So I took a gender and women's studies class this past semester, and I have to say, it's gotten me thinking about a lot of things. And now that I'm back into TS2, Sims are one of them.
I used the word "sexist" in the thread title because more people know what it means (and for added alliterative appeal), but I guess a more appropriate word would be "gendered." To what extent are the lives of your Sims gendered - defined as "having or making gender-based distinctions"? Of course, there's a certain amount of gendering that goes on as a basic function of the game (specifically when it comes to what types of hair and clothing are available for male and female Sims), but a great deal of how Sims' genders are expressed is determined by the player. After all, the game itself isn't terribly conservative on that front; men can wear all of the same makeup women can wear, Sims can date and marry other Sims of either sex, and (as far as I know) there are no jobs, tasks, or romantic interactions that are limited by a Sim's gender.
As I've mentioned a few other times on other threads, I play TS2 mainly in the context of family-building. With money cheats, I enable my Sims and their many descendants (all Family aspiration) to spend their time having children, building skills, and pursuing hobbies, instead of working outside the home. So yes, my female Sims are all homemakers, but so are all of my males; the few times someone does get a job, it's a teen without younger siblings to look after, whose narrative would get boring without a goal to pursue. There are no separate roles of "breadwinner" and "housewife."
Even in terms of skill-building, I don't discriminate by gender; I try to build up everyone's Cooking skill, and I like to have at least one Sim proficient in Mechanical around, but I don't feel any special need to make the Mechanical Sim a man. I don't restrict women to the piano and the sewing machine, and send the men out to hike and fish. I don't even think too hard about designating "girls' rooms" and "boys' rooms", since obviously my Sims don't care, and a boy child will sleep as happily in a pink room as in a blue. If anything, my decor is skewed towards the feminine as a default, since yeah, I'm a girl and yeah, I like girly things.
But as feminist and liberal and oh-so-enlightened as I'd like to think I am, I impose my share of gender restrictions on the Sims in my game. Now that I think about it, my gendering of my Sims comes into play mostly in my storytelling - the photo albums which, thank God, are virtual, because I'm sure they'd fill volume after volume otherwise. I meticulously document all of the events in my Sims' lives (and numerous day-to-day photo ops that aren't "events" at all), and often (usually-but-not-always for the purpose of screenshotting) I'll go so far as using cheat codes to place my Sims in what I feel are appropriate gender roles...because it just doesn't feel right to me if I don't.
For example, when I'm playing a female Sim from my family and want to get her engaged to a visiting male Sim from another family, I'll boolprop > make selectable the male just long enough to have him propose to her, because it just feels wrong to me to see a woman propose to a man, and it looks wrong to me in my photos. Same thing goes for the kiss > dance interaction; because the initiating Sim is the one to "twirl" the other Sim, I'll boolprop the male Sim if he's not the one I'm playing, and have him initiate so he twirls her instead of the other way around.
I've even started trying to make sure my male Sims are the ones to initiate WooHoo, as dumb as that sounds - no, I don't take pictures of that. But the position they end up in afterwards depends on who initiated the WooHoo, and it just seems weird to me to see the male Sim lying with his head on the female Sim's chest and her arm around him. As strange and really arbitrary as it is - what does it really matter who twirls who when you're dancing, or who proposes to whom? - I have these mental blocks I can't get over, and they translate into the way I run my game. My preconceived notions about gender in the real world define gender in my Sims' world, beyond what the game defines for them.
So...if anyone's managed to make it through all of that overanalytical babble, and if anyone actually cares enough to deconstruct their simming the way I do...how do you gender your Sims' lives? How do your ideas about gender roles and distinctions shape the choices you make for them, and the roles you give them in your game?
Other than that, my Sims' development is pretty gender-neutral. Sometimes females propose. Sometimes men initiate the improbable leap into arms. Anyone interested in cooking learns to cook. Any tinkerer will repair cars...unless they seem too snooty, then they get the train set. Anyone within the vicinity of a baby or toddler will care for it...and, if the mother has a career LTW, the father is likely to take parental leave during the developmental years.
