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Gender and Clan, Part Two:
The Independent Clans

by: Mariel A Legacy Article from Sanguinus Curae

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The ancient Assamites considered themselves hunters, judge-sorcerers, and scholars. Even before the advent of Islam and the transformation of the most visible part of the clan into holy warriors, the Assamites prided themselves on their ability to fight, a role that was most definitively not open to women at the time. The judges relied on their social role for their sense of self, and few cities would accept a woman in such an important role. (There were, of course, exceptions, but those usually went along with a religious system incompatible with the Assamite worship, such as the priestess-judges of Mycenae.) The scholars had, perhaps, the most female members: though like the Brujah they might have had trouble finding suitable candidates, their close association with Islam during its golden age would have provided them with a far larger pool to choose from. Even the scholars, however, were certainly far fewer than half female, and the ancient Assamites as a whole are likely overwhelmingly male.

In modern times, there is a bit more of a difference among Assamite castes. The warriors might be assumed to remain mostly male, since more men than women have kill-capable combat skills, but the Assamite system of training implies that they do not look for people who already have the skills needed, just ones who have potential. Women in general have certain useful physical advantages, including better endurance and more resistance to pain. Additionally, women often have an easier time getting physically close to both males and females, because of cultural assumptions that women are gentle and non-violent. The warriors and assassins would find this very useful, and so there would likely be many more female warriors in the modern nights than in ancient times - though still fewer than the men. The sorcerers, like the modern Tremere, choose progeny based on their potential to advance in the magical arts, though unlike the Tremere they do not select for attitudes to authority as well; they seek out those who have strong wills and high intelligence, both of which are found both in men and in women. The scholars, on the other hand, select those who have already made a mark in their field. Unlike the Toreador and Brujah, they rarely choose rising stars, but rather those who shine most brightly. Despite the inroads women have made into academia and other high-prestige fields, until quite recently the acknowledgment and fame have gone almost exclusively to men, and so their gender proportions probably remain about the same as in ancient times. This leaves the Assamites with more male members than female, but with women making up a much larger proportion of the neonates than of the elders.


The Gangrel value independence, self-reliance, and a deep connection to nature. Historically, women have been seen as closer to the earth, likely the remnants of earth-goddess worship that survived in folk legends and peasant attitudes despite the church's best efforts to stamp it out. Until the Industrial Revolution, they worked the soil by their husband's sides; when their men were lost to war, as soldiers or as victims, they scrounged, scrabbled, and somehow kept the family fed. While the ancient warriors of the clan are mostly male, the majority of elder Gangrel are therefore likely female.

During and after the Industrial Revolution, women's role changed to be, in Victorian terms, "the angel of the house." Women were expected to keep house, mind the children, and please their husbands. They were expected to act like hothouse flowers that could not bear the touch of the night air, relying on their men for everything. While this change did not extend to every rural community, it was men who gained fame as explorers, hunters, cartographers, and traders. For this reason, most Gangrel of this time period are male. In modern nights, the women's movement has encouraged self-reliance among women; men and women alike engage in long hikes or extreme sports. On the other hand, several communities that the Gangrel draw from are mostly male - survivalists, mercenaries, and the like. Modern Gangrel have more men than women among their number, but not by much, since the members of these heavily male groups tend to be more reclusive and less likely to Embrace in turn.


In terms of numbers, there are only a few more male Giovanni than female, but their roles tend to be highly defined. More than anything, the Giovanni see themselves as a family. This is both because of their relative youth as a clan, and because of their patterns of Embrace. Every family needs both mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, and so the Giovanni tend to choose both men and women to fill out their ranks. However, the male and female members tend to fulfill different family roles. Both because of their background as a rich merchant family and because of traditional preconceptions of the male role, the men tend to be in positions of authority. They are the mob bosses, the business leaders, and they likely have similar roles within the Giovanni hierarchy: they deal with all the clan business, especially its mortal business, and have the final say in the interests of the clan. Because the Giovanni Embrace is given only with permission of the elders of the clan, this system is quite effectively self-perpetuating into the modern nights, as most of the elders who care for such things are male.

There are, of course, a few female Giovanni who take on business and leadership roles, but in general, the female Embraces tend to play a different role. Many take on traditional female roles of enablers, secretaries, administrators, and organizers; even the role of motherhood and training is available to Giovanni women. However, there is a second set of roles the female Giovanni can fill. Women, because of their connection to birth, have long been seen as the ultimate keepers of the life cycle in many cultures (see Frazier's The Golden Bough). They are often seen as having a special relation to death and to the mystic aspects of it. Therefore, while the scholarly necