Our new season is now open: Spring 1677 !
This is an Opt In article
Gender Virtues and Weaknesses
Men, as the stronger sex, were thought to be intelligent, courageous, and determined. Women, on the other hand, were more governed by their emotions, and their virtues were expected to be chastity, modesty, compassion, and piety. Men were thought to be more aggressive; women more passive.
These differences were echoed in the faults to which each sex was thought to be prone. Men were prone to violence, obstinacy, and selfishness, while women's sins were viewed as the result of their tendency to be ruled by their bodies and their emotions, notably lust, excessive passion, shrewishness, and laziness.
Expectations of male and female conduct derived from these perceived virtues and weaknesses. In marriage, men were expected to rule over their wives, and all property (except in some cases property acquired by the woman before marriage) belonged to the husband. Men were the primary wage earners, while women were expected to be primarily responsible for housework and childcare, though both sexes participated in all these activities.
Women's paid employment was typically low status, low paid, and involved fewer skills and responsibilities than men's. The types of work available to women were confined to a few sectors of the economy where the work could be seen as an extension of women's domestic responsibilities, such as domestic service, the clothing trades, teaching, and nursing. In politics, women possessed virtually no formal rights, though they could exercise influence informally. Beyond employment, women's public roles were generally confined to the exercise of their moral and domestic virtues through participation in religion and charity.
Gender Difference in Punishment
This even went as far as to influence the punishments inflicted upon criminals of either gender. For instance women were less likely to be persecuted (they were less dangerous to society) and even if they were, their sentence was often milder or if they were pregnant (or claimed to be) completely tossed out. A practice known as pleading her belly. In addition women who committed treason were not drawn and quartered (which would have exposed their bodies), but rather modestly burned at the stake.
Playing a Female in the Game
It is sometimes said that playing a female PC in our game is a flaw in and of itself. Woman's Lot in the 17th century is certainly not always cheerful to modern eyes. A 21st century woman or man might at times struggle with facing the challenges of ladies in our game.
Yes, there are clear disadvantages. As a woman you cannot hold office. You will not hold a title of your own, unless by extreme exception you've been granted one by the King and you cannot sit in the House of Lords. You are supposed to be obedient and demure to men. You are not supposed to enter into swashbuckling, tavern brawls and other forms of adventure (unless you dress as a man). At times it may seem like romance & the marrying game is the only theme available to you.
However AoI is a game of intrigue, in which the social aspect features heavily. Women in this have as much options as men have. They are not the helpless victims we sometimes like to think they are. Things to explore:
- Making use of the influence of a father, brother, husband or son
- Running a household including managing estates
- Seeking power or influence by selling favours
- Seeking or maintaining an intellectual/artistic circle
- Seeking or maintaining a social circle
- Excelling in a feminine hobby such as playing the harpsichord or singing
- Going against what society expects