Which isn't to say I'm not tempted by more traditional gendered arrangements, like farming families where Ma does the cooking and raises the kids while Pa's out in the fields wrestling the tomatoes. I would just feel constrained too quickly, so I don't start a play style I would abandon.
As for feminism, I have absolutely nothing to say.
From Simonut: Here is my take on if Sims 2 is losing popularity or not, If you offer or give a monkey a banana will he take it even if the banana is green or yellow ? Whatever new games EA put out there like the Sims3 some human somewhere will buy it.
I will probably have some areas where there seems to be a gendered decision, for instance women doing the child rearing, but if that's the way it works out it's usually because the mother gets maternity leave. I'm sure it is balanced by the number of stay-at-home dads which are chosen because my mums are usually more career advanced as I tend to play women (being one myself).
You've made me think now though, I will have to pay more attention! Not that I think gender stereotyping is terrible, a lot of things are considered girly because girls just like them more.
Nothing wrong with "sexism", as in acknowledging the differences between the genders (it goes way beyond the "plumbing").
At any rate, my Sims take on traditional roles. The mother is the primary caregiver. Wives always take the husband's last name. My females don't always get Family aspiration as primary, though--lots of times they'll get Knowledge, or Fortune, or even Popularity. Jobless Fortune Sims can be kept happy with the occasional bauble. Jobless Popularity Sims are happy yapping on the phone.
I'm 38 and a very traditional woman. Wouldn't have it any other way.
Dance kiss? ACR-induced.
Probably if I took time to think about it/study my playstyle I could find some gender biases in my game. Parental leave (as I have a mod to choose it) is divided equally between the parents, even though they hardly ever use it. Anyone teen or older helps with kids (feeding, changing, teaching skills, teaching homework). Cooking is done by the sim with the highest cooking skill/emptiest hunger bar, and a good number of kids get a mini oven. Repairs are done by the sim with the highest mechanical skill, and cleaning's done by whoever has the highest motives and isn't doing anything of importance. Other skills are done autonomously, directed by wants or influenced by work.
Sims always follow their LTWs. A female sim wants to be a Space Pirate? A male sim wants to marry off six kids? Fine with me. If the family has enough money, sims without a job-based/monetary or business LTW will tend to stay home; I've got one couple who are both Family sims, one with the LTW to marry off six kids, and the other to have six grandchildren, and it's very likely that they're going to stay home and both raise their brood together.
Alien pregnancy doesn't discriminate; same sex couples marry and have biological children; usually sims who inherit the house keep their family name, otherwise it comes down to personal preference (the exception being my Prosperity challenge where one of the bonus points rules is to keep the family names through the male line...if I do another Prosperity challenge, I'm ditching that rule).
Speaking about clothing, my female bags of pixels wear dresses, jeans, skirts, pants and shorts whenever I feel like dressing them like that. Although, my male sims never wear skirts. :D
My core families come from an isolated subculture in which they were controlled by a corporation. The men worked in the mines and the women had babies, tended gardens, and occasionally did drudge work in the mine offices. Since the corporation wasn't interested in how the babies were raised or what the women did as long as it didn't interfere with efficient mining operation, the women had quite a bit more freedom and the culture became very gynocentric. Home was the only place happiness existed. Protecting their women from sexual exploitation by the Suits, making them happy, and providing a safe environment for them to do what they think best was what men were for. As for sexual power - women have all of it. They usually take their husband's names, but that's superficial. If he wants sexual access, he has to earn it. A sexually aggressive woman is admired and respected. Faithfulness on both parts is taken for granted and shame and sex are not connected. My active Romance sims from this culture are women and have personal reasons for choosing to sleep around. Their families disapprove of and are bewildered by their lifestyles but continue to respect them and are proud of their professional accomplishments. I may put a Romance male in the upcoming generation, to see how it works and get him the LTW I think he needs.
