Instarrian Gender

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Instarrians' gender and gender roles are different from Earth, Shade and most or all other humanoid species'.

1. Gender in brief
2. Gender roles in society
3. Beauty and desirable traits
4. Marriage
5. How strictly are these rules applied?
6. Occupations
7. The fantasy ideal

A male Instarrian would give off mixed gender signals to a generic human. A manly Instarrian male is small and lithe, narrow-hipped but with a feminine air. A feminine Instarrian female is on average a small amount taller, curved in an understated elven way, and not by default physically stronger or weaker than a male her size. Females do not appear masculine to offworlders, more as both female and 'alien', although they tend to have authority; men will tend to look to a woman automatically, all else being equal.

The height ranges in Instarrians (which look like the usual bell curve) are almost exactly overlapped, much more than with many humanoids. The mean value for females is slightly higher. Aesthetically speaking, a woman should seek a partner a small, exactly-specified amount shorter than her.

1. Gender in brief

Instar has two genders, considered socially equal. Gender is considered the same as physical sex: the idea of cross-gender behaviour is not understood or tolerated. Social pressure is generally enough to ensure a degree of conformity.

Relation to marriage

Gender roles on Instar are bound up with marriage. Each partner is expected to bring different things to the partnership: the male provides physical (skilled) labour, physical protection and emotional support for the female, while the female provides brainwork (often professional - both sexes work), organisation (social, of time, and of the family) and intellectual support for the male.

Before marriage, young Instarrians perform the same roles for their parents and family. Single Instarrians living alone do exist, but are considered to lack the qualities of the other sex, or 'other half'.

The genders

The stereotypical female is confident and commanding, sturdy, an organiser, and uses her brain. She is analytical and able to multi-task. She looks for a husband who has a marketable skill and can fight to protect her.

The stereotypical male is creative and intuitive, agile, a skill-worker, and uses his muscles. He looks for a woman who will organise his life, raise his children and support (or protect) him emotionally.

Neither gender is typically more 'cooperative' or 'competitive' than the other. Both tend to seek one major ally (and generally marry them) and then it's the two of them against the world. Both sexes are tactile among friends of their own sex, and tactile in a chaste way with the opposite sex. Both will have their own circle of friends, mostly of their own sex, to talk about things that clueless other sex just can't understand.

2. Gender roles in society

The husband earns the money and fights to protect the wife and children. Both may raise the children. Family life is fitted around work, with the understanding that if the woman is the main earner, the man will do the bulk of the child-rearing, and vice versa.

Prostitutes are all male, and some males go to them. Dancers and entertainers, which are socially acceptable jobs for someone actively looking for a spouse, can be male or female.

The political class (hereditary) is equal women and boys. Domestic violence is just about exactly equal between the sexes. So is the makeup of the army, although when you get to the upper ranks, women again gravitate towards commanding roles and admin jobs.

Boys tend to be more worried about being objectified by women than the reverse. Typical sexist insults go like this:

Weft: No offence, but all women are evil bossy crazy grabby money-hungry man-objectifying lunatics.
Wirin: Whereas all boys are crazy hormonal touchy-feely gold-digging whiny controlling workaholic gossiping sluts.

3. Beauty and desirable traits

Instar ideals of beauty are different for male and female, but equally fussily applied by husband- or wife-hunters.

There are standards of desirable behaviour and skills too. If you're looking for a wife, you'd want her to have aptitude for strategy, calculating the household accounts and schedule and forging friendships and alliances, and good manners. If you're looking for a husband you'd want demureness, the ability to fight if necessary to defend your family, a profitable trade or skill, and good manners.

Manners are important.

4. Marriage

Marriage is an equitable arrangement. It's seen as an alliance of skills, funds and ambitions. A spouse is an absolute: somebody completely trustworthy, because your goals are the same. It doesn't have to be someone you're particularly in love with.

Marriage, theoretically, is a true partnership, not the woman ordering the man around or vice versa, but both being considered 'employees' of the partnership and having expected roles.

It's up to individuals to arrange their own marriage; their parents' role is limited to nagging.

All marriage is between males and females. If you're a gay boy or a woman who really can't stand her husband, you marry anyway and see a prostitute - nobody talks about this overtly, but nobody would criticise you either. On Instar all prostitutes are male. The idea of gay females is completely taboo, but presumably they make their own arrangements.

5. How strictly are these rules applied?

This is a traditional society in the sense that the values above are universally acknowledged (even if some people are less bothered than others about following them strictly) and have been the same for a long period of time. One thing that's absolutely not tolerated is cross-gender behaviour. They would find the idea of a transgendered person ridiculous.

But there are no rules against males entering typically-female occupations, or vice-versa. They might be teased by their friends, but as long as they don't start behaving in a boyish/womanly way, there's no problem.

6. Occupations

TradesworkerMTypically more capable, precise and patient with physical skills.
ManagementFA wife will often run a tradesman husband's business.
ComposerFFemales are viewed as more musically gifted, in contrast to most of the other arts.
WriterBothBoys usually write literature for boys, women for women.
Poetmore MPoetry is a slightly boyish hobby.
PainterMFine skills are more for boys.
Weaver (trade or art form)MNot correlated to kittyness.
ChefMIntricate knifework and creativity.
ScienceF'Science' is loosely defined, generally scholarly.
LawFKeen on order, institution and precedent; persuasive and logically-minded.
ConstructionM, often with F foremanNeither sex is (traditionally) more muscular.
ArchitectFAble to switch between overview and detail thinking.
DancerMGrace is desirable in a husband. Unmarried males often become dancers to try to get a wife.
SoldierBothRegiments are often made up of married couples and the single soldiers are encouraged to pair off.
StrategistF, some MFemales are methodical, organised and multi-tasking, thoroughly grounded in theory but not always innovative. Males make more impulsive, intuitive decisions.

7. The fantasy ideal

For Instarrians, at least in the realms of their pulp romance fiction, the typical idealised mates are pretty well [as Weft describes them here].

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Last edited September 9, 2009 5:54 pm by Mutt