomicon of Iggwilv)
Female only PrCs: Beloved of Valarian, Hathran(and Durthan) Battle Maiden(Unicorn Clan PrC from OA) Thrall of Malcanthet(also Demonomicon). Don't remember others.

Female only feats: That one in FRCS that was a requirement for Hathran, I think. It also had a Charisma requirement.

Tor the Fallen
2007-03-20, 06:03 AM
Doesn't having a uterus and mammary glands automatically relegate a woman to an economic role that produces less than a man, especially in a feudal economy?

AtomicKitKat
2007-03-20, 06:21 AM
Looking at the records page, the times in athletics(Track & Field, or basically, running), are pretty close. I do think the men have had about 50 years more R&D in the training(granted, some "secrets" may have leaked out), plus if the doping is as prevalent as some people think, the difference could simply be how each gender responds to the testosterone/testosterone-esque substances in most performance enhancing drugs.

Zincorium
2007-03-20, 06:32 AM
Looking at the records page, the times in athletics(Track & Field, or basically, running), are pretty close. I do think the men have had about 50 years more R&D in the training(granted, some "secrets" may have leaked out), plus if the doping is as prevalent as some people think, the difference could simply be how each gender responds to the testosterone/testosterone-esque substances in most performance enhancing drugs.

Agreed, and the archery and shooting results would definitely point in the direction of better training, as I would think that there is no doping around which can improve those measurably. Possibly a result of long strings of time where men were selected as hunters, and those with the best aim survived better, but it's a stretch.

Remember I said that it only points in a biological direction if the training is comparable, meaning the same techniques and effort were used. If that's not the case, one must draw different conclusions based off the same set of numbers than if it were.

Yuki Akuma
2007-03-20, 07:29 AM
Doesn't having a uterus and mammary glands automatically relegate a woman to an economic role that produces less than a man, especially in a feudal economy?

Males have mammary glands. Which can be stimulated to produce milk. Those nipples aren't just for show.

Bears With Lasers
2007-03-20, 07:37 AM
They're also for fun!

....in bed.

Saph
2007-03-20, 07:45 AM
I think that one problem with giving realistic attribute adjustments is that real life isn't balanced.

This is the big one, right here.

If D&D was realistic about modelling gender differences then over 90% of adventurers would be male. Physical differences aren't even the biggest part. The biggest part is that very, very, very few women are willing to take up careers that have a high chance of violent death. If you look at the real world (and what else are you going to use for comparison?) - say in America, since that's where most posters are from - you'll generally find that the more dangerous the job, the fewer women work at it.

And there's no real-life job that even close to as dangerous as D&D adventuring. Being a special forces soldier or a bomb disposal expert is WAY safer than the kind of stuff D&D parties regularly do.

- Saph

Cubey
2007-03-20, 08:29 AM
Male only PrCs: Eunuch Warlock, Thrall to Kostchtchie(Dragon magazine Demonomicon of Iggwilv)

Not enough, we need more! I suggest the Manly Adventurer of Manliness PrC. His job is, of course, adventuring with a group of other Manly Adventurers of Manliness. Favourite pasttime - visiting the pub, with the same group of people. Girls not allowed in the pub, 'cause they have cooties.

Class abilities include, but are not limited to: bonus to fortitude saves to avoid side effects of alcohol consumption, a STR-based intimidation skill (Alex Louis Armstrong style), Bond of Brothers supernatural ability which provides you with a morale bonus to attack/damage/will saves against fear as long as your allies are both nearby and all-male, and a bonus to skill Perform (Bowling).

Charity
2007-03-20, 08:30 AM
This is the big one, right here.
Long quote it's just up here ^^
- Saph

I think that has more to do with societies expectations than an inherant 'non recklessness' in womens mindset Saph. The modern world, (particularly the first world countries) is not a valid comparison to the high fantasy historic world of D&D, heck if you look into how many women died in childbirth in those days you'd realise women lead pretty dangerous lives themselves.
D&D is a really unrealistic mechanic, the small physical differences between the sexes are not the first thing I would attempt to address...

As it happens a physical reasons why women don't run as fast as men is that their knee's point inwards, this structual differance prevents them from running as fast as a man with the same musculature. I guess the reason for the difference in structure has something to do with childbirth, but I don't know that for fact.

Arlanthe
2007-03-20, 08:31 AM
Doesn't having a uterus and mammary glands automatically relegate a woman to an economic role that produces less than a man, especially in a feudal economy?

Well, see male mammae link posted below.

But if you live in say, California or Belgium, both men and women can get family leave with a newborn, and EITHER parent can be a primary caretaker.

I as the husband, for example, will be the primary caretaker after our child is born. We'll each take two months of leave, and I'll be the primary caretaker until such age as our child can go to day care. My wife is the primary income, wither her two masters' degrees. She can pump milk- no big deal.

This is the 21st century- not the 1950s or 1300s, when people pretended that women can do no other than care for children. This could also have been done in the 1300s but... well, I won't go there. Of course, there are still people who pretend this, but their little gendered world is crumbling, and gender inequality with it.

Saph
2007-03-20, 09:02 AM
I think that has more to do with societies expectations than an inherant 'non recklessness' in womens mindset Saph. The modern world, (particularly the first world countries) is not a valid comparison to the high fantasy historic world of D&D.

Well, there's no way to compare to the high fantasy world of D&D, because it doesn't exist. That was why I used real-world examples, because there isn't really anything else.

But I don't really buy the "society's expectations" explanation. I've seen men and women from lots of different cultures, and while I agree that culture and society and upbringing have a huge effect on people, there are inherent differences too.

- Saph

Jayabalard
2007-03-20, 09:10 AM
As it happens a physical reasons why women don't run as fast as men is that their knee's point inwards, this structual differance prevents them from running as fast as a man with the same musculature. I guess the reason for the difference in structure has something to do with childbirth, but I don't know that for fact.iirc: it is from a difference in the structure of women's hips, which are better adapted for bearing children than running after something that you're hunting (or running away from something that's hunting you).

Charity
2007-03-20, 09:36 AM
Well, there's no way to compare to the high fantasy world of D&D, because it doesn't exist. That was why I used real-world examples, because there isn't really anything else.

I would have said closer comparisons could be made, Medieval Europe for example. Some essays on the subject shouldn't be too hard to find...
http://ccwf.cc.utexas.edu/~govind/stories/medieval.html
http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/sbook1v.html#Women%27s%20Roles

"However, many misconceptions still exist about the role of the medieval woman. For example, conversations within the family of the author exposed the belief that women were confined to the bedroom and the kitchen. This opinion comes from stories about knights in shining armour rescuing damsels in distress, and the concentration on male behaviour in film and literature about the time. Another false belief discovered was that women were not warriors, and that this was one reason that Joan of Arc was executed; for stepping outside her role in this way.
On the contrary, it was often expected that women would take part in battle. The fact that Jeanne d'Arc became a mascot for the French army supports this. Had fighting women been frowned upon at the time, then surely the soldiers would not have supported and admired la Pucelle, let alone have accepted her orders in battle.
Other examples in history of fighting women are not few. Noble women such as Countess Jeanne de PenthiŤvre, Marcia Ordelaffi, Jeanne de Belleville, Lady de Ch‚tillon and Countess Jeanne de Montfort were all active in various battles during the Middle Ages. As Philippe Verdier points out, 'Such females ... fought more fiercely against their vascals than did the siege lords7 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A860366#footnote7).' This certainly seems strange considering that women were only recently admitted into the modern military, despite a rich heritage of successful combat. " from here (http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A860366) seems pertinant


But I don't really buy the "society's expectations" explanation. I've seen men and women from lots of different cultures, and while I agree that culture and society and upbringing have a huge effect on people, there are inherent differences too.

- Saph

I do not deny there are differences between how men and women approach life, it is however very difficult to say whether this stems from society or inherent differences in the thought process. I do not know enough about the subject to add any weight to either side.
We must be careful not to extend our own attitudes and mindsets to our entire sex, just because I am a bloke does not mean I have any idea how other men think.

Artanis
2007-03-20, 10:06 AM
Remember I said that it only points in a biological direction if the training is comparable, meaning the same techniques and effort were used. If that's not the case, one must draw different conclusions based off the same set of numbers than if it were.
My school, the University of Tennessee has a perfect example: basketball.

Last year, Candace Parker, one of our women's bball players, was on Sportscenter for weeks after she made a dunk because it was such a rare occurrance. Specifically, it had literally never happened in a NCAA tournament game before. However, the extreme rarity of dunking that turns a men's game "par for the course" into an epoch-changing moment for the women's game can't be chalked up to inferior training, since our women's basketball coach is the best there is for either gender. So, if there's no inferiority of training, that leaves some sort of physical difference by process of elimination.



Disclaimer: I'm not saying men are better at basketball than women, just that, Candace Parker aside, men are evidently better at dunking

Tobrian
2007-03-20, 10:23 AM
Maybe not-- there were egalitarian and even matriarchal societies in actual history.

How the society is arranged may have more to do with the average degree of risk that a member faces, because no matter how similar men and women are otherwise, the women bear the children and can't be exposed to as much risk as the men can.

As long as women still bear the risk of unwanted pregnancy, the risks and disadvantages during pregnancy and childbirth, and the cost of having to feed, coddle and raise the babies, things would probably still look the same. Unless one gender has a massive advantage, i.e. only women can cast magic, or only men can.

Of course there are a number of animal species, i.e. the ostrich and the seahorse, where the male raises and cares for the offspring, there are duck species where females chose their mates and fight among each other over the smaller males, and of course the hyena, where female are bigger and stronger, dominate the pack, have harems of males and even sport a pseudo-penis. On reason why I think gnolls should be matriarchal.

Hey, there were female bare-knuckle boxers in the seedier part of Victorian society, they'd fight other women in streetfights, using not only bare fists but also weapons like swords, knives and axes. Betting on this illegal sport was high, and it was considered exotic. On top of that, they wore no armor and only what Victorians would consider underwear. THere are accounts of these fighting women getting gravely injured and continuing to fight till the end of the round, but most of the time they used their speed to dodge blows, or parried with their weapon.

Biologically women have less upper-body strength, but better longterm endurance than men because their fat reserves are differently distributed and the metabolism accesses them differently. *shrug*

Jayabalard
2007-03-20, 10:32 AM
Disclaimer: I'm not saying men are better at basketball than women, just that, Candace Parker aside, men are evidently better at dunkingSo, am I the only one who immediatly thought of this?
Thog: Here stadium, where our women basketball teams play.
Kug: We no can dunk, but good fundamentals.
Ornik: That more fun to watch.
[Zapp, Fry and Bender laugh.]
Zapp: (laughing) Oh, God, you're killing me! [He is beaten around the head.] Ow! God, you're killing me!

The Exile
2007-03-20, 10:34 AM
My personal opinion on this whole area of debate:

Males and females tend towards certain societal roles because of certain biological and physiological factors that, evolutionarily speaking, ensured the survival of our species in the past. Those biological and physiological tendencies led to the development of a culture which reinforced those roles, again in order to ensure our survival.

Those roles are appropriate to the situation in which they arose, and in a hunter-gatherer or agricultural society, those roles are appropriate.

However, in any society such as ours, with advanced technology, or magic which can compensate for lack of technology, those cultural roles are no longer necessary and should not be enforced on individuals of either sex.

the_tick_rules
2007-03-20, 10:38 AM
or D&D didn't want to get sexism suits for making men and women different. or just didn't want to make things that technical and come up with sex variation for every race, cause men and women and do not possess idnetitical differences in every race.

Truwar
2007-03-20, 10:45 AM
Disclaimer: I'm not saying men are better at basketball than women, just that, Candace Parker aside, men are evidently better at dunking


Please do not think me some kind of sexist monster, but the simple fact of the matter is that men ARE better than women at basketball. They are also better at soccer, sprinting, cycling, weighlifting, boxing, golf, hockey, lacrosse, cricket, tennis, surfing, downhill skiing, baseball, water polo, bull riding, rugby, football, wrestling, volleyball, wakeboarding, long distance running, triathlon, judo, and rock climbing.

There are VERY real physical differences and it is not just the reproductive organs we have. It IS the hormones and that makes a HUGE difference. Men (as a whole) outshine woman athletically. If the physical differences between the sexes were as close as some people have been claiming, there would be at least ONE female soccer player on a men’s pro soccer team, there would be at least ONE female in the NBA, or NFL, or in pro Baseball or even on the men’s tennis tour. The simple fact is that there isn’t and it is not because of the inherent “sexism” in our society. Any NBA team would kill for a woman good enough to play on their team, think of what a crowd draw that would be.

Now, all this being said, I like the fact that genders are treated equally in all senses in D&D, there is no reason they should not be. I would also like to point out that I am NOT sexist. I do not believe that the ability to run fast, throw a rubber ball through a metal hoop, or bounce a leather ball of one’s head better than another person conveys any sort of superiority over someone who is not as good at said activities.

Gamebird
2007-03-20, 11:59 AM
For the vast majority of D&D species, including humans, there is no difference in abilities between males and females. Temporarily disregarding magic/dragons/falling off 10000ft. high cliffs and not dying/etc, would human society be radically different as a result of this?

Yes. It would die out almost immediately, because by RAW, D&D has no rules for conception, pregnancy or childbirth among PC races, nor do infants, children or juveniles exist in those races. All creatures of PC races are adult or older members.

Now, if you come up with the rules for reproduction and the effects it has on the child-bearing and child-rearing members, as well as the stats for young members, then we can decide how society would be different as a result.

Without those elements, it's all just a big guess.

Saph
2007-03-20, 12:06 PM
Yes. It would die out almost immediately, because by RAW, D&D has no rules for conception, pregnancy or childbirth among PC races, nor do infants, children or juveniles exist in those races. All creatures of PC races are adult or older members.

:)

Should have thought of that answer.

- Saph

Druid
2007-03-20, 02:54 PM
Women are tougher...They can take pain better than men. An example? Let's make all men have to give birth to children...A man's response to that would be 'Fine, no more children'

I get so tired of hearing this. People act like there's some third, less painful option other than child birth and not having kids that women avoid just to prove how bad ass they are. I don't believe for a second that the human race would come to a sudden end if they males all of a sudden were the ones giving birth. There are more painful (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cluster_headache) things that can happen to a person then child birth and the men that go through them don't die, melt, explode, or whatever the hell it is people seem to think would happen to a man who went through the pain of giving birth.

Now that that’s out of my system, I think that stat modifiers by gender are a horrible idea. For one thing I hate the idea of min maxing by gender, but more so because I don’t see either gender as being incapable of matching the other in ability.

Toastkart
2007-03-20, 04:25 PM
the biological differences between men and women are marginal at best. We tend to forget that we're socialized to be one gender from birth, sometimes even before birth. Girls and boys tend to be raised in different ways and there's double standards for behavior and what is and what isn't acceptable. It doesn't help that the media expounds on the differences, misinterprets research for sensationalism rather than accuracy, and sometimes outright denies similarities whether there's evidence or not.

Furthermore, studies have shown that the variance between men and women is small in comparison to the variance among women, or among men. Therefore, society plays a greater role in these differences moreso than any biological or even evolutionary influences.

Turcano
2007-03-20, 04:37 PM
If you want to reference the animal kingdom, note how little sexual dimorphism humans exhibit compared to other animals who have really specialized for the sexes' different roles.
Tangentially, one of the more striking examples of sexual dimorphism on terms of coloration is the eclectus:

http://www.eclectusparrot.com/crosb150.jpg
Eclectus roratus, female (left) and male (right)
The people who discovered them initially thought they were separate species.