This subculture was embedded in but isolated from a standard-issue American type culture for about a hundred years. The Suits were all from a patriarchal Western culture in the midst of an ongoing, pervasive gender revolution, and the disaster thrust the survivors out into it. In some ways, such as gay marriage, the base culture for my game is more enlightened than it is now, but in most it's at about the same stage - women have lots of roles open to them, but are in a constant status-battle with men, which gets acted out in lots of small ways that seem natural until they come into contact with different ways to do it. As in modern America, the culture does its best to convince women that it's their job to please men, and hide from the reality that a man will do damn near anything to get laid, and if this one won't give you what you want there's a long line behind him who will. Women who understand this often use it to manipulate men into doing what they want; women who don't are kind of pathetic. A lot of discomfort, embarrassment, and shame surrounds sex for a lot of people from this culture, and life tends to be one long negotiation.
And then there's a small number of Simmigrants from a macho culture, Guasimala, and an outright female-oppressive culture, Simdia. (I am of course exaggerating the conservatism of modern Latin and Indian cultures for dramatic effect; there's no Simdira Gandhi.) Representatives of these two cultures are in the midst of gender culture shock. Some of them embrace female empowerment and some reject it. My Simdian college student dating a member of my core families is pretty conflicted about it - her boyfriend keeps giving her options she doesn't feel entitled to, and he's frustrated because how is he supposed to be good to a woman who doesn't even know what she wants? Meanwhile, her father is running around town being the worst kind of Romance sim and calls her up to make sure she's being good. Men from the macho cultures have jealousy that works exactly like unmodded Sim jealousy - they demand faithfulness from their partners, but don't feel required to give it. With other cultures, I often turn jealousy fights into some other kind of quarrel in the dialog.
In play terms, this means that choices that are normally gendered in our society are governed in my game by who's being played. In my core families, women who have a fear of having a baby won't try for one. Women from the other cultures can be pressured into it. One of my original sorority members pulled the old getting-pregnant-to-make-him-marry me trick, and a couple of others are just too careless to use birth control. When I'm playing both sides of a couple, I'll alternate who initiates what - he starts the cuddle, she starts the kissing, he starts the make-out, and she initiates sex. I love the head-on-breast animation whichever gender is bottom spoon at the time - what straight man doesn't want to rest his head on his wife's bosom? They love bosoms! Usually there's a clear cultural or personal reason for one sim to propose marriage rather than the other, and in fact in the dialog there often isn't a formal proposal at all, but a conversation in which the details are hashed out. That's how my husband and I did it.
I am having most of the families use the patrinomial system, because that's what I'm used to IRL, but it isn't always practical and sometimes there are reasons not to. A townie has to take a playable's name, after all. Whatever man marries the Hawkins girl who takes over the original Hawkins house will be changing his name to Hawkins; but you pretty much don't marry a Hawkins of either gender unless you're willing to sink unresisting into that family's powerful subcultural undercurrent, anyway.
I am turning out to have a lot of stay-at-home parents, but that's mostly because the nannies are so bad. All six Newson kids swore never to hire a nanny, which means somebody's going to have to not work or they can't have kids. One non-core Fortune sim has Unemployed as a turn-on; he's a really nice guy, but he's going to discourage his wife from getting a job even after the kids are all teens, and may pressure her to have more kids than they can really afford to keep her home. In one core family with two career LTWs I went so far as to make a CAS nanny and move her in. Other families are doing the kids-right-away-mom-works-later routine.
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Many of my married sims have different family names (I use the batbox) - this is common in many cultures, even western Christian ones so I find the same name thing a bit odd. My name is different from my husband's.
Talking of pink, did you know that about 150 years ago or so, in England at least, that pink was considered a boy's colour because it was close to red and therefore associated with Mars? Blue, on the other hand, was associated with those Marian icons (how many medieval paintings of Mary can you remember where she's not wearing a blue robe?*) and was, therefore, an exemplary colour for females. (*this is, of course, an overstatement - there are many pictures of Mary in red and other colours but lapis was an expensive pigment and was, therefore, a very suitable one to use to depict the mother of Jesus so there are a lot of Marys dressed in blue).
If I have the woman ask a man on a date, and they fall in love, I'll make him selectable so he can propose engagement. I have the "females get male's last name" hack so after that, it doesn't matter who proposes marriage. I've had the female propose before, but it looked so weird...! There are just some interactions that look better with the male initiating it.
In the proposal scenario I have certainly made the male selectable and had him do the proposing, mostly for picture purposes. Now if the proposal process didn't involve a big honking diamond ring and the whole getting down on one knee business I might not find it weird for the female to propose. If I do have the female propose I usually go for the surprise engagement that takes place at the table. The animation is still a bit weird for gender role reversal but what the heck. Personally I wish the proposal option was autonomous then it would really be a surprise.
As to who works, either or both I have no gender biases on this. Females can have any type of career they want so can males, I have many many stay at home daddies who write, paint, craft, garden and so forth beyond taking care of the kids. Whomever is available and has time is who teaches the toddlers to walk, talk and use the potty, if that is an older teen so be it.
I'm not sure I have color biases beyond my own personal tastes in life, I don't like pastels IRL and I find I avoid them for my Sims as well. One of my favorite mods is one that allows any bedding for the cribs and changing station including any recolors you have. So I'm not limited to just a few choices of colors.
As for clothing well I'm a naturally casual person, I prefer comfy clothes whenever possible, comfy to me is jeans and shirt. Even when I dress for work or for formal occasions I tend to lean towards pants as opposed to dresses or skirts. Strangely enough I unconsciously dress my female Sims in a like fashion. It's a trend I'm currently trying to break but part of my problem is I look at it and think "your going to wear a dress with heels to go out and garden?".
The only skirts my male Sims wear are kilts and I do have a few that wear them, although not in winter. Color choices vary but absolutely nothing pastel gets worn so no powder blue shirts for the guys thank you very much.
A big portion of the game for me is the genetics so I do use the pregnancy for all as I want the mixture of the two parents genes being passed on. Although I pick one Sim in the couple to be the one to have any and all kids they have, this is mostly to avoid having two pregnant Sims in a household at once which is a nightmare.
I adhere to fraternities being for males and sororities being for females and that is very gender specific, all dorms are co-ed though.
As to appearance I'm not sure that is gender specific so much as simple what one likes. I'm not a big fan of super long hair on males, for no other reason other than I don't find it attractive. Shoulder length is about as far as I go as long as it's not a mullet, all mullet's should be hunted down and shot. I do use some makeup for males but it's more of enhancement rather than actual makeup, like adding shadows to the face or natural eyelashes and brows, freckles, scars ect. Almost all of my males wear jewelry including earrings as I don't think of those as gender specific.
Females well anything goes really, long or short hair, light and heavy makeup how they look is usually based on their personality.
All in all not too bad for someone in their 40's raised in rural Texas where gender bias and racism run rampant like the bubonic plague.
If i have a female i need to get to a certain point on the career ladder and the male is satisfied with where he is, then the male will be the one giving birth and caretaking so the female can focus on work. Last names however are chosen based on what last name I would like to see continue. Alot of the townie last names (i dont use name change lists) don't get the chance to survive if they marry my sims (Jason Menon and Makoto St. Julien are 2 that do survive)
My Greek Houses are also single-sex because if they're not they're neither fraternities nor sororities. Also, the college years are exactly the years when some of us need the support and understanding of our own gender (even if our own gender expression is nontraditional) the most. That's when we're defining ourselves and most need a solid basis for comparison. Each of my Greeks has one room with a double bed and one hot tub and allows sleepovers; but if you're ready to shack up and your partner isn't same-sex, you move out. And the same-sex couple using the double bed nightly is expected to let other people use it as needed, provided the user changes the sheets.
Both of my parents always help raise the kids and teach them how to talk, walk, and use the potty unless I'm going for a story with one negligent parent. Generally both of my parents have some form of job, but I always try to have at least one of them have an at-home job like writer or painter so someone will be able to take care of the baby, unless a grandparent lives at the house. I always change up which parent has the at-home job too, so it's not always the mom or the dad. The cooking skill is usually shared by both parents unless one is in the culinary profession (then I make him/her cook all the time to increase the skill). And both genders can join whatever career they want to.
In romance whoever initiates different actions is the playable. When both are playable I alternate. IRL the man doesn't want to always have to initiate and I don't want to always be passive; I don't care if the man get twirled and dipped and why shouldn't he be able to pillow his head on his lover's breast. Women and men take whatever jobs they like and learn whatever skills they like.