On reason why I think gnolls should be matriarchal.

I thought they already were.


Yes. It would die out almost immediately, because by RAW, D&D has no rules for conception, pregnancy or childbirth among PC races, nor do infants, children or juveniles exist in those races. All creatures of PC races are adult or older members.

I'm pretty sure this wins the thread.

And why are people bringing up ability modifiers for gender? The absurdity of that notwithstanding, it's not the point of this discussion.

Tellah
2007-03-20, 05:29 PM
This isn't backed up by truly hard, scientific evidence, but it's a pet theory of mine: males do the dangerous work because we are expendable. Emotional attachments and economic concerns aside, a single male can fertilize an awful lot of eggs. A few successful males could quite easily out-compete all other males for mating rights to all the best females, leaving an awful lot of frustrated, angry young men who are well-suited to use in dangerous professions. I think, although I'm truly only speculating, that competition over females is at the root of male aggression, and led to men being more frequently psychopathic. It was probably also good for weeding out the weaker of our species, as heartless as it is to say. Thus, I conclude that males would become adventurers more frequently than women in a society that closely mirrors Medieval Europe, simply because they aren't getting laid often enough.

Now, backtracking along that logic to the OP's question, what does this imply about a society that is largely egalitarian on gender roles, as the default D&D setting certainly seems to be? Perhaps, for whatever reason, the races in D&D don't suffer the same "male surplus" that we great apes do. Perhaps they have extraordinarily short gestation periods, which would mean a greater number of available females for mating at any given time. Maybe males simply have no urge to mate with more than one female.

Maybe D&D people have solved the problem in the same way bonobos and a large number of human societies have: male bisexuality. By encouraging men to vent their sexual frustration at the relative scarcity of females through homosexual activity, society stabilizes itself and nullifies the threat from crazy-eyed, under-sexed males. This certainly makes me reconsider the testosterone-soaked manliness we tend to expect from D&D.

asqwasqw
2007-03-20, 05:50 PM
the biological differences between men and women are marginal at best. We tend to forget that we're socialized to be one gender from birth, sometimes even before birth. Girls and boys tend to be raised in different ways and there's double standards for behavior and what is and what isn't acceptable. It doesn't help that the media expounds on the differences, misinterprets research for sensationalism rather than accuracy, and sometimes outright denies similarities whether there's evidence or not.

Furthermore, studies have shown that the variance between men and women is small in comparison to the variance among women, or among men. Therefore, society plays a greater role in these differences moreso than any biological or even evolutionary influences.

I believe this is not true. Men and women have many biological differences. Although there are some exceptions, there aren't many, and women were designed for childbirth, not adventuring. In addition, men are more expendable, and so enter the more dangerous tasks. Remember, 700 years ago people did not get milk and food from the grocery, but from a mother's breast and from farming. Everything was a lot more labor intensive, and the way men and women were organized was to maximize efficiency. I am questioning how magic would come to play here (let's just summon food) but I believe that the social stereotypes we have now developed from the past which maximized efficiency.

NecroPaladin
2007-03-20, 06:40 PM
If women and men were equal in every way, then I'd have to deal with TWO genders telling me, "I'm so faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaattt......I'm not faaaaaaaaaat, am I? No, you're lying, I'm faaaaaaaaaaaaaattt....", So I'd say that they could lose 3 pounds, at most, and then they'd hate me with a passion for life.

AND I'd have to deal with TWO genders snarkily capping that damnable "that's what she said," after every sentence, despite the fact that what I said was completely irrellevant. Ie: "British expansion was largely based on the use of colonies, rather than the actual act of moving one's borders." Yes, some douchebag actually said "that's what she said," to that. And every male in a 15-foot radius laughed for some reason.

So in other words, thank God men and women aren't exactly the same. I would probably kill myself.

Bears With Lasers
2007-03-20, 06:41 PM
Yes, because all men and all women act exactly the same. It's the hive mind.

Oh, wait.

Dhavaer
2007-03-20, 06:42 PM
If women and men were equal in every way, then I'd have to deal with TWO genders telling me, "I'm so faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaattt......I'm not faaaaaaaaaat, am I? No, you're lying, I'm faaaaaaaaaaaaaattt....", So I'd say that they could lose 3 pounds, at most, and then they'd hate me with a passion for life.

AND I'd have to deal with TWO genders snarkily capping that damnable "that's what she said," after every sentence, despite the fact that what I said was completely irrellevant. Ie: "British expansion was largely based on the use of colonies, rather than the actual act of moving one's borders." Yes, some douchebag actually said "that's what she said," to that. And every male in a 15-foot radius laughed for some reason.

So in other words, thank God men and women aren't exactly the same. I would probably kill myself.

You could very well have neither gender doing that, instead.

NecroPaladin
2007-03-20, 06:47 PM
Yeah, but life would be creepy without gender annoyances. Everyone would probably have the same hairdo, dress in grey uniforms and call me "comrade." And I wouldn't be "him" or "her," or "he," or "she," I'd just be "it." And restroom doors wouldn't have a little man or a woman. There'd just be a big sinister smiley face where the entire blue circle around the person used to be.


Yes, because all men and all women act exactly the same. It's the hive mind.

Oh, wait.

And the hormones that determine body differences are generally the same that tinker with behavior. So if we were to make men and women physically the same, then neither Estrogen nor Testosterone (and countless other hormones) would exist, resulting in one, all-encompassing gender seperated only by which reproductive organ you possess. Because if we didn't do that naturally, some whacko would force us to.

Bears With Lasers
2007-03-20, 07:04 PM
And the hormones that determine body differences are generally the same that tinker with behavior. So if we were to make men and women physically the same, then neither Estrogen nor Testosterone (and countless other hormones) would exist, resulting in one, all-encompassing gender seperated only by which reproductive organ you possess.
Funny how none of that means that all men or all women think and act the same. The two examples you gave have everything to do with social influence and nothing to do with hormones.

Do hormonal differences determine overall trends in the genders? Sure, a little. Not nearly as much as culture does.
Do they determine individual behaviors? No.

NecroPaladin
2007-03-20, 07:08 PM
Maybe I just think people are sheep. Sheep who apparently don't recognize humor or sarcasm, although this probably wasn't the right place for me to put either of those.

Oh, and this drawn from the above, because it was originally an edit but my post got waaaay too long:


As it happens a physical reasons why women don't run as fast as men is that their knee's point inwards, this structual differance prevents them from running as fast as a man with the same musculature. I guess the reason for the difference in structure has something to do with childbirth, but I don't know that for fact.

iirc: it is from a difference in the structure of women's hips, which are better adapted for bearing children than running after something that you're hunting (or running away from something that's hunting you).

Okay, I'm over editing here, but I'm an animation student - among other things we learned, it's that when you look at a frame-by-frame analysis, women and men do not even walk or run in the same type of movement. A woman's hips are structured so that there is a slight curve- her legs as she runs actually move just a bit outward and then pull back toward her center of balance as she steps- whereas a man's legs are set in a simple step-pull-step-pull motion, directly forward and back. Taken at the most literally, a man walks with his feet and knees while a woman walks with her hips and waist. Neither walks with just their legs.

Note that there are no differences when it comes to either gender being a better runner solely from being said gender, but it does mean that men and women are disadvantaged, even slightly, by obstacles that might be more easily passed by the other gender. It's amusing that the point of the lecture when I initially learned this was just to make male and female cartoon characters more realistic, comfortable, subtle, or obvious to the intended audience.


...I just defeated my argument about hormones being the only thing that seperates us, didn't I?

Iron_Mouse
2007-03-20, 07:15 PM
I experienced both testosterone and estrogen as the major hormone in my bloodstream, and I can say, it's not such a big deal, actually.
There are slight differences, like that estrogen makes you calmer or something...but it doesn't change your personality or whatever people seem to believe :smallconfused:

Bears With Lasers
2007-03-20, 07:17 PM
People just like lumping other people into homogenous groups. Especially people who are different from them.

Then they wind up asking idiotic questions like "do girls like [X]?" You know. Because the estrogen in their bloodstreams makes them all like the same things.

kamikasei
2007-03-20, 07:20 PM
People just like lumping other people into homogenous groups. Especially people who are different from them.

Yeah. All those other people, the ones who do that, they all uniformly suck. And they dress funny, too.

NecroPaladin
2007-03-20, 07:20 PM
I like the homogenous groups. They make me feel very, very smart and all "I told you so" when they do something stupid. But we switch roles often in that respect.

And again, humor.

And (slightly more serious now) I'm not just talking testosterone and estrogen here. To make men and women physically the same in every aspect, you would have to go even so far as to alter brain chemistry. It's just not possible with solely the muscles of the body to work with.

Quite seriously, the only argument I made that wasn't intended with a spot of mirth was my comment on how men and women walked. And I think that needs to be taken into account here, capische? I don't actually believe that ALL men make those jokes (I don't) and ALL women think they're fat (the majority of women I know don't). I was playing off of the stereotypes (homogenous groups) of either gender to put a small smile in an increasingly more coldly serious thread.

Oh, and did I ask "Do girls like X?" No. So don't think I've stooped to that level. I stereotype people, not genders, so please don't try to make me out for a sexist when I'm really just a general hater. Sexism happens to be one of the traits that I find myself most uncomfortable to confront in others, so I get a bit touchy when I am implied as one. I think that making gender jokes hardly qualifies me as a sexist.

Tengu
2007-03-20, 07:22 PM
I experienced both testosterone and estrogen as the major hormone in my bloodstream, and I can say, it's not such a big deal, actually.
Um. Does that mean what I think it means?

Annarrkkii
2007-03-20, 07:32 PM
It's a fact of biology that men are inherently stronger than women. Not to start a row. I know plenty of women who could kick my ass in circles, even with a few wrestling seasons under my belt. Even an art class or two will tell you this much: men are built to be widest at the shoulders, lending to a more powerful frame, while women are built to be widest from the hips, lending to childbirth. Such is the result of becoming bipedal. If we'd stayed on all fours, women could have gotten by with the same pelvises as men and we'd all be fine.

Men are also larger. Seriously. Look at any statistic you want. Even among pygmy tribes or midg—"small people." Males are generally universally thicker and almost universally taller. On average. Size is a huge asset in a fight. Believe me. Even a matter of two inches and 20 pounds is enough to make a serious difference in the larger dude's favor, even if the smaller is somewhat more talented. If the smaller is much better of a fighter, things change, but by default, size is an advantage.

In addition, I'm reasonably sure that women's various other biological roles, notably childbirth and childbearing, require a significant portion of nutrients and proteins, further inhibiting muscular development. Women also have an additional 9% bodyfat, on average, over men.

Given a society in which men and women are equally powerful, I think one of two things would happen:

1) Less likely, women and men would be largely identical in their societal roles, and life would function normally but with different occupational statistics and different, though not necessarily fewer, stereotypes. Division between genders is going to remain, however, unless the society consists entirely of bisexuals, or an even number of homosexuals and heterosexuals, which is biologically completely a spectacularly inefficient means of perpetuating the species. The fact that we have to reproduce with each other, and are sapient to a degree that allows us to think about that, and the nigh-inevitable cultural conclusion of a degree of secrecy and mysticism surrounding sex, means there are going to be effects on men and women. The inherit nature of female-male relationships would change, and, with women more likely to join the army or play sports, the stereotypical difference of interests would largely evaporate. But the hormonal interplay is going to result in some degree of social division, at least in who you hang out with, when, and where.

2) Society would be significantly matriarchal. With women given as intellectual and physical equals in all respects, they'd gain societal, economic, and even political leverage through there role as the vessels for the next generation. Males cannot survive without the females. Likewise, the males cannot survive without the females. The same holds true, but, biologically and theoretically (though I don't mean to be crude), in a natural environment, and assuming males as the physically larger and stronger, on average, of the genders, women depend on the males for food, survival, and protection, in a significant degree. AS such, they have less of a choice in reproduction. With equal capabilities, all of the male's historical advantages are removed, leveling the playing field, and women's asset of being child producers would be significant enough to raise their status, being superior in that respect to males. To what degree things would change, and exactly how much influence women would possess depends a great deal, and also is affected by individual cultures. Just look at some different cultures. We all have biologically similar women on Earth, but they have staggeringly different roles across the world.

So I'm no psychologist or biologist. But that's how I see it.

NecroPaladin
2007-03-20, 07:38 PM
2) Society would be significantly matriarchal. With women given as intellectual and physical equals in all respects, they'd gain societal, economic, and even political leverage through there role as the vessels for the next generation. Males cannot survive without the females. Likewise, the males cannot survive without the females. The same holds true, but, biologically and theoretically (though I don't mean to be crude), in a natural environment, and assuming males as the physically larger and stronger, on average, of the genders, women depend on the males for food, survival, and protection, in a significant degree. AS such, they have less of a choice in reproduction. With equal capabilities, all of the male's historical advantages are removed, leveling the playing field, and women's asset of child producers would raise their status.

So I'm no psychologist or biologist. But that's how I see it.

Actually, early human society was matriarchal until the connection between breeding and childbirth was fully understood from observing what would later be called "herd" animals. (It is speculated that it was believed at the time that breeding didn't do anything and women spontaneously gave birth after reaching a certain age) It was around this time that the concept of "mine" started, at least pertaining to mates. (Ie: "My" wife.)

Annarrkkii
2007-03-20, 07:45 PM
Seriously? I stand corrected and intrigued. That seems almost illogical... though I operate on the assumption that physical superiority would lead to dominance in such a simplified environment. Really makes you wonder, though, doesn't it? What exactly would bring the tribe to the conclusion that they should serve a physically smaller and, probably, physically inferior female... But I nonetheless stand by that second option's conclusion, that society would be largely matriarchal.

Iron_Mouse
2007-03-20, 07:48 PM
Um. Does that mean what I think it means?
Depends. Beeing TS doesn't give you the ability to read minds, you know. :smallsmile:

Bears With Lasers
2007-03-20, 07:52 PM
You mean that whole "women can read minds" thing is a myth? Well, damn. I'm gonna go cancel my surgery.

NecroPaladin
2007-03-20, 07:52 PM
Seriously? I stand corrected and intrigued. That seems almost illogical... though I operate on the assumption that physical superiority would lead to dominance in such a simplified environment. Really makes you wonder, though, doesn't it? What exactly would bring the tribe to the conclusion that they should serve a physically smaller and, probably, physically inferior female... But I nonetheless stand by that second option's conclusion, that society would be largely matriarchal.

Consider the image of the "Mother Goddess," the simple, rounded clay figurine of an almost ball-like woman that has been found from Alaska to Asia. Sure, a man could fight better (although that shouldn't be taken as a fact because we don't know that for sure), but childbirth was strange, magical and unknown to men (and likely women too). Thus why the fundamental image of a witch or otherwise spiritual and mysterious figure was so often female in tribal cultures.

Annarrkkii
2007-03-20, 07:56 PM
Makes sense, I suppose. I'm stuck with the image of lions and the like, where the male dominates. But, come to think of it, I can't think of many other species like that. Wolves, maybe.

And elephants are matriarchal, aren't they. I suppose Childbirth has lost a lot of its psychological sway as science has developed.

Tengu
2007-03-20, 08:02 PM
Depends. Beeing TS doesn't give you the ability to read minds, you know. :smallsmile:
No? But that was one of the staples of my view of the world! (and as I'm writing the post I see I'm being simu-ninjaed by BWL)

Okay, your reply answers my question.