In favor of women: There's a very real likelihood that when two sims marry the man will take the woman's last name, the woman in my mind may own the house and often I decorate in what would be considered a more feminine style. My male sims stay fit, their pajamas are usually boxer briefs so they prance about the house in next to nothing, while women are warmly and comfortably clad. My female sims do wear beautiful and sexy clothing, including lingerie, but I'm more likely to find warm comfy pajamas for my single female sims to wear during the winter months and my single female sims often don't bother with sexy lingerie.
In favor of men? When my sims start a family the female sims will stay home with their offspring for several reasons. 1) In my income bracket its considered a privilege for a woman to be able to stay home with her kids, because most families just can't afford it. 2) This is one of the easiest ways to control a family's wealth, a sim's household will rarely become wealthy when only of one the sims works. 3)Nannies are stupid and I have a breastfeeding hack why should my female sims disappear for eight hours a day if they don't need to and since I spend more time with them I (simgawd) generally favor them. I don't have same-sex preg or male preg so men are spared the burden of pregnancy.
Now women do get the joy of staying home with their offspring, but when their husbands come home they immediately take over childcare to give their wives a break.That's right men have to work and take care of their kids, but I consider this a privilege and not a chore.
Cooking: All sims learn to cook, but the household cooker is the first sim to autonomously prepare a meal unless there is a sim in the household that wants to be a celebrity chef. Cleaning: There is usually someone who likes to clean in a household so I let that person clean, if no one likes it then everyone just cleans up after themselves.
Mechanical: A married woman at home with kids is most likely to leave that type of repair and maintenance to her husband,unless she herself likes to tinker.
Other hobbies just depend on what I feel like doing and what my sims want to do. I had one sim that was a seamstress when she got married her husband took an interest in sewing and is now learning even though he is the household cook.
With all that there are lots of exceptions.
I always like to change things up in my sims game. I've started giving in more and more to my sim's autonomy. For engaged couples where both are playable I've started letting whomever has the want to marry initiate the marriage, and since the breastfeeding hack I have allows both men and women to breastfeed, if the man is a family sim I've started letting him stay home with his kids, etc...
So I am biased? Yes. Towards who? Women. Do I let my sims go their own way? You betcha'!
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Originally Posted by Peni Griffin
One CC I miss from Sims1 - Hairfish had a male-to-female transsexual sim with several skin options; s/he loaded as a male, walked like a male, but the clothes and hairstyle were feminine. I used that several times and wished she had the reverse option, too. I haven't found any custom skirts for men yet, just kilts; and kilts are pretty culture-specific. Not only would it be nice to have a trans or two available for story purposes, men and women ought to be able to dress up in drag for fun or as an initiation ritual occasionally, as in real life. I can see the pledge dressed in drag and Influenced to do silly things down at the Student Union, can't you?
Oh there are tranny skins available - I have two in my game. Try InSim and the MTS adult site. I will warn you though, they tend to look like tarts.
No pinks for girls & blues for boys. Romantic interactions are ACR induced, so the initiator varies. The one who has the want, is the one who'll propose engagement/marriage. The last name chosen for a couple depends on who's family is more important/has the higher status in the neighborhood (and townies always take the name of the playable). Both genders study and work (if they want to) and overall do whatever the hell they want. For "biological reasons" the female is the one to give birth in heterosexual couples; in gay couples I just make one of them pregnant with the Sim Blender, if and when they roll the want to adopt (I want everybody's genetics to get a chance, adopted randomly generated sims would be useless). The one who wants the kid might stay home, but usually I just have a friend or relative babysit (I have a hack for that). Childcare and chores are for both spouses.
Male or female, the Family aspiration bores me to death (being a baby machine, how's that for a life purpose?!?), but I gotta say female Family sims annoy me even more than males, just because they're such a cliché.
I like stability. Just because an idea is a hundred years old or more doesn't make it invalid.
I've been married for going on 18 years, to the same man...and I like being a housewife and mother. So most of my female Sims are housewives. If they work, they take all the vacation days they can (sometimes hubby will take a vacation day), or they delay getting a job until the kids are teens.