Now to actually add something to the topic... I don't think if it's a good idea to give the genders different stat boni - look at races for example. Halflings are tiny and skinny, half-orcs look like Hulk, but the difference between an average member of any of those race and an average human is 2 strength. Much less than a difference between a woman and a man (it's a general consensus between the people who prefer the stats of sexes to be different that men should have higher strength, for obvious reasons). What to do with those stats then? Make the stat difference 1 point? The difference is not even that big, and odd stat boni encourage the bad kind of powergaming, and generally should be avoided.

Okay, this is really becoming incoherent. I need to go sleep, I think. Especially after seeing that there was not one, but 3 ninja posts in the meantime.

Rabiesbunny
2007-03-20, 08:04 PM
Oh, both the Loviatan PrCs are female only, and I think the Sharessan ones are too

Wehrkind
2007-03-20, 08:05 PM
Do you even know what the word evidence means? A single, personal example proves absolutely nothing. Evidence would be you giving me ten thousand examples. This is just a story, it doesn't prove anything.
Yes, I do, well enough that I didn't even call this anecdotal evidence and try to put it over as such. Rather I state it as my experience and observation, the reason that I do not easily accept that women are naturally as strong as men physically, on average. To restate, I don't think women are on average as strong as men because I don't know of any women who are on average stronger than an average group of men. I also note that women do not compete against men in sports.

So please refrain from questioning my conceptual grasp of words until I use those words, and do so incorrectly. Thanks. (Try not to be so pointed next time either. Geesh)

Sardia
2007-03-20, 08:16 PM
Consider the image of the "Mother Goddess," the simple, rounded clay figurine of an almost ball-like woman that has been found from Alaska to Asia. Sure, a man could fight better (although that shouldn't be taken as a fact because we don't know that for sure), but childbirth was strange, magical and unknown to men (and likely women too). Thus why the fundamental image of a witch or otherwise spiritual and mysterious figure was so often female in tribal cultures.

Well, the alternative explanation for that involves noting that many modern men keep images of exaggerated women around with them frequently...but the reasons have nothing to do with a mysterious mother goddess.

kamikasei
2007-03-20, 08:22 PM
Actually, early human society was matriarchal until the connection between breeding and childbirth was fully understood from observing what would later be called "herd" animals. (It is speculated that it was believed at the time that breeding didn't do anything and women spontaneously gave birth after reaching a certain age) It was around this time that the concept of "mine" started, at least pertaining to mates. (Ie: "My" wife.)

Do you have an actual reference for this? I don't believe I've ever heard that claim made as a confirmed fact. Given the structure of ape societies it strikes me as unlikely.

Wehrkind
2007-03-20, 08:29 PM
One thing I just remembered is a book called "Iron Rose" by a lady knight in the SCA about training women for fighting, and the differences inherent in making that work.
Particulary hip movement is very different from men (as mentioned early) and the motion that works for a man is quite uncomfortable for a woman, and the way the female fist forms is different, the knuckles/fingers forming at an angle to the wrist instead of perpenticular, changing how the weapon is held and swung in a strong position.

One other interesting bit was the difference in how testosterone and estrogen deal with stress. (I am a little fuzzy on the details 2 years after reading, but I will do my best.) She had two graphs showing... something's levels that were supposed to be how angry/violent someone was. Men (more testosterone) went from 0 to fighting pretty fast, but then trailed off just as fast. Women (more estrogen) were a more gradual curve, taking a while to get worked up to fighting, but coming down off of the "high" activity end slower too. I don't know how accurate that is, not having bothered to look up her source, but the example of the meaning of it rung true to me.
She explained it as what you see when guy's fight, as in actually wanting to hurt each other. They get angry, shout, push and then hit each other a bit, but after it is over, they calm down pretty fast, and are as likely as not fine again, and ready to make up and have a drink together. Women on the other hand, they don't seem like they are getting particularly upset until pow, one throws a punch out of nowhere. Then even after it is all over they simmer and hate for a while before making up is even an option.

Now, I don't want Falkus thinking this is the definitive end all be all of examples or evidence. It is just something interesting I read in a book which happens to correspond pretty well to what I have seen in real life. Men seem inclined towards sudden, more extreme conflict that is just as quickly over, where as women are more "catty", that is inclined towards constant, low level conflict with only occaisional violence, but which never really resolves quickly.
I know my wife can certainly hold a grudge. She won't talk to our cat because she was sleeping on her dry clean only sweaters on the dresser this morning. Might just be a personality quirk though that she hold grudges and I don't, who knows.

Annarrkkii
2007-03-20, 08:32 PM
I'm willing to take it as given, since evidence can be hard to convey over the internet, and my information was purely assumption and guesswork.

Anyway, who was it who was arguing that men are not, genetically, stronger than women? This one I am sure of. It's genetic fact that men are stronger, by default, than women. That's not to say a woman can surpass men, but that's on a case by case basis. On average, men are simply more broadly and sturdily built.

Iron_Mouse
2007-03-20, 09:13 PM
No? But that was one of the staples of my view of the world! (and as I'm writing the post I see I'm being simu-ninjaed by BWL)

Well, it has limited range only, and you live in Poland, so...

But going through this gives you some cool abilities, indeed. Like seeing the (real or imagined) differences between the genders a *lot* clearer than anyone else. So, you can secretly laugh at people who desperately try to discuss about this topic in internet foru...oh crap.

I should go now. :smalleek:

Nowhere Girl
2007-03-20, 09:21 PM
Halflings are tiny and skinny, half-orcs look like Hulk, but the difference between an average member of any of those race and an average human is 2 strength.

This is a good point, and I certainly don't think trying to make rules around gender differences is a good idea in any case. It's not just because some people would be offended (some people will be offended by anything, but I try not to let myself be bothered by simple reality), and it's not even just that the way the rules are already written, the difference in strength between a race that averages around 20-40 pounds and a race that averages well over 100 pounds is just two points ...

Beyond both of those, it's that gender differences don't begin and end with just strength anyway. Now we have to account for women having generally superior multitasking capabilities (I'm not sure how you'd do that), men having generally superior distance vision and depth perception, women having generally superior peripheral perception ... and I don't even know what we're going to do about disputed points like whether men or women happen to be better, on average, at tolerating pain. How do you even measure that anyway?

And what about the effects on social skills? Would women get bonuses to Diplomacy and Bluff because we're generally more inclined toward communication? What about Sense Motive? Women are generally superior when it comes to nonverbal communication, so perhaps we're entitled to a bonus to that skill as well.

Men tend generally to have broader, heavier shoulders and therefore a higher center of balance, so does that translate into a penalty for them to the Balance skill? Or a bonus for women?

It just goes on and on, and it would be so ridiculous to try to cover it all once you got this can of worms open. That said, I personally have no problem with being realistic about it: in the real world, men are generally just stronger. Hello, it's just the way it works! As if physical strength were the sole measure of a person's worth or capabilities anyway ...

Bears With Lasers
2007-03-20, 09:25 PM
That's a lot of talk for someone who should be in the kitchen making dinner. ;)

Rabiesbunny
2007-03-20, 09:33 PM
Wehrkind, that book sounds pretty fascinating! I'm going to have to look into it.

Personally, I think the best way to deal with the differences between sexes seems to be just roleplay -- anything else is too complicated. Want to go for realism? Just read into the person you're playing. Don't be afraid to assign their stats the way you think someone like that should be played. Play your female as a regular female if you want, or as an anomaly with 26 strength naturally.

Let's not even CONSIDER how female adventurers deal with their periods...! Don't get too hooked up on the game mechanics, roleplay fixes lots of things. :D

kamikasei
2007-03-20, 09:48 PM
... and I don't even know what we're going to do about disputed points like whether men or women happen to be better, on average, at tolerating pain. How do you even measure that anyway?

Get a statistically significant sample of both men and women. Hurt them some. Take notes.

Isn't that obvious? :smallamused:

asqwasqw
2007-03-20, 09:53 PM
Get a statistically significant sample of both men and women. Hurt them some. Take notes.

Isn't that obvious? :smallamused:

Different people have different abilities to withstand pain. Unless you measure 1000+ people per sample, it won't really be accurate. And reaction to pain is wildly different. I think they measure nerve points or something... dunno :smallbiggrin:

Dhavaer
2007-03-20, 09:57 PM
I seem to recall reading that men tolerate blunt force better and women tolerate cutting force better, but I have no idea where that was from.

Krellen
2007-03-20, 09:57 PM
... and I don't even know what we're going to do about disputed points like whether men or women happen to be better, on average, at tolerating pain. How do you even measure that anyway?
Don't have a source (sorry!), but what I remember hearing wasn't that women were better than men at tolerating pain, but men and women differed in the types of pains they could endure. Men were better at tolerating trauma pains - stabs, cuts, bruises - while women were better at tolerating stress pains - stretches, pulls, sprains. But, like I said, I don't have a source for that.

NecroPaladin
2007-03-20, 10:20 PM
Do you have an actual reference for this? I don't believe I've ever heard that claim made as a confirmed fact. Given the structure of ape societies it strikes me as unlikely.

It's not so much a confirmed fact as a widely accepted theory. Like most "history," there's always the exceptions. I'll look through where I remember it from; I originally saw it in one of Larry Gonick's (he's a multi-job cartoonist/historian, but don't think that means he's a pushover on the facts) books, and his bibliographies are pretty much overflowing. I'll try to find a direct reference, but until then I should be writing an english essay anyway.

EDIT: And if the society thing is about the "herd" animal comment, they weren't herd animals at the time, they just stayed close enough to be observed by humans. Sorry for not clarifying.


Well, the alternative explanation for that involves noting that many modern men keep images of exaggerated women around with them frequently...but the reasons have nothing to do with a mysterious mother goddess.

That would be likely if it weren't for the Inuits and other long-lasting cultures that use(d) it recently or currently as a good-luck charm for safe childbirth.

Falkus
2007-03-20, 10:32 PM
Yes, I do, well enough that I didn't even call this anecdotal evidence and try to put it over as such. Rather I state it as my experience and observation, the reason that I do not easily accept that women are naturally as strong as men physically, on average. To restate, I don't think women are on average as strong as men because I don't know of any women who are on average stronger than an average group of men. I also note that women do not compete against men in sports.

So please refrain from questioning my conceptual grasp of words until I use those words, and do so incorrectly. Thanks. (Try not to be so pointed next time either. Geesh)

I've had a bad week, sorry.

My personal experience has been almost the exact opposite. Most of the women I know involved in athletic type activities (mainly my karate lessons) have been stronger and tougher than the men.

WhiteHarness
2007-03-20, 11:05 PM
I've seen references to the idea that matriarchal human societies once existed several times in this thread. This is not so.

I'm familiar with the "mother goddess" notion, and it has long since been refuted. The idea that women ruled until the connection was made between intercourse and childbirth is a modern delusion, and unfair to our ancestors; I'll bet they understood it perfectly well. There's no evidence that they didn't understand it.

http://rick-ross.org/reference/wicca/wicca31.html
http://www.debunker.com/texts/PGDavis2.html
http://www.debunker.com/patriarchy.html#goddess

It turns out that many those supposed "goddess" figurines are often of indeterminate gender and labelled "goddesses" because a certain branch of the feminist movement was quicke to label them so. Modern scholarship tends to interpret them as fertility charms and not goddesses at all.

As we were taught in my university anthropology class, matriarchal human societies do not, and have never, existed. Matrilineal, yes; matrilocal, yes--but never truly matriarchal. But neither matrilineality nor matrilocality infer that women's status was necessarily higher than men's in a given society--after all, Jewish society is matrilineal, but very definitely patriarchal.

Regarding women's physical inferiority to men, see here:

http://www.fredoneverything.net/MilMed.shtml

Ignore the editorializing, but note the hard data provided by the Army. It's a cold, hard fact, but it's true: women aren't as strong, enduring, or resilient as men, and even with rigorous training can't be made to be as strong, enduring, or resilient as men except in very rare cases. Eons of men doing the fighting in human society have resulted in men being most fit to do the fighting.

Setting aside the empirical data and stepping into the realm of personal anecdotal experience for a moment, I will state that I've never yet seen a woman excel at SCA combat in my 18 years with the organization. I've seen some get quite good at it, but never, ever as good as the men around them--none of the female SCA fighters I've ever seen have been able to consistently beat their male practice partners. Sure, certain kingdoms have had female queens, but those instances are so rare as to be counted on one hand.

Also, I remember when I was trying out for the police academy, there were six female aspirants (out of 45 total) at the obstacle course. None of them made it through the obstacle course. Most of them couldn't even make it over the six-foot wall. All but one of the males made it all the way through.

Let us also not forget the example of those women who screeched publicly until VMI and the Citadel, once all-male military colleges, let them in. IIRC, most failed out miserably.

Bears With Lasers
2007-03-20, 11:09 PM
Women aren't as strong, enduring, or resilient as men--on average, and at the extreme. It's important to note that this leaves plenty of room for many women to be stronger than many men.

MandoFTR
2007-03-20, 11:10 PM
Even if they did put a stat difference, I imagine WotC would be torched in a night by the easily offended.

Assuming you could prove a damn thing.

WhiteHarness
2007-03-20, 11:24 PM
Women aren't as strong, enduring, or resilient as men--on average, and at the extreme. It's important to note that this leaves plenty of room for many women to be stronger than many men.

Naturally. PCs are supposed to be exceptional individuals after all...

Nowhere Girl
2007-03-21, 12:10 AM
That's a lot of talk for someone who should be in the kitchen making dinner. ;)

I'm going to kill you pretty soon, I think. :smalltongue:

Bears With Lasers
2007-03-21, 12:11 AM
I'm going to kill you pretty soon, I think. :smalltongue:

Whatever you say, darlin'. Now go wait in the bedroom; this here's men's talk, not something to worry your pretty little head about.

The_Werebear
2007-03-21, 12:43 AM
One thing that compensates for the average greater strength of men versus women: You generally aren't allowed to solve your problems by hitting them with a big piece of sharp metal anymore.

From my sheerly anecdotal evidence (High school weight training) men can lift more and exert more power in exercises like that. Thing is, physical prowess is going down on the list of important qualities to have, at least in many areas of the world.

Solo
2007-03-21, 12:54 AM
So, thus far, we have concluded that men get a Strength bonus, while women get bonuses to Dexterity, Constitution, and Charisma?

Damn, my racial abilities are below par.


One thing that compensates for the average greater strength of men versus women: You generally aren't allowed to solve your problems by hitting them with a big piece of sharp metal anymore.
That and, for those problems which we do need to use physical violence on, we can now shoot with guns.

Viscount Einstrauss
2007-03-21, 12:59 AM
Wouldn't it make more sense to define gender roles by bonuses against the opposing gender? It's really the only meritable difference.

Well, that and women make excellent sandwiches and have no need for feet, what with how they shouldn't be leaving the kitchen except when they're done making the sandwich and need to crawl to deliver it so they don't interupt the teevee.

*duck and cover*

WhiteHarness
2007-03-21, 01:00 AM
So, thus far, we have concluded that men get a Strength bonus, while women get bonuses to Dexterity, Constitution, and Charisma?


No.

I can't comment on Dexterity, but going by the data in the Army's analysis I posted above, men probably have, on average and at the extreme, better Strength and Constitution than women. Pain tolerance does not equal Constitution; the ability to march for hours on end while lugging around heavy equipment, however, does.

Charisma is highly subjective.

Solo
2007-03-21, 01:01 AM
Women make excellent sandwiches
... that sounds so bad taken out of context...



I can't comment on Dexterity, but going by the data in the Army's analysis I posted above, men probably have, on average and at the extreme, better Strength and Constitution than women. Pain tolerance does not equal Constitution; the ability to march for hours on end while lugging around heavy equipment, however, does.

Charisma is highly subjective.

Oh.... so I guess its a bit more balanced.

Viscount Einstrauss
2007-03-21, 01:02 AM
I fail to see where this doesn't prove my point further by applying to different contexts.

Turcano
2007-03-21, 02:08 AM
Now that I have my old anthropology book in front of me, I can reproduce a table therein, which gives a breakdown of division-of-labor patterns among most cultures:

{table=head]Type of Activity|Males Almost Always|Males Usually|Either Gender or Both|Females Usually|Females Almost Always

Primary subsistence activities|Hunt and trap animals, large and small|Fish, Herd large animals, Collect wild honey, Clear land and prepare soil for planting|Collect shellfish, Care for small animals, Plant crops, Tend crops, Harvest crops, Milk animals|Gather wild plants|
Secondary subsistence activities||Butcher animals|Preserve meat and fish|Care for children, Cook, Prepare (vegetable food, drinks, dairy products), Launder, Fetch water, Collect fuel|Care for infants
Other|Lumber, Mine and quarry, Make (boats, musical instruments, bone/horn/shell objects), Engage in combat|Build houses, Make (nets, rope), Exercise political leadership|Prepare skins, Make (leather products, baskets, mats, clothing, pottery)|Spin yarn|[/table]
This should give you at least a starting point for determining this aspect of gender roles.

AtomicKitKat
2007-03-21, 04:46 AM
Now that I have my old anthropology book in front of me, I can reproduce a table therein, which gives a breakdown of division-of-labor patterns among most cultures:
*snip*

Agrees with my experience most of the way, although I have to dispute the "slaughter" part. Are we talking all animals, or just herd animals? My grandmother's generation was pretty good at slitting chicken throats, and probably even pigs.

Dervag
2007-03-21, 06:21 AM
Many socieities, i.e. China, India sex-select for males. In fact, there is a huge problem in the world's largest country with this right now, and there are measures being taken to keep the smaller number of girls from being adopted out so rapidly. I wonder how sex-selection and gender offspring preference affects the issue?Well, it goes like this:

When you get down to grimmest necessity, a large community can lose most of its adult male population and bounce back within a few generations; the same cannot be said of its adult female population. Therefore, evolution tends to promote groups in which men feel motivated to go out and do any necessary dangerous tasks. Groups in which women feel motivated to do that tend to die out due to an insufficient breeding female population.

So, for a species that has evolved (which is an important specification in a D&D universe) it makes a lot of sense for the males to be the ones who instinctively go out and pick fights with dangerous predators or rival groups. Even if females are just as aggressive, evolution will reward groups whose females who stay away from danger over groups whose females who do not stay near home.

This tends to channelize female aggression into 'mother defending her cubs' or 'dominant female chasing off other female' patterns, rather than 'mother going out and stabbing a buffalo for dinner'.

Patriarchy and gender discrimination come from this when the species practicing male risk-taking gets intelligent enough to invent culture and surpluses.

Cultures tend to glorify risk-takers over non-risk-takers, not least because that's the only way to reliably convince intelligent beings to take risks. Cultures that do not glorify risk-takers rapidly run out of risk-takers and tend to get stomped on or outcompeted.

The existence of surplus resources tends to reward and empower risk-takers. It lets them grab an enemy's surplus goods and bring them home, enriching the group more than they could without a surplus. And it lets them spend more time away from the base camp, making them more independent of the non-risk-takers back home.

So if males are risk-takers and females are non-risk-takers (which is the division rewarded by evolution, remember), males will be rewarded and empowered by the existence of surplus resources and glorified by the existence of culture. Women, on the other hand, will not be so rewarded, empowered, or glorified. The result is predictable: men end up having all the rewards, power, and glory, while women get the short end of the digging stick and end up performing unrewarding and inglorious tasks that leave them with little power.

The solution to the problem is technology. By reducing the infant mortality rate and the death-in-childbirth rate, technology allows a society to breed at replacement rate or even higher without keeping all the fertile females locked up and pregnant all the time. This allows women to accumulate rewards and power of their own. Glory is trickier, of course. But once rewards and power start accumulating in a group's hands, glory usually follows.

In a D&D setting, magic can take the place of technology. Healing magic, even if limited to orisons and low-level spells, can virtually eliminate death in childbirth (usually the result of uncontrolled bleeding and infected injuries) and dramatically reduce the infant mortality rate (more often caused by diseases, which are harder for D&D magic to cure).

So in theory, D&D magic should make women's liberation possible, because:
a) It lets a society breed at replacement rate without keeping the women cloistered and pregnant all the time, and
b) It gives women access to a form of socially respectable power (magic) that doesn't penalize them for being biologically different from men.


Women are tougher...They can take pain better than men. An example? Let's make all men have to give birth to children...A man's response to that would be 'Fine, no more children'Hard to say. Remember that men tend to take painful or difficult male activities and glorify them (see the Iliad for reference). The same thing might happen to childbirth.


One would apply that if your not female there's a job you can never do despite the fact that Hathran is merely a cultural role while the other implies that even though all Incantrixes as an organisation are female there isn't any reason why a male couldn't learn the same skills. DnD doesn't present a unified enough front.Well, it's entirely possible that D&D magic actually cares how many X chromosomes you have. In that case, there might be magic (or ways of using magic) literally inaccessible to men or to women.


Ah...hmm, perhaps we should say males get a -1 to wisdom instead?If we go down that road, we need to make the bonuses and penalties cancel out so that neither gender is intrinsically preferable to the other. Moreover, you want to keep in mind that, by the standard D&D balancing, a +1 to a mental stat is only worth half as much as a +1 to a physical stat.


It's called a gallstone. Pray you don't get one.Do they have an average weight in excess of seven pounds and/or an average diameter of several inches?

I'm not saying that gallstones don't, and I do pray I never get one. But babies do have those average weights and diameters.


Anyways, I've seen enough air headed girls and idiot guys that I don't think either should get a wisdom penalty or any other stat alteration.Well, the argument is statistical. The average woman might be marginally different from the average man, just as the average orc is different from the average human.


I always find it odd that many (usually male) DMs argue that it is "realistic" to give women the lower role in a fantasy society. We have worlds that are full of magic and dragons and active gods and other races and societies that are completely different from ours and whatnot...

But *that* has to be "realistic". Yeah.Yeah. Sure.

What's conveniently forgotten to make that viewpoint work is that in a 'realistic' D&D world Circe is an entirely 'realistic' character concept and the church of the mother-goddess might very well have enough magical oomph to dominate a continent despite the best efforts of the invading charioteer tribes. Since there's no correlation between, say, divine spellcasting ability and gender, and since divine spellcasting is one of the main sources of power in a D&D universe, there's no compelling reason to make a male-dominated power distribution. The exception would be a society is ruled by armies and the generals of armies. This is the way most civilizations and pastoral cultures have worked, and it does tend to lead to male-dominance because (as I just spent an unreasonably long time saying), evolution breeds females not to go pick fights with things, and breeds groups to encourage the males to go pick fights with things.


In fact, women were suppressed back then mostly because the (male) church wanted it that way. They could just say "god wants it that way" and get away with that.Well, they could also cite textual evidence to justify that claim, dating back to letters written in the name of Paul of Tarsus, who could in turn cite textual evidence from the Torah to justify that claim... which means that if you really want to know why the medieval Church was so hard on women, you have to go ask Abraham and Moses.


Unless you have sexist gods, of course. But I can only see evil gods saying to their followers "go and tell your women/men to shut up and to do whatever you want". Lolth comes to mind...What about telling their followers:
"Women/men are too weak/foolish. They can't run society. Look at all the trouble they get into on their own. They need a strong/sane hand guiding them. Therefore, it is your duty to regard them as your flock, to be tended and kept safe from the perils of decision-making."

That actually bears a much much stronger resemblance to the kind of rhetoric used to justify sexism in real life. And I can easily see a neutral or good deity saying that; nobody said that good deities had to be right about everything by our standards.


There's Eunuch Warlock, but that's not too desireable.One can make a pretty compelling argument that that isn't really a "male prestige class" so much as an "ex-male prestige class." It would be sort of like having an "ex-paladin prestige class;" even though you can't have it without having once been a paladin, you can't have it if you are a paladin.


Disclaimer: I'm not saying men are better at basketball than women, just that, Candace Parker aside, men are evidently better at dunkingWell, the average male in the US is something like seven or eight inches taller than the average female, and this appears to extend to basketball players too. If so, then that would be a significant disadvantage for women right there, since they have to clear a higher high jump to get their arms up to the hoop.

I doubt that I'd ever be able to dunk a basketball consistently either, because I'm only 5'11 (the average height of the American male).


Actually, early human society was matriarchal until the connection between breeding and childbirth was fully understood from observing what would later be called "herd" animals. (It is speculated that it was believed at the time that breeding didn't do anything and women spontaneously gave birth after reaching a certain age) It was around this time that the concept of "mine" started, at least pertaining to mates. (Ie: "My" wife.)This theory seems based on the assumption that my hunter-gatherer ancestors were very stupid. I'm not sure I believe it. Certainly, there are plenty of anthropological examples of hunter-gatherer societies that don't have herd animals but are quite aware of the correlation between breeding and childbirth.


Consider the image of the "Mother Goddess," the simple, rounded clay figurine of an almost ball-like woman that has been found from Alaska to Asia. Sure, a man could fight better (although that shouldn't be taken as a fact because we don't know that for sure), but childbirth was strange, magical and unknown to men (and likely women too). Thus why the fundamental image of a witch or otherwise spiritual and mysterious figure was so often female in tribal cultures.The existence of a 'witch' archetype and a 'mother goddess' archetype does not make a matriarchy. Remember that 'mother goddess' veneration was not necessarily monotheistic.


the difference in strength between a race that averages around 20-40 pounds and a race that averages well over 100 pounds is just two points ...Keep in mind that the race averaging a light weight is penalized in load-carrying due to their size, even for similar strengths. That knocks out the main test we use in real life to evaluate strength: "how much can you lift?"


at tolerating pain. How do you even measure that anyway?To put it crudely, you hook someone's central nervous system up to a voltmeter and then hit them with carefully measured force. The less their pain nerves respond, the higher their pain tolerance is.


Whatever you say, darlin'. Now go wait in the bedroom; this here's men's talk, not something to worry your pretty little head about.That doesn't sound like a good idea. Remember what happened to Attila the Hun...

Arlanthe
2007-03-21, 07:11 AM
That was a very comprehensive post and multi-response. I applaud the content, but wow, the effort as much.

I read a home-brew spellbook somewhere in which the spell "contraceptive" was scribed... (duration, one month).

kamikasei
2007-03-21, 07:18 AM
Different people have different abilities to withstand pain. Unless you measure 1000+ people per sample, it won't really be accurate.

I'm confused. Your words seem to be saying "we need to inflict considerable, measured, and graded pain on lots and lots of people", but your tone seems to be suggesting that that's a bad thing.

hewhosaysfish
2007-03-21, 07:28 AM
I'm confused. Your words seem to be saying "we need to inflict considerable, measured, and graded pain on lots and lots of people", but your tone seems to be suggesting that that's a bad thing.

Yeah, we could do it like that Milgram experiment only for real this time! (That was such a rip-off!) :smallbiggrin:

AtomicKitKat
2007-03-21, 09:26 AM
Do they have an average weight in excess of seven pounds and/or an average diameter of several inches?

I'm not saying that gallstones don't, and I do pray I never get one. But babies do have those average weights and diameters.


I believe it's more about relative dimensions(diameter of the object compared to diameter of what has to release the object), rather than absolute.


Well, the average male in the US is something like seven or eight inches taller than the average female, and this appears to extend to basketball players too. If so, then that would be a significant disadvantage for women right there, since they have to clear a higher high jump to get their arms up to the hoop.

I doubt that I'd ever be able to dunk a basketball consistently either, because I'm only 5'11 (the average height of the American male).

I do believe your figures are somewhat off. The average American male is apparently 5'9(1 inch taller than me, but I'm Chinese, so I'm already taller than average), with the average American female being around 5'6 to 5'8, depending on who you ask. The figures I cited were from nationmaster.com(which has statistics for lots of things), if I remember correctly.


Keep in mind that the race averaging a light weight is penalized in load-carrying due to their size, even for similar strengths. That knocks out the main test we use in real life to evaluate strength: "how much can you lift?"

If I remember correctly, the post you were quoting also forgot that the average between a 20-40 lb race(Halflings) and a 100+ lb race(Half-orcs), is 4 points of Strength, as well as size penalties.

Gamebird
2007-03-21, 09:54 AM
Actually, early human society was matriarchal until the connection between breeding and childbirth was fully understood from observing what would later be called "herd" animals. (It is speculated that it was believed at the time that breeding didn't do anything and women spontaneously gave birth after reaching a certain age) It was around this time that the concept of "mine" started, at least pertaining to mates. (Ie: "My" wife.)

Lots of species practice possessiveness towards their mates without understanding the reproductive process in an abstract fashion.


I suppose Childbirth has lost a lot of its psychological sway as science has developed.

Children seem pretty much the same regardless of who raises them (biological parents, foster parents, adoptive parents, orphanages, father, mother or grandparents), provided they get good nutrition and plenty of attention and loving. However, motivation to share your food and provide attention and loving is mostly hormonal. It's heavily influenced by the baby's attractiveness and symmetry as well as conformance to standard "infantile" features and behaviors. I've heard it's also heavily influenced by the baby's similarity to the adult's "race", both in appearance and smell.

If we waved a magic wand and removed all relevant sex differences between adults, we would probably do great damage to what people usually regard as "morality" and the willingness to care for others for little or no return.


I believe it's more about relative dimensions(diameter of the object compared to diameter of what has to release the object), rather than absolute.

Different parts of the body experience different kinds of injury/trauma very differently. Or even the same kinds. My first childbirth was hardly painful at all. The second quite so.

AtomicKitKat
2007-03-21, 10:01 AM
Different parts of the body experience different kinds of injury/trauma very differently. Or even the same kinds. My first childbirth was hardly painful at all. The second quite so.

Nod. Not knocking it or anything. What I meant was that for the purposes of the analogy, the relative dimensions were more important than the absolute ones(which would completely blow the analogy to the Abyss).

Meschaelene
2007-03-21, 12:33 PM
Centuries of tradition, of patriarchal society...in the end, it comes down because of three things:
1. Proper nutrition & healthcare for both men and women
2. World War II decimating the male population, forcing men to allow women to enter the workforce (something they previously were not disposed to do)
3. The Feminist movement

Women now can earn their own money at a fair rate, with which to buy food which is readily available, and have established their legal right to vote, hold property, and as such, choose their own destiny.

That is how patriarchy finally was dealt the death blow, even though it reels yet, like a drunk, trying to keep it's feet, but doomed to fail.


Actually, this is wishful thinking. Patriarchal societies are the ones that are thriving. Feminist societies (say, France) are shrinking fast -- and would be faster if not for their extremely patriarchal immigrant groups that have maintained a decent birthrate.