If my beliefs make me sexist, then so be it. I'm personally sick of men getting the dirty end of it constantly...they get blamed for everything. I'm anti-misandry.
I will admit that I have some "gendered" faucets of my game. I'd say about 80-90% of the time both parents work, but if one stays home, it's always the mother. So that's definitely a traditional component in my game. The female always takes the male's last name. I definitely assign boy and girl rooms, but that's because I train my Sims to sleep in the same bed every night, and I know when I was little, I wanted a girly room. (But I have had tomboy-y girls who get more "boyish" bedrooms as a result). I actually haven't had any homosexual couples in my game, but that's not because I'm opposed, but more of because it's never really met my interest to play such a couple.
However, I "mix" the roles, so to speak, too. Actually, very few of my female Sims have the Family Aspiration - one my favorite male characters is a single-parent family Sim, who hates working as a lawyer but does it to support his son. Usually males and females learn to cook, depending on their personality. I don't have many female tinkerers, but then I don't have many tinkerers in general. And I think most of my female Sims wear pants. At least half do, anyway.
But I do think that, to an extent, anyway, our world views and understandings come out in our own Sim games.
I have a mod so that everyone keeps their own name upon marriage. Whether a Sim stays home with the kids or goes to work is based on aspirations and LTWs. So John Burb stays home while Jennifer Burb either has a career or owns a business. The Sim that cooks is the one that is least tired or has the most time. Same with household chores. (Unless of course there's a Sim that <i>really</i> likes cleaning or cooking, then they get priority.)
Any Family Sim will be the primary parent for teaching the toddler skills and helping with homework, but the other parent will have to do their fair share. (Unless I'm playing them as a workaholic who neglects their family.)
I don't avoid the pinks and the blues or the very girlie or very guy things, but it never occurred to me to restrict behavior by gender.
Originally Posted by AlexandraSpears
I personally can't stand the Romance aspiration because they don't want commitment, they just want to sail through life enjoying themselves (not that you shouldn't enjoy yourself...but at the expense of others?). I absolutely cannot stand when a married Romance Sim has a want to fall in love with another Sim.
A Romance Sim doesn't want to get married in the first place, so no wonder if they want to fall in love with someone else.
I never have any of my Romance Sims get married, and their partners in life are all also Romance Sims. Usually several of them tend to gravitate towards eachother, so I have households where many Romance Sims live happily together, everybody boinking everybody. That keeps them happy, and away from my committed couples. They're really fun to play.
Originally Posted by AlexandraSpears
I'm personally sick of men getting the dirty end of it constantly...they get blamed for everything. I'm anti-misandry.
I haven't seen men getting the dirty end of anything. And no one has blamed men in this thread, as far as I recall. Those are not the only options; the women being housewives or the men being blamed or getting the dirty end. How about neither of the sexes be blamed or getting the dirty end?! Both sexes doing what they want and being who they are, not just keeping up an outdated "tradition".
If a girl hates pink fuzzy kittens, or a guy hates sports and beer, that should be their business, nobody elses. Maybe the girl wants the beer and the guy wants the kitten. Nothing wrong with that.
(or maybe the girl does want the kitten and the guy wants the beer, or they both want the kitten or the beer. )
As for me, I'm a college student, a English major and I'd love to publish a book someday, but if anyone were to ask me, I'd say what I want most out of life is to fall in love, get married and have children. I mean, I swoon a lot more over wedding dresses and baby clothes than power suits and business cards. Hence the way I play my Sims. If my big goal in life were to be a high-powered executive, I'd probably have Sims with Fortune aspirations and active careers; if my big goal in life were to be a female Casanova, I'd probably have Sims with Romance aspirations and six lovers. For me, a big part of my love for TS2 comes from its capacity to act out fantasies.
Oh, and I forgot to mention this in my first post, but all this talk of last names reminded me - my Sims always take the last name of my legacy family, male or female. I see my kids' partners as marrying into my family, and I don't want a bunch of messy branches with different surnames - so whether the proposer is my male Sim or a boolprop'd male partner, the proposal always takes place on my Sim's lot. It's all about preserving the family name.
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