I am not bashing France, by the way (although it is a guilty pleasure). Compare birthrates of almost any two populations, where one is feminist and the other not, and it's clear that Feminism is closely associated with a sharp drop in birthrates. Feminism will not last the century without some radical change that adjusts the math.

Tor the Fallen
2007-03-21, 12:37 PM
Males have mammary glands. Which can be stimulated to produce milk. Those nipples aren't just for show.

When was the last time a man gave birth to a child?

Tor the Fallen
2007-03-21, 12:42 PM
Well, see male mammae link posted below.

But if you live in say, California or Belgium, both men and women can get family leave with a newborn, and EITHER parent can be a primary caretaker.

I as the husband, for example, will be the primary caretaker after our child is born. We'll each take two months of leave, and I'll be the primary caretaker until such age as our child can go to day care. My wife is the primary income, wither her two masters' degrees. She can pump milk- no big deal.

This is the 21st century- not the 1950s or 1300s, when people pretended that women can do no other than care for children. This could also have been done in the 1300s but... well, I won't go there. Of course, there are still people who pretend this, but their little gendered world is crumbling, and gender inequality with it.

It takes ninth months to make a child. During those nine months, a woman can't do as much as a man, for risk of losing the child. This is especially true towards the end of pregnancy. When means of birth control are not readily available, and large family sizes are desirable, a woman will spend a good deal of time pregnant.

"She can pump milk" IS a big deal. How else are you to feed a newborn child?

We're talking here about D&D- a medieval setting, not what you or your wife or a bunch of Californians do.

Gamebird
2007-03-21, 12:48 PM
Compare birthrates of almost any two populations, where one is feminist and the other not, and it's clear that Feminism is closely associated with a sharp drop in birthrates.

Um, DUH! :smallconfused:

Feminism and a drop in birthrates are both caused by the SAME thing, which is why they're "closely associated". When society industrializes, it develops machinery to perform many tasks of unskilled labor. On the whole, the skill level required to find profitable work goes up. This means parents can't wave bye-bye to their kids for even longer, as the kids have to go through more training than before to get jobs profitable enough for the kid to support themselves. Thus, the cost of seeing a given child from birth to self-sufficiency rises.

When the cost of having a child goes up, then the incentive to have a lot of children goes down. As the number of children in the family drops, the labor required to watch and raise the children also drops. (Also, as the need for training for jobs increases, the time a child spends away from the house, learning job skills, also increases.) This results in women having more free time that they can put towards earning money by working outside the home. When women earn money on their own merits, then we see the rise of feminism and a demand for rights.

It's not that feminism causes a drop in birth rates, or that a drop in birth rates causes feminism. They're both caused by the same mechanism.

Now in France's case, they have an industrialized society where the best paying jobs require a lot of training. If a person wants their child to have a high paying job, then they have to invest in a lot of training. France also has a huge immigrant population, many of whom arrive with a great many children, or who don't understand the costs associated with inter-generational life in France (and some don't care, since they send all their money back to their home country and don't plan to live in France long-term). The immigrants are confined to low-paying jobs of unskilled labor. They are often resentful about the range of jobs available to them and want better, but they aren't trained for it.

In country after country, we've seen the same pattern repeated. They industrialize and then the birth rate drops. Feminism, as a political ideaology may or may not occur, but as the birth rate drops, women always enter the workforce.

Tor the Fallen
2007-03-21, 12:53 PM
Do you have an actual reference for this? I don't believe I've ever heard that claim made as a confirmed fact. Given the structure of ape societies it strikes me as unlikely.

Unless it's a Bonobo (which we're very closely realted to).

Tor the Fallen
2007-03-21, 12:55 PM
Now in France's case, they have an industrialized society where the best paying jobs require a lot of training. If a person wants their child to have a high paying job, then they have to invest in a lot of training. France also has a huge immigrant population, many of whom arrive with a great many children, or who don't understand the costs associated with inter-generational life in France (and some don't care, since they send all their money back to their home country and don't plan to live in France long-term). The immigrants are confined to low-paying jobs of unskilled labor. They are often resentful about the range of jobs available to them and want better, but they aren't trained for it.

They immigrants' culture is also geared towards having huge families.

Gamebird
2007-03-21, 12:56 PM
When means of birth control are not readily available, and large family sizes are desirable, a woman will spend a good deal of time pregnant.

"She can pump milk" IS a big deal. How else are you to feed a newborn child?

We're talking here about D&D- a medieval setting, not what you or your wife or a bunch of Californians do.

Yeah, we're talking about D&D, which is not historical real world. It nearly always has magic. Depending on the game world, it might have more magic than we have technology. It might also have a full and stable population without need for a high birth rate.

Before any discussion of D&D and gender can be made, we have to know exactly how closely D&D does or does not model real life human pregnancy, childbirth and infant/juvenile states. Maybe in D&D a woman isn't inconvenienced at all by pregnancy. Maybe in D&D babies are born able to eat solid food. After all, there are no invalids in D&D, no maimings, no blindess or deafness caused by old age or genetic malfunction, no Alzheimer's Disease, no dementia not caused by magical means.

Gender differences are caused by males and females having different reproductive roles. Until we have D&D rules that model these roles (or specifically equalize the roles), then we can't say that D&D society will be one way or another. Maybe you think that in D&D women will take some penalty for being pregnant, in which case it follows that they'd be less able as adventurers.

Tengu
2007-03-21, 01:06 PM
There are pregnancy rules in (yes, you know what will follow now, whatever else would it be...) BoEF.

kamikasei
2007-03-21, 01:15 PM
They immigrants' culture is also geared towards having huge families.

I believe this was covered by "costs of inter-generational life". Having many children in whom you can invest less time, versus fewer children in whom you can invest more, is a losing proposition in an industrial society. (At least, that's what I understand Gamebird to be arguing.)

So while a society that enfranchises its women at the cost of its birthrate may appear to be putting itself at a disadvantage relative to other nations or to immigrants, those other nations will have less industry, and the immigrants will assimilate or be ghettoized. The danger is in dropping below replenishment, which isn't all that hard to avoid.

Altair_the_Vexed
2007-03-21, 01:17 PM
I think apples are better than oranges.

Tengu
2007-03-21, 01:19 PM
Juice or for eating?

Meschaelene
2007-03-21, 01:19 PM
The danger is in dropping below replenishment, which isn't all that hard to avoid.

There is a French guy named Chirac who would like your advice, then.

Varen_Tai
2007-03-21, 01:26 PM
OK, so I haven't read the whole thread to see where everything is or if this has been said or not, but it bears mentioning if it hasn't.

In cultures or situations that have a high amount of infant death by environmental difficulties, girl infants survive male infants like 65/35. For instance, the pioneers lost many more boys than girls when crossing the plains in winter, leaving a big gap in the male/female ratio when they grew up. If I were to grant a gendered difference, it would be to give men a +1 Str and women a +1 Con.

I think something about women being the childbearers makes them hardier in general than men, who tend to be stronger.

Altair_the_Vexed
2007-03-21, 01:27 PM
Personally, I think that apples are nicer fruit than oranges. I like orange juice and apple juice about the same, but an actual orange just doesn't appeal to me. It might be the time I spent picking bad mouldy oranges off a production line in a fruit packing factory, so that the touch of orange peel is asociated with mould and bad fruit.

Apples and oranges would most likely have the same stats in d20 - roughly the same weight, rougly the same size, same range increment, same value - but they aren't the same fruit.

Beleriphon
2007-03-21, 01:28 PM
Before any discussion of D&D and gender can be made, we have to know exactly how closely D&D does or does not model real life human pregnancy, childbirth and infant/juvenile states. Maybe in D&D a woman isn't inconvenienced at all by pregnancy. Maybe in D&D babies are born able to eat solid food. After all, there are no invalids in D&D, no maimings, no blindess or deafness caused by old age or genetic malfunction, no Alzheimer's Disease, no dementia not caused by magical means.


I'd assume that humans in any given D&D setting reproduce like any other human would. I'd assume that the basics of human pregnancy are more or less the same as well. To do otherwise applies a strain on the imagined setting. Elves, dwarves, et al can reproduce however we imagine, but humans by default have to be effectively the same as us.

Gamebird
2007-03-21, 01:59 PM
Personally, I think that apples are nicer fruit than oranges. I like orange juice and apple juice about the same, but an actual orange just doesn't appeal to me. It might be the time I spent picking bad mouldy oranges off a production line in a fruit packing factory, so that the touch of orange peel is asociated with mould and bad fruit.

I used to feel the same - that apples were better as fruit, but liked juice about the same either way. Then our house went for several months without having orange juice around and to my surprise, I found I actually liked and wanted oranges again. I have guessed that whatever it was my body wanted out of oranges, it could get just fine from the juice and so I wasn't motivated to eat the actual fruit. But when I wasn't getting the juice, then the fruit regained it's appeal.

Just one of those interesting things to remind us how much of our preferences are contextual and relative, having nothing to do with the item in question.

Closet_Skeleton
2007-03-21, 03:11 PM
Men are on average stronger than men...

Remember that averages don't appear in individuals. An average is something you can only work out from large ammounts of data. Averages only exist on large scales. In the context of a handful of people (such as an adventurer party) averages are invisable.

Men might be able to beat a woman of equal skill on equal grounds but that isn't very realistic. If the woman was using a Glaive (when was the last time you saw a male with a Naganata?) or a bow she could beat up a man with a sword.

Tengu
2007-03-21, 04:35 PM
when was the last time you saw a male with a Naganata?
A while ago, at this picture:
http://www.usadojo.com/images/longnaginatasmlopt.jpg

Though yeah, naginata was traditionally used by females.

Tor the Fallen
2007-03-21, 04:42 PM
Yeah, we're talking about D&D, which is not historical real world. It nearly always has magic. Depending on the game world, it might have more magic than we have technology. It might also have a full and stable population without need for a high birth rate.

Before any discussion of D&D and gender can be made, we have to know exactly how closely D&D does or does not model real life human pregnancy, childbirth and infant/juvenile states. Maybe in D&D a woman isn't inconvenienced at all by pregnancy. Maybe in D&D babies are born able to eat solid food. After all, there are no invalids in D&D, no maimings, no blindess or deafness caused by old age or genetic malfunction, no Alzheimer's Disease, no dementia not caused by magical means.

Gender differences are caused by males and females having different reproductive roles. Until we have D&D rules that model these roles (or specifically equalize the roles), then we can't say that D&D society will be one way or another. Maybe you think that in D&D women will take some penalty for being pregnant, in which case it follows that they'd be less able as adventurers.

My bad. If rules don't exist for it, it doesn't happen.
How silly of me.
There are also no rules for nutrition in D&D. I assume a 250 lb, medium sized character can live fine off of eating 1 lb of bread/day for the rest of his life. After all, there's nothing in the rules that say a character needs protein, or even that calories in must be equal to calories out to maintain his weight.


I believe this was covered by "costs of inter-generational life". Having many children in whom you can invest less time, versus fewer children in whom you can invest more, is a losing proposition in an industrial society. (At least, that's what I understand Gamebird to be arguing.)

So while a society that enfranchises its women at the cost of its birthrate may appear to be putting itself at a disadvantage relative to other nations or to immigrants, those other nations will have less industry, and the immigrants will assimilate or be ghettoized. The danger is in dropping below replenishment, which isn't all that hard to avoid.

And I was saying that the culture of the immigrants (not necessarily their ignorance or income) leads to their higher birth rates.

A simple exercise:
Sickle cell anemia is a genetic disease that causes blood cells to collapse into sickle shapes that are inefficient at transporting oxygen. A mutation on a single gene causes the disease. The gene expresses itself codominantly. People with only one allele of the gene will be anemic- but not lethally so like those with both alleles. Those with neither will not express the disease.

This disease confers a degree of resistance to malaria. Malaria is a parasitic protist that attacks blood cells, spread by mosquitos. Without treatment or adequate care, it's can be lethal.

If one quarter of offspring have sickle cell anemia, one quarter don't, and the other half have it only a little, in an environment with a high degree of malarial infection, how many offspring must the average family have in order to replace population?


Men are on average stronger than men...

Remember that averages don't appear in individuals. An average is something you can only work out from large ammounts of data. Averages only exist on large scales. In the context of a handful of people (such as an adventurer party) averages are invisable.

You can have an average with a population of 10, 5, 2 or even 1. You don't need a large amount of data for an average.

Jayabalard
2007-03-21, 04:51 PM
You can have an average with a population of 10, 5, 2 or even 1. You don't need a large amount of data for an average.On the other hand, if you go for the meaning, then Closet_Skeleton is probably talking about an average that is statistically significant.

kamikasei
2007-03-21, 04:59 PM
And I was saying that the culture of the immigrants (not necessarily their ignorance or income) leads to their higher birth rates.

...Yes? I don't believe anyone was disagreeing with that. The argument is that a culture that favors high birth rates will reduce the per-child investment possible.

Closet_Skeleton
2007-03-21, 05:07 PM
A while ago, at this picture:
http://www.usadojo.com/images/longnaginatasmlopt.jpg

Though yeah, naginata was traditionally used by females.

Of course there are men who use Naganata. I was using hyperbole and assuming that you'd seen a woman with one afterwards.

What I mainly meant is that statistical tendencies don't hold up among a handful of individuals.

NecroPaladin
2007-03-21, 06:06 PM
Well, on a less serious note, if we're going to factor in pregnancy into D and D, we had better do it right.

Er,

HOW many rounds is nine months, exactly?

Tengu
2007-03-21, 06:13 PM
Assuming that a month is 30 days long, 3888000 rounds.

NecroPaladin
2007-03-21, 06:18 PM
That is one helluva status ailment.

AtomicKitKat
2007-03-21, 11:03 PM
I think something about women being the childbearers makes them hardier in general than men, who tend to be stronger.

It's actually just being able to use one X to repair the other, as opposed to having no back-up(The Y chromosome is fairly empty of things that are "unnecessary" for determination of gender, which is basically anything that is not used to force the foetus to convert. In simple terms, at least.).

Norsesmithy
2007-03-22, 12:54 AM
It's actually just being able to use one X to repair the other, as opposed to having no back-up(The Y chromosome is fairly empty of things that are "unnecessary" for determination of gender, which is basically anything that is not used to force the foetus to convert. In simple terms, at least.).
I have heard this before, but it doesn't really make much sense to me, as the average person accumulates very few transcription errors (or mutations) in a single life time, and since crossover only happens in meiosis, and not mitosis, a female isn't magically more able to fix these transcription errors (especially since her X chromosomes are not identical). Further a female mammal only ever uses one of her X chromosomes, the other just kind of languishes, this is a major portion of why clones of females are less precisely duplicates than clones of males (the method of this choice is apparently Zygotic, and is poorly understood).

The greater average lifespan of women can be attributed in great part to menopause. A post menstrual woman has far less organ stress caused by her own bodily functions. Maintaining the capability to breed is a maintenance intensive, destructive process on a cellular and tissue level, and the Male system continues to subject itself to this stress until it ceases to function, whereas the female system throws in the towel.

This is in large part because the female part of the reproductive process is the far more taxing and far more dangerous portion, and so the potential for knowledge loss is would be far higher amoung elderly women conciving, even if they were sheltered from other dangerous tasks, whereas, if protected from the dangerous tasks a younger man faces, an elderly man can conceive all he can with little risk of knowlege loss or personal mortality.

I have a question. Of all the charectors in all the games you have played or played with, how many were females of STR 16 or more (at level 1)?

How many were males of STR 16 or more (at level 1)?

I can count the number of Str 16 or greater ECL 1 non-orc women on one hand, where as I would have to say that I have played or played with more than 50 STR 16 or higher ECL 1 non-orc male charecters.

Is it worth stat mods? I think the answer is no. Is it perhaps a consideration during stat assignment or when developing a charector concept? I think it is.

I have a bit of trouble with suspension of disbeleif when it comes to charectors of low weight and high strength. I am just under 100 kilos (irl) and can lift just over 117.5 kilos over my head (making me about STR 17), And I know that people who are lighter than me can do the same (I could lose 10-15 lbs without it hurting me, or my strength), but there are some boundaries when it comes to how much less someone could weigh. A 50 kg human female or elf male probably shouldn't have the same muscle power that I have because I likely have roughly double the mass devoted to power, and that is a costly investment when it comes to time, physiology, and calories.

Arlanthe
2007-03-22, 02:35 AM
It would be awesome to create a D&D race that is sexualy trimorphic. There are three sexes... mu, nu, and xi, and a complicated ritual by all three is then required by all of them to mate. They would have features by and large androgynous to dimorphic observers, but keenly contrasting in their own minds.

And then we can create minor physical differences between them all, and bizarre social roles...

AtomicKitKat
2007-03-22, 04:29 AM
What I meant was that in the event of any kind of recessive genetic disease(haemophilia especially), the female's second X provides a backup, thereby overriding the "damaged" X(at least, until breeding time comes, then it's 50/50), and turning her into a carrier, as opposed to the male, who is doomed to express it(in the future, it might be possible to alter/replace all the Xs in a haemophiliac male without any Klinefelter's syndrome type things occuring).

Tor the Fallen
2007-03-22, 09:04 AM
On the other hand, if you go for the meaning, then Closet_Skeleton is probably talking about an average that is statistically significant.

Depends entirely on population size, and if you're sampling or not. Big N and little n.

Golthur
2007-03-22, 10:15 AM
Sexual reproduction = genetic redundancy, plus faster rate of evolution, since you're forcing a gene mixup with every child, rather than relying solely on mutation.

That's OK, I don't mind being genetic redundancy if it stops my daughter from having some sort of life-threatening mutation :smile:

Gamebird
2007-03-22, 10:24 AM
My bad. If rules don't exist for it, it doesn't happen.
How silly of me.
There are also no rules for nutrition in D&D. I assume a 250 lb, medium sized character can live fine off of eating 1 lb of bread/day for the rest of his life. After all, there's nothing in the rules that say a character needs protein, or even that calories in must be equal to calories out to maintain his weight.

:smallbiggrin: I like the way you think. Now let's apply that!

The question at hand is how real world society would change if we instituted the D&D lack of differences between males and females. Or at least, that's how I read the OP's question. Since D&D fails to mention any rules about pregnancy or reproduction (excluding slaads and a few other bizarre critters), we can either assume it doesn't happen or make up our own rules for it.

If reproduction doesn't happen, then application to the real world would cause society to fail dramatically, because there would be no replacement population as time passed.

If we make up our own rules for it, then it's a guess work. Keep in mind that we're explicitly and specifically NOT seeking to make real world rules to apply to D&D reproduction. We're trying to decide what the D&D rules for lack of gender difference would do to the real world.

To use your example, it's like asking how the real world would change if we adopted the D&D nutrition rules. Since there aren't any rules in D&D about nutrition, then we can make up our own and apply them to the real world and speculate, or we can assume nutrition plays no role in D&D and talk about how the real world would be if people could eat whatever they liked without gaining or losing weight, or suffering any other penalties.

Do you see where I'm going with this? It's just all a wash.

I don't know where you're going at all with the sickle cell thing.


I have a question. Of all the charectors in all the games you have played or played with, how many were females of STR 16 or more (at level 1)?

The last three. I'm in a Fighter phase right now, meaning my last three characters were all Fighters, Barbarians or Rangers and they all had a STR 16. No, wait... one had a CON 18 and a STR 14. So the last two.

But what's your point?

If someone wants to make an effective tank, then STR is going to be an important stat, whether the tank is male or female.


How many were males of STR 16 or more (at level 1)?

I've never played a male character. All the male tank-like characters I've seen played have had STR as one of their high stats, though I've seen male tanks who put their DEX or CON higher than their STR - mostly it depended on the exact concept and the point buy (or dice rolls).

Interesting side note - the male wizard in our current group has a STR 16. Of course he also has an INT 11. He's aware of what this does for his character's effectiveness, but it fits with his concept.


I can count the number of Str 16 or greater ECL 1 non-orc women on one hand, where as I would have to say that I have played or played with more than 50 STR 16 or higher ECL 1 non-orc male charecters.

That would be more interesting if you included other important statistical considerations, like how many female characters you've played with, period. I can count on two hands the number of females I've played with for more than one game, but I've played with more than 100 male players. (Nearly all games did not allow cross-gendered rp, so gender of player matched character.) This would naturally skew any quantity-based comparison I tried to make.

Assuming you were looking at equal numbers, you'd then have to equalize for character concept. If 20 women and 20 men make up tanks that rely mostly on strength (rather than DEX or CON), do the women use a lower average STR score than the men?

This is assuming you're trying to prove that female characters in roles that require strength will generally have a lower strength than a male character in the same role.

It might be so. I don't know. Most of the female players I've seen over the years have valued a "flatter" stat distribution than the males and have usually worked to avoid having any dump stat. Of course I've seen guys who did the same thing and my female sample is fairly small.

kamikasei
2007-03-22, 10:59 AM
If someone wants to make an effective tank, then STR is going to be an important stat, whether the tank is male or female.
...
Assuming you were looking at equal numbers, you'd then have to equalize for character concept. If 20 women and 20 men make up tanks that rely mostly on strength (rather than DEX or CON), do the women use a lower average STR score than the men?

This is assuming you're trying to prove that female characters in roles that require strength will generally have a lower strength than a male character in the same role.

I didn't see any reference to tanks in the post you're responding to, just to strength. I believe the GP's idea was that people who want to play a high-strength character are more likely to play it as a male than as a female, and conversely, that people are more likely to give a male character a high-strength class.

Krellen
2007-03-22, 11:16 AM
I have a question. Of all the charectors in all the games you have played or played with, how many were females of STR 16 or more (at level 1)?

How many were males of STR 16 or more (at level 1)?
She didn't have a 16 (it was a 12), but in my most recent tabletop game, the strongest member of the party was my character, the only female. This party included a Ranger, a Barbarian and a Monk, too. I play with some weird people.

anphorus
2007-03-22, 11:27 AM
It would be awesome to create a D&D race that is sexualy trimorphic. There are three sexes... mu, nu, and xi, and a complicated ritual by all three is then required by all of them to mate. They would have features by and large androgynous to dimorphic observers, but keenly contrasting in their own minds.

And then we can create minor physical differences between them all, and bizarre social roles...

That reminds me of the Iain M. Banks book Player of Games that had a race of aliens with three sexes. The Males were the biggest and strongest and were used solely for unskilled labour and soldiering. Basically anything that needed muscle. The Females were treated like property and only ever used for breeding and as "trophies". The dominant gender was the Third or intermediate gender, who did the other things society like trading, banking, government etc.

The way that their reproduction worked was that the males would fertilize the egg of the intermediate gender. The Intermediate would them transfer the fertilized egg to the females, who would carry the child until birth.

Cool book. Though, Iain M. Bank's "Culture" is an entirely different kettle of fish when it comes to gender roles.

Gamebird
2007-03-22, 11:38 AM
Is it worth stat mods? I think the answer is no. Is it perhaps a consideration during stat assignment or when developing a charector concept? I think it is.

I think it is too. I believe that people bring their cultural assumptions to the table when they role play. If you're from a culture where men are macho and women are retiring, then people will make their male characters macho and their female characters retiring.

Even in a field like acting, until the last few years in the US (and it's still a big consideration), portraying a homosexual character was career-suicide for a heterosexual man. I've gamed with people who didn't want to take a "wuss" character like a wizard and only wanted to make a high STR fighter.

In playing most of my female characters, if they were fighter-types then at one point or another, someone has usually made the "butch dyke" comment, or something to that effect - essentially that a female character couldn't be a high STR fighter-type without being homosexual or non-feminine. I think the stigma of being labelled unfeminine drives a lot of character choice for female players, and concept choice for male players of female characters.

As far as that goes, I think it's a big reason why women aren't more involved in gaming.

Gorbash
2007-03-22, 02:37 PM
Interesting side note - the male wizard in our current group has a STR 16. Of course he also has an INT 11. He's aware of what this does for his character's effectiveness, but it fits with his concept.

Which concept is that? Pardon me, but that strikes me as stupid.

Gamebird
2007-03-22, 02:46 PM
Which concept is that? Pardon me, but that strikes me as stupid.

It's not mechanically wise, yeah. The DM is using a system where we get a stat buy-point every level, so at 2nd he'll have INT 12, at 3rd he'll have INT 13, at 4th he'll have INT 14, then it will be 6th before he gets INT 15 and 8th before he gets INT 16. So it's not like he's giving up the ability to cast spells.

His concept is that he's a dumb brute of a half orc whom no one would expect to be able to cast spells. He always talks about himself in the third person: "Grimgor not like water! Grimgor think going on boat bad idea." He's pumped up his physical stats and described his character as being a heavy, hulking fellow with a puppy dog. (Thog likes puppies!)

He expects to advance his Intelligence during the game so he's not completely gimped and wants to enjoy the process of building his character up. I'm cool with it. Heck, if we all wanted to play the most powerful characters we could, we'd all be sitting around playing druids or clerics.

Dhavaer
2007-03-22, 02:47 PM
Which concept is that? Pardon me, but that strikes me as stupid.

Athletic scholarship?

Tor the Fallen
2007-03-22, 04:01 PM
Athletic scholarship?

*rimshot*

12345

Bears With Lasers
2007-03-22, 04:07 PM
It's not mechanically wise, yeah. The DM is using a system where we get a stat buy-point every level, so at 2nd he'll have INT 12, at 3rd he'll have INT 13, at 4th he'll have INT 14, then it will be 6th before he gets INT 15 and 8th before he gets INT 16. So it's not like he's giving up the ability to cast spells.

His concept is that he's a dumb brute of a half orc whom no one would expect to be able to cast spells. He always talks about himself in the third person: "Grimgor not like water! Grimgor think going on boat bad idea." He's pumped up his physical stats and described his character as being a heavy, hulking fellow with a puppy dog. (Thog likes puppies!)

He expects to advance his Intelligence during the game so he's not completely gimped and wants to enjoy the process of building his character up. I'm cool with it. Heck, if we all wanted to play the most powerful characters we could, we'd all be sitting around playing druids or clerics.

If he can act like he has a 6 INT with an 11 INT, is there any reason he couldn't act like he has a 6 INT with, oh, a 15 or 16 INT?

There's "not playing the most powerful character you can"--half-orc wizard already does that--and then there's "gimping yourself ridiculously hard".

Gamebird
2007-03-22, 04:51 PM
Well then, he's going for the latter. The DM tried real hard to talk him out of it and it's not like the player doesn't realize what he's doing. It doesn't bother me. I can gimp my character with the best of 'em. The other guy in the party is a social-oriented gnome rogue who's thinking of dual classing into cleric so he can better carry out his goals with alchemy. An optimized group we're not.

I've seen this sort of thing before. It will be fun until someone else comes in with a very mechanically optimized, very capable character, then the arms race will begin and the fun will diminish.

Vodun
2007-03-22, 05:05 PM
The concept of a half-orc suddenly casting color spray makes me chuckle a bit.
But he might just be keeping the puppy for spell components. (now I need to make a spell that uses a puppy as a component.)

Gamebird
2007-03-22, 05:21 PM
Actually the puppy is to become his familiar once he gets 100 gp to pay for the ritual.

Vodun
2007-03-22, 05:28 PM
Actually the puppy is to become his familiar once he gets 100 gp to pay for the ritual.

Thats better than what I came up with.

What are the benefits of a puppy familar anyways, like statwise?

Tor the Fallen
2007-03-22, 05:37 PM
Thats better than what I came up with.

What are the benefits of a puppy familar anyways, like statwise?

Bonus to diplo checks. It's those damn puppy dog eyes.

Nah, I have no idea.

Vodun
2007-03-22, 05:47 PM
Bonus to diplo checks. It's those damn puppy dog eyes.

Nah, I have no idea.

No thats actually a really good idea.

Saph
2007-03-22, 08:16 PM
In playing most of my female characters, if they were fighter-types then at one point or another, someone has usually made the "butch dyke" comment, or something to that effect - essentially that a female character couldn't be a high STR fighter-type without being homosexual or non-feminine. I think the stigma of being labelled unfeminine drives a lot of character choice for female players, and concept choice for male players of female characters.

As far as that goes, I think it's a big reason why women aren't more involved in gaming.

Oh, come on. Isn't that pushing it a bit? I've played in many, many groups, and I can't remember that particular insult being made even once. Doesn't mean that it never was made - I might have just forgotten - but I am very sure that the gamer girls I've known never got particularly harassed for playing one character type over another. Actually, it's usually been the other way around - the female players tend to get less insults and more considerate treatment than the male ones do, just like in any game where there are lots of men and few women.

Maybe you game in a different sort of area than I do, and things aren't like that around your neck of the woods. But I'd say that most women aren't involved in gaming because most women aren't particularly interested in gaming - not because of character choice stigma.

- Saph

Bears With Lasers
2007-03-22, 08:25 PM
Maybe you game in a different sort of area than I do, and things aren't like that around your neck of the woods. But I'd say that most women aren't involved in gaming because most women aren't particularly interested in gaming - not because of character choice stigma.
- Saph

No, no. Many women who may otherwise be interested in gaming get turned off of it by the way they're treated. Whether it's everybody in the group trying to get into their pants, a prevailing "girls don't know what they're doing" attitude, the kinds of things Gamebird mentioned, or other reasons, there's tons of unpleasant occurences to be had if you're a gaming girl. This isn't the case everywhere, of course; it's perfectly feasible that you've had no bad experiences.
It's also perfectly feasible that very, very many other women haven't been as lucky.

Saph
2007-03-22, 08:41 PM
No, no. Many women who may otherwise be interested in gaming get turned off of it by the way they're treated. Whether it's everybody in the group trying to get into their pants, a prevailing "girls don't know what they're doing" attitude, the kinds of things Gamebird mentioned, or other reasons, there's tons of unpleasant occurences to be had if you're a gaming girl.

There are tons of unpleasant occurances to be had in anything, no matter where you go or whether you're a guy or a girl. I think you're exaggerating the degree to which women get victimised in gaming groups.

Of all the different gaming groups I've seen, which is quite a few, none of them did the things you've listed to their female members. The guys in the group didn't all try to get into the girls' pants, they didn't patronise them, and they didn't try to force them into making one type of character or another. In fact, the girls generally got better treatment than the guys did. And yet there were still very few girls in each group.

I've heard horror stories from gamer girls I've known . . . but I've also heard horror stories from gamer guys. Different places, different types of stories, different types of nasty things to watch out for. The conclusion I came to after listening to lots and lots of them: gaming can be good or bad, depending on the group you join, but your gender isn't likely to have much effect on how much bad stuff happens to you. What kind of bad stuff, sure. How much bad stuff - no.

- Saph

Tengu
2007-03-22, 09:35 PM
Since I find it hard to imagine a gaming group of people who act in a completely mature, cultural way except that they're horribly sexist, I think it's not much of a stretch to assume that any group that treats gamer girls horribly is so immature that no decent gamer would want to have anything in common with them anyway.

Norsesmithy
2007-03-23, 12:14 AM
The last three. I'm in a Fighter phase right now, meaning my last three characters were all Fighters, Barbarians or Rangers and they all had a STR 16. No, wait... one had a CON 18 and a STR 14. So the last two.

But what's your point?

If someone wants to make an effective tank, then STR is going to be an important stat, whether the tank is male or female.



I've never played a male character. All the male tank-like characters I've seen played have had STR as one of their high stats, though I've seen male tanks who put their DEX or CON higher than their STR - mostly it depended on the exact concept and the point buy (or dice rolls).

That would be more interesting if you included other important statistical considerations, like how many female characters you've played with, period. I can count on two hands the number of females I've played with for more than one game, but I've played with more than 100 male players. (Nearly all games did not allow cross-gendered rp, so gender of player matched character.) This would naturally skew any quantity-based comparison I tried to make.

Assuming you were looking at equal numbers, you'd then have to equalize for character concept. If 20 women and 20 men make up tanks that rely mostly on strength (rather than DEX or CON), do the women use a lower average STR score than the men?

This is assuming you're trying to prove that female characters in roles that require strength will generally have a lower strength than a male character in the same role.

It might be so. I don't know. Most of the female players I've seen over the years have valued a "flatter" stat distribution than the males and have usually worked to avoid having any dump stat. Of course I've seen guys who did the same thing and my female sample is fairly small.
Well, let me think. I think I could say (with reasonable certainty) that I have played with around 38 female characters (might be forgetting one of two), disregarding characters played by boys who were immature and or jokingly misogynistic, and of those 38 or so probably 20 were a primary caster, with clerics outnumbering sorcerers and sorcerers outnumbering druids and druids outnumbering wizards.

10 were skill based characters of one sort or another (rogues, bards, scouts, rangers, monks) while the other 8 were primary combattants (Fighters Paladins, Barbarians)

The primary fighters tended to specialize in archery (even the barbarian, she had Brutal Throw, Quick draw, and Power Throw, and specialized in Harpoons. She was the one of the exceptions, and was played by a boy.), with Melee combat as a secondary consideration (great tactics with my group, we often open combat at over a thousand feet, and generally don't have adequate healing for our level.).

The other three STR 16+ characters were a Paladin, 18 at level one, a Ranger (ranged style picked, did lots with a great sword, but probably did more damage overall with her Great Bow), 16 at lvl 1, and a Fighter/Exotic Weapon Master who used a longbow for most her fighting, but used Uncanny Blow and a Dire Pick when they needed something dead, now (all played by women), 17 at lvl 1.

At least 24 of these characters were played by one of five different girls, with the remainder being played by boys.


I think it is too. I believe that people bring their cultural assumptions to the table when they role play. If you're from a culture where men are macho and women are retiring, then people will make their male characters macho and their female characters retiring.

Even in a field like acting, until the last few years in the US (and it's still a big consideration), portraying a homosexual character was career-suicide for a heterosexual man. I've gamed with people who didn't want to take a "wuss" character like a wizard and only wanted to make a high STR fighter.

In playing most of my female characters, if they were fighter-types then at one point or another, someone has usually made the "butch dyke" comment, or something to that effect - essentially that a female character couldn't be a high STR fighter-type without being homosexual or non-feminine. I think the stigma of being labelled unfeminine drives a lot of character choice for female players, and concept choice for male players of female characters.

As far as that goes, I think it's a big reason why women aren't more involved in gaming.
If "Butch Dyke" is the typical response for a high STR female character in your groups, I find that rather tragic and small minded.

Though the typical female character in groups I play with or DM for is a sneaky person with a bow and a short sword (in leather of course:smallwink: ), the men of my group have never disparaged a female character for being a big strong woman (bigger and stronger than they are), perhaps because of the excellent (and often mildly titillating) description that the player puts forth.

I mean just because we may have trouble imagining a 100 lb debutante lifting 300lbs over her head does not mean that we cannot have fun killing orcs with a gorgeous 180 lb Valkyrie (in chain mail of course:smallwink: ).

Viscount Einstrauss
2007-03-23, 12:18 AM
Plus, chicks look hotter with a little muscle behind them. Maybe not "can bench a car" muscles. But fellas, you know what I'm sayin', right?

Since this clearly isn't chauvanistic enough, allow me to add- "So that they can bring me bigger sandwiches."

Bears With Lasers
2007-03-23, 12:20 AM
Plus, chicks look hotter with a little muscle behind them. Maybe not "can bench a car" muscles. But fellas, you know what I'm sayin', right?

No, no. I think that was plenty chauvinistic enough.

Viscount Einstrauss
2007-03-23, 12:50 AM
I can't be too careful. I've got a rep, man. If chicks thought my pimp hand was going soft, I'd lose all street cred.

Closet_Skeleton
2007-03-23, 03:38 AM
I thought of a better example this is an old arguement that has nothing to do with where the topic has slided to.

If you roll a d6 100 odd times you get an average of 3.5. However if you roll 1d6 that doesn't help you predict the results at all. If you're rolling 100d6 you can say that you'll get around 350 but you can't with 1d6. You can say from a 100 women that women tend to be good at some things but you can't pick a single woman and say what she'll be like.

Jayabalard
2007-03-23, 07:23 AM
Which concept is that? Pardon me, but that strikes me as stupid.lots of people prefer to play non-optimized or even anti-optimized characters... because the Schmendrick's can often be more fun to roleplay than the Merlin's. There's nothing stupid about that.


Even in a field like acting, until the last few years in the US (and it's still a big consideration), portraying a homosexual character was career-suicide for a heterosexual man. I don't really agree. It didn't really hurt Partick Stewart's career for example (unless you're claiming that 1995 is in the last few years)

Truwar
2007-03-23, 09:37 AM
As far as that goes, I think it's a big reason why women aren't more involved in gaming.


I am afraid the sad sad fact is that gaming has a rather... unpleasant reputation for geekitude. Alas, the fairer sex seems to have less tolerance for the possible occurance of a geekitudinal outbreak and are thus less likely to engage in such activities.

The_Werebear
2007-03-23, 10:08 AM
I am afraid the sad sad fact is that gaming has a rather... unpleasant reputation for geekitude. Alas, the fairer sex seems to have less tolerance for the possible occurance of a geekitudinal outbreak and are thus less likely to engage in such activities.

Unless, of course, you are lucky enough to be dating a nerd anyway.

It is fairly funny. My current DND groups consist of more females than males, and they have less of a tendency to be absent. Hell, one of them is even a popular girl who I knew from high school, who was even playing it there.

You just never know sometimes.

kamikasei
2007-03-23, 10:23 AM
I think part of the disagreement here stems from Saph referencing what gamer women have told her - which automatically means she's hearing from those who haven't had experiences to drive them away from the hobby. The real question is what proportion of women who might ever contemplate trying the game either decide not to because of its geeky reputation, or do give it a try but have a bad experience that puts them off.

Saph
2007-03-23, 10:26 AM
I think part of the disagreement here stems from Saph referencing what gamer women have told her - which automatically means she's hearing from those who haven't had experiences to drive them away from the hobby.

Not just told, also watched. But even giving you that point, by the same logic I'm also only hearing from the guys who haven't had experiences to drive them away from the hobby. These things go both ways.

- Saph

Indon
2007-03-23, 10:38 AM
I was reading through the thread and I thought of a real mechanical difference between men and women which most people are likely to agree with:

Women would have a higher maximum age than men (as in, a bonus to their roll to determine max age after reaching Venerable).

That's it. Just wanted to say that since it hadn't been said. Not going to get into all the peripheral topic.

AtomicKitKat
2007-03-23, 11:20 AM
I was reading through the thread and I thought of a real mechanical difference between men and women which most people are likely to agree with:

Women would have a higher maximum age than men (as in, a bonus to their roll to determine max age after reaching Venerable).

That's it. Just wanted to say that since it hadn't been said. Not going to get into all the peripheral topic.

Even on that there is disagreement. Some people(including myself) believe that the data is heavily skewed by all the young men dying in their youth, not least because young men are rather more reckless than their female counterparts(this is changing somewhat, with the rise in drug use among the young). Don't forget also, that one good reason you see all these super-centennarian women, and not nearly as many men, is because many of the men's contemporaries would have been in their prime when the last 2 World Wars broke out, and thus drafted/killed/maimed/lost quality of life thereby reducing potential lifespan.

In a world where both genders take somewhat equal risks(at least, insofar as adventurers are concerned), it makes sense that their lifespans would be roughly equal(breathing in all that Green Dragon breath does wonders for killing you).

Cocktail Umbrellas
2007-03-23, 01:10 PM
In D&D, the only real difference in my campaign between men and women is pregnancy. Both men and women have to worry about it (or not worry about it, depends on the character really), but at this point only female characters and NPCs have been pregnant.

As for contraception, Curse of Infertility/Sterility FTW ^_~

Age wise, so few characters actually make it to old age, I donít think thereís really a point in making gender differences (if there even really are any). If a player makes it past middle age, all the power to Ďem, male or female.

In general, I think itís probably for the best that males and females and inter-sex individuals in D&D are kept equal. Equality is a good starting point to build campaign flavour from. Societal rules and regs at DMs discretion (player maturity is certainly a factor with a fair bit of game fluff). Plus, considering that these events are going on in a fantastical world with fantastical societies inhabited by characters with fantastical genetics, I donít think that any ďrealismĒ is lost in having genders equal. How Nature-Nurture functions in the development of a person's sex and gender is bound to change in an entirely different world with magic and bizarre societies.

Last note:

at tolerating pain. How do you even measure that anyway?

To put it crudely, you hook someone's central nervous system up to a voltmeter and then hit them with carefully measured force. The less their pain nerves respond, the higher their pain tolerance is.

In modern studies, they do not shock people to determine pain tolerance. Cold pressor tests are probably the standard measure for most pain threshold/tolerance studies these days. While the subject's blood pressure is monitored, they place their non dominant hand in 2-3 degree Celsius ice water. They are asked to hold it there- wrist deep and fingers spread. They are asked to report when it they first feel pain, then asked to report when it is painful to the point they are going to withdraw their hand.

For the record, in reality at any rate, recent studies have found that the difference between men and womenís pain tolerance and pain threshold is statistically significant- menís pain tolerance and threshold is higher. This finding has nothing to do with gender, but with physical sex. As for the reasoning, it's not really understood why at this point. Systolic blood pressure has also been found to have an influence on pain threshold and tolerance, but the blood pressure differences have nothing to do with sex or gender, but with individual differences.

That being said, a statistically significant result does not mean a significant societal impact. Just because there's a difference doesn't mean itís noticeable or relevant outside of statistics. I donít think gender differences (or systolic blood pressure differences) in pain tolerance and threshold are noticeable or relevant to my day to day affairs and I donít think the difference is big enough to merit anything in reality let alone the (oohhhh yeah, one more time) fantastical world of D&D.

Deepblue706
2007-03-23, 01:25 PM
Female humans in my games get an inherent +2 bonus to craft (dinner), craft (babies) and craft (lies). Gather Information, too. Males get a +2 to Eating, and don't get any social penalties for not bathing or shaving regularly.

kamikasei
2007-03-23, 01:30 PM
In modern studies, they do not shock people to determine pain tolerance.

I do believe the GP's post was saying they use the voltmeter to measure pain by looking at the electrical response in the nerves, not to shock people to produce the pain.

AtomicKitKat
2007-03-23, 01:41 PM
Hmm. I don't think cold water is a very good test. After all, it's biased against Fire signs like myself, who are incredibly easily chilled. :P

For the record, just two days ago, I burned my hand against the metal inside of my water heater(for drinking water), but still had enough presence of mind to remove the cup(so it wouldn't melt, obviously) and my hand before taking myself to the nearest sink to wash and cool off the fingers. This has no bearing on skin sensitivity either, seeing as I can tell the differences between many things by touch alone.

Toastkart
2007-03-23, 07:58 PM
One thing to think about, concerning women living longer on average. A lot of that has to do with the fact that only relatively recently have women begun entering the workforce with the same frequency as men, which is why they're starting to catch up. Men who work 40+ hours per week tend to have chronic stress and thus heart disease, which means they're not going to live as long.

Currently, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both genders in the United States for this very reason.

NecroPaladin
2007-03-23, 08:03 PM
One thing to think about, concerning women living longer on average. A lot of that has to do with the fact that only relatively recently have women begun entering the workforce with the same frequency as men, which is why they're starting to catch up. Men who work 40+ hours per week tend to have chronic stress and thus heart disease, which means they're not going to live as long.

Currently, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both genders in the United States for this very reason.

Another contributing (if not much) factor is that men are doubly vulnerable to recessive diseases and defects carried on the X chromosome (women need both parents to pass on the defective gene; men, just their mother), and automatically get those carried on the Y chromosome. Normally, these aren't that bad (take colorblindness), but it can get as bad as muscle deterioration and death by age 4. On average, men are 75% (if not more) likely to get genetic diseases carried on the X and Y chromosomes, which aren't uncommon, skewing the average (again, if only one percent or less) with the early deaths that some of these defects can cause.

magnar
2007-03-24, 12:22 PM
I think that such rules as would affect lifespan, skill bonuses, and ability bonuses/penalties should be entirely based on the campaign world, not stated in the rulebooks. Do the women work at home while the men dig coal mines? Likely they'll live longer. Are both genders equal? Then make them equal.
Hey, here's a thought. If you want to treat them differently, count men and women as different (sub)races. They each get ability bonuses/penalties and their own favored class.

Nowhere Girl
2007-03-24, 04:41 PM
Hmm. I don't think cold water is a very good test. After all, it's biased against Fire signs like myself, who are incredibly easily chilled. :P

For the record, just two days ago, I burned my hand against the metal inside of my water heater(for drinking water), but still had enough presence of mind to remove the cup(so it wouldn't melt, obviously) and my hand before taking myself to the nearest sink to wash and cool off the fingers. This has no bearing on skin sensitivity either, seeing as I can tell the differences between many things by touch alone.

I don't like it, either. I've always been very vulnerable to cold -- I cried the very first time I came into contact with snow, and I was bundled up magnificently. I never acclimate well to cold, and I find temperatures of about 70 or below uncomfortable.

On the other hand, I will take and hold hot plates people are cautioning me to be careful of ("It's hot!") without batting an eye. I wash dishes with water so scalding that I've gotten comments several times on it ... again, really without batting an eye. And I've survived all-day activity out in temperatures higher than 100 degrees (not counting heat index) with very little available water more than once -- the heat has never stopped me.

I'd fail a cold-water test really badly. "It hurts now!" :smalltongue:

The_Werebear
2007-03-24, 05:12 PM
I don't like it, either. I've always been very vulnerable to cold -- I cried the very first time I came into contact with snow, and I was bundled up magnificently. I never acclimate well to cold, and I find temperatures of about 70 or below uncomfortable.

On the other hand, I will take and hold hot plates people are cautioning me to be careful of ("It's hot!") without batting an eye. I wash dishes with water so scalding that I've gotten comments several times on it ... again, really without batting an eye. And I've survived all-day activity out in temperatures higher than 100 degrees (not counting heat index) with very little available water more than once -- the heat has never stopped me.

I'd fail a cold-water test really badly. "It hurts now!" :smalltongue:

I'm the absolute opposite. I will be walking around in a t shirt and shorts to get the paper during a blizzard without even noticing. In the other three seasons, odds are, if I am outside, I am too hot.

Viscount Einstrauss
2007-03-25, 12:17 AM
I'm dead-blooded. I don't respond much at all to extreme temperatures, but just a handful of degrees off of 74 farenheight (my personal comfort range) and I can't stand it.

Norsesmithy
2007-03-25, 12:19 AM
I am like the Werebear, I have trouble shedding heat, but am significantly resistant to hypothermia and frost bite.

I took a winter survial course in the winter of '05, and part of the course involved finding out how well you retain heat by immersion in a tank of ice water (literally had a crust of ice on the surface and walls). Most people are at a significant risk of hypothermia in a minute or two, and would expire in 10 or so, I lost less than half a degree of core temperature in two minutes of 95% immersion. They said that that basically meant that I could last more than an hour if I fell throught the ice and couldn't get out.

Odd considering that the 14% body fat I had at the time meant that I had less natural insulation then the theoretical benchmark.

I guess it is related to the fact that you almost need a stethoscope to find my pulse (when I was little my family pratitioner called my ateries and veins "well buried").

Dervag
2007-03-25, 02:59 AM
"She can pump milk" IS a big deal. How else are you to feed a newborn child?Umm... moo?


They immigrants' culture is also geared towards having huge families.Yes, because it is dominated by preindustrial concepts in which having huge families is a good idea and a status symbol.


There are also no rules for nutrition in D&D. I assume a 250 lb, medium sized character can live fine off of eating 1 lb of bread/day for the rest of his life. After all, there's nothing in the rules that say a character needs protein, or even that calories in must be equal to calories out to maintain his weight.Well, if the bread is the kind of stuff people used to make before the invention of bleached flour and such, they might well be able to.


If someone wants to make an effective tank, then STR is going to be an important stat, whether the tank is male or female.Well, a 'female' tank is better for infantry support, while a 'male' tank is better for taking out enemy armor...

Oh, wait. I'm in World War I mode. There was a period when the British outfitted some of their tanks with machine guns and others with cannons; a tank with two MGs was 'female' and a tank with two cannons was 'male'.


Interesting side note - the male wizard in our current group has a STR 16. Of course he also has an INT 11. He's aware of what this does for his character's effectiveness, but it fits with his concept.Let me guess. His magic ritual for opening a locked door involves a running start and a well-placed shoulder.

Gotta love fighter magic.


His concept is that he's a dumb brute of a half orc whom no one would expect to be able to cast spells. He always talks about himself in the third person: "Grimgor not like water! Grimgor think going on boat bad idea." He's pumped up his physical stats and described his character as being a heavy, hulking fellow with a puppy dog. (Thog likes puppies!)But he already has average or above-average intelligence. Is he supposed to be some kind of idiot savant when it comes to spellcasting?


No, no. I think that was plenty chauvinistic enough.Well, in and of itself it was merely a rather crudely phrased remark that fit women are more attractive. In and of itself, this is no more a form of male chauvinism than "fit men are more attractive" is a form of female chauvinism.

The sandwich comment, on the other hand, definitely catapulted it into the stratospheric heights of chauvinism, from which I doubt it will ever return.


In a world where both genders take somewhat equal risks(at least, insofar as adventurers are concerned), it makes sense that their lifespans would be roughly equal(breathing in all that Green Dragon breath does wonders for killing you).A touch of gas, eh?

But on the other hand, all those cure spells probably do wonders for a lot of the physical ailments that actually cause people to weaken in their old age. The little tears in your cartilage, the minor degeneration of internal organs and so on would probably all respond well to frequent doses of positive energy.

So I'd expect it to cancel out. Adventurers are likely to die young, but as long as they receive adequate healing and such they won't begin to age young.


In modern studies, they do not shock people to determine pain tolerance. Cold pressor tests are probably the standard measure for most pain threshold/tolerance studies these days. While the subject's blood pressure is monitored, they place their non dominant hand in 2-3 degree Celsius ice water. They are asked to hold it there- wrist deep and fingers spread. They are asked to report when it they first feel pain, then asked to report when it is painful to the point they are going to withdraw their hand.This is in large part because the techniques are a lot less crude than they used to be.


This finding has nothing to do with gender, but with physical sex. As for the reasoning, it's not really understood why at this point.Maybe one of the genes on the Y chromosome alters brain structure to make it less responsive to pain? It wouldn't be that big a surprise.

Dhavaer
2007-03-25, 03:21 AM
Umm... moo?

Bleat might be more appropriate. Goat's milk is the most chemically similar to human's.


Maybe one of the genes on the Y chromosome alters brain structure to make it less responsive to pain? It wouldn't be that big a surprise.

Testosterone is a painkiller.

Sergeantbrother
2007-03-25, 05:20 AM
No, no. I think that was plenty chauvinistic enough.

I think that if saying that certain physical traits are attractive in the opposite sex, then everybody in the world is a "chauvinist" to the point of the word having no true meaning.

Zincorium
2007-03-25, 05:39 AM
Bleat might be more appropriate. Goat's milk is the most chemically similar to human's.


Still, blech. Maybe I'm biased because I was raised on fresh cow's milk, but goat's milk has always tasted disgusting. Possibly that's in part due to my hatred of the goats who produced it, but anyone who says it tastes the same as cow's milk isn't able to taste either.



Testosterone is a painkiller.

Very good thing, too.

Dhavaer
2007-03-25, 06:28 AM
I think that if saying that certain physical traits are attractive in the opposite sex, then everybody in the world is a "chauvinist" to the point of the word having no true meaning.

To add to this, why is it acceptable to tell a woman she has nice eyes but crude to tell her she has a nice arse? She doesn't have any real control over her eyes, short of contacts or risky and invasive surgery, but a nice arse is generally at least partly a product of a healthy lifestyle, and complimenting on that is therefore also a compliment on other, more personal things.

Or maybe I'm just tired.

Closet_Skeleton
2007-03-25, 06:33 AM
To add to this, why is it acceptable to tell a woman she has nice eyes but crude to tell her she has a nice arse? She doesn't have any real control over her eyes, short of contacts or risky and invasive surgery, but a nice arse is generally at least partly a product of a healthy lifestyle, and complimenting on that is therefore also a compliment on other, more personal things.

Or maybe I'm just tired.

No, you're just living in a messed up world with a load of people just as tired as you are.

Imrix.
2007-03-25, 07:24 AM
Originally Posted by Dervag
Yes, because it is dominated by preindustrial concepts in which having huge families is a good idea and a status symbol.

You make that sound like a bad thing.

Zincorium
2007-03-25, 07:52 AM
You make that sound like a bad thing.

Mostly because it's out of place. When you spend very little on each child after the first few and can get equal amounts of work out of them, your life becomes easier if you have more children. This is true in pre-industrial regions because all you have to give children is the necessities of life, while having almost complete control of their time and labor potential.

Now, fast forward to most modern societies. Children are very expensive, and they continue to be that way no matter how many you have. You also are unable to get all that much work out of them. Yes, you can have them do chores, but they're required to go to school and working them too hard in the off times will probably get you reported to a child services agency. A large amount of overhead plus very little return means that children make your life significantly more difficult, most people who don't have children nowadays in the US are kind of overwhelmed at what is really a lifestyle change. Time, money, and opportunity costs are all very high.

If you have a very small income, as most immigrants do at least at first, then the money, time, etc. you have available to spend on raising children has to be split up between all the children you have, evenly or unevenly. If you have one, that one will be significantly better off in comparison to if you have, say, 10, because all resources can go to them instead of being distributed communally.

Sergeantbrother
2007-03-25, 07:54 AM
To add to this, why is it acceptable to tell a woman she has nice eyes but crude to tell her she has a nice arse? She doesn't have any real control over her eyes, short of contacts or risky and invasive surgery, but a nice arse is generally at least partly a product of a healthy lifestyle, and complimenting on that is therefore also a compliment on other, more personal things.

Or maybe I'm just tired.

That's a good point. I suppose that its probably linked to sex being considered a tabboo topic, one that its potentially rude and/or uncouth to speak about in certain situations combined with a greater link between the butt and sex than with eyes and sex.

Maybe in some other kind of culture it might be unacceptable to compliment a woman's eyes but OK to compliment her rear.

Imrix.
2007-03-25, 08:27 AM
Very true, Zincorium, but in the same vein a large family should mean a greater amount of adults to bring in the necessary money.

Zincorium
2007-03-25, 08:48 AM
Very true, Zincorium, but in the same vein a large family should mean a greater amount of adults to bring in the necessary money.

Possibly, but I've yet to see that in immigrant families, as generally they immigrate while young and leave behind most of their extended family. All the following is observation and casual reading of sociological textbooks.

More adults is rare for a family that has been anywhere for less than a full generation, maybe you'll have one or another of the parent's siblings around to earn money, but they'll be less inclined to devote all resources to raising someone else's children. Once the children become adults, they'll probably try to send surplus money home, but often there won't be any surplus as they're working up from basically nothing for most of their life, and then often start the cycle over by having a great many children of their own.

With just your two parents, or suitable facsimile, the burden of earning money is only spread between two adults, or in a household dominated by pre industrial conventions, one person while the other stays home to take care of the many children. This is a huge disadvantage economically as compared to a household with one or two children, at least one parent working full time and the other working either part or full time, which is fairly common among modern societies.

The thing is, people are not continuing their parent's behavior because it still has the benefits that it did for their parents, but because they were taught that that was the right way of doing things.

Here's another thing to consider: People from large, poor families are very unlikely to finish or even begin college without outside assistance (I'm in that category myself), and so are not in the position income-wise to provide college money for their children. That the government pays much of tuition for low income people is one of the few things slowing the decline of the middle class here in the US. Without the Montgomery GI bill or tuition assistance, my chances of successfully completing college while working enough to support myself and pay for all the expenses of college would be practically nil. This would put me distinctly behind economically, and my offspring would thus be in the same bind, leading to a permanent lower class.

Imrix.
2007-03-25, 09:08 AM
Hm. You make an excellent argument, I concede.

Gamebird
2007-03-26, 11:21 AM
Thats better than what I came up with.

What are the benefits of a puppy familar anyways, like statwise?

In this game, +3 Search, due to the dog's Scent ability. It's a lap dog. There's nothing RAW about it, so a DM could make up whatever he liked.


Oh, come on. Isn't that pushing it a bit? I've played in many, many groups, and I can't remember that particular insult being made even once. Doesn't mean that it never was made - I might have just forgotten - but I am very sure that the gamer girls I've known never got particularly harassed for playing one character type over another.

Experiences differ.


But I'd say that most women aren't involved in gaming because most women aren't particularly interested in gaming - not because of character choice stigma.

I agree. Same applies to most men. After all, most men aren't gamers. Though I do think D&D-type gaming involves elements that are more attractive to the average male than to the average female, at least the way it's been presented for the last 30 years.

It was interesting that White Wolf managed to get a much larger degree of interest from females, with LARPs and tapping into the goth movement.


If "Butch Dyke" is the typical response for a high STR female character in your groups, I find that rather tragic and small minded.

Not in the current group, but I've heard it over and over in the last 20 years. Though I only once heard the dreaded "Wow, you're a girl... and a role player?!?" For anyone who has never heard that before, I've seen three different threads here on GitP in the last two years asking variations of "Do girl gamers really exist?" and "Where can I find girls who game?"

One guy drew one of my early characters back in 1989 (who happened to be a very physical Fighter in 2nd edition with 18 percentile STR) with two swords crossed over her body and the words "No Entry" under it. I thought at the time that he meant she was barring passage to someone trying to get past her. A bit later I realized the swords were crossed over her groin and then I understood why the guys all snickered about it.

It doesn't matter if it's petty or small minded or whatever. What matters is that it happens.


the typical female character in groups I play with ... in leather of course:smallwink:

...we ...have fun killing orcs with a gorgeous 180 lb Valkyrie (in chain mail of course:smallwink: ).

There's my point. You're not telling me about the sexual attractiveness of male characters. Someone who designs and plays a male character who is not sexually attractive need fear no particular repercussions in most D&D games. A person who designs and plays a female character who is not sexually attractive will have a pretty good chance of dealing with commentary. Well, actually even if their character IS sexually attractive, there will still be commentary.

If you don't think this is rampant throughout D&D, take a look at the pictures illustrating it, especially back in 2nd edition, Larry Elmore's work and the standard fantasy babe style pictures. There isn't a similar "fantasy dude" theme and if there was, it would likely be gay, since men are much more likely to pay for sexually attractive males than women.

I'm not saying this is necessarily wrong, but if you think there's something unusual with someone calling a physical, female character a "bull dyke", then you live in a very strange place.


I don't really agree. It didn't really hurt Partick Stewart's career for example (unless you're claiming that 1995 is in the last few years)

Patrick Stewart is gay? Huh. I'll bet if that had been known by the general public before he began Star Trek: The Next Generation, that he would not have been selected.

For me, "the last few years" is the last decade. Coming Out in the early 90s was still a risky proposition. In the 80s it was career suicide. In the 70s people were still sometimes assaulted or killed for things like that. (Edit: Actually they're still assaulted or killed today, but it's much rarer.)


It is fairly funny. My current DND groups consist of more females than males, and they have less of a tendency to be absent. Hell, one of them is even a popular girl who I knew from high school, who was even playing it there.

You just never know sometimes.

Last week we had two girls come to our struggling weekly game. They didn't return, citing "not enough combat". They were only there for an hour after making their characters, so I call "Bogus!" on their complaint. I think the real problem was that there were two 50 year old guys, me (34) and a married, uninterested mid-20s guy there. The girls were 19 and 22, both unattached. I don't think we had what they wanted in the game and it had nothing to do with the game itself.


Very true, Zincorium, but in the same vein a large family should mean a greater amount of adults to bring in the necessary money.

Once people are adults, they tend to start their own families and have their own children to take care of and fund.

Tengu
2007-03-26, 11:40 AM
I think you had a solid dose of horrible gaming experiences throughout your career with RPGs, Gamebird.

Gamebird
2007-03-26, 12:14 PM
I think you had a solid dose of horrible gaming experiences throughout your career with RPGs, Gamebird.

Having a long and varied gaming career certainly helps with that. If a person is lucky enough to get a fairly good, polite group together early on and they stay with that group, then the experiences of those with very different groups will be a mystery to them.


Edit: Reminds me of a guy I was working with who was 50ish. We'd been traveling together a lot to different plant locations and so had become familiar enough to get past idle chit-chat. He seemed taken aback about my conversations about the judicial and criminal justice systems. I was floored though to find out that he didn't know a single person who had ever been arrested or prosecuted for anything rougher than parking violations or speeding tickets. He didn't seem that isolated. I suppose that at a certain social level or class of people, "nice folk" just don't talk about that sort of thing. Or maybe it truly doesn't happen to them. I found that revelation very striking and odd. Any glance at criminal statistics shows that nearly 1 in 20 of the adult population is incarcerated, on house arrest or in jail at any given time. That a person with a normal social circle wouldn't happen to know ANYONE who had ever been one of those 1 in 20 amazes me at the statistical improbability of it.

kamikasei
2007-03-26, 12:31 PM
Patrick Stewart is gay? Huh. I'll bet if that had been known by the general public before he began Star Trek: The Next Generation, that he would not have been selected.

I believe what was meant was that Patrick Stewart (who as far as I know is heterosexual) had played gay roles without detriment to his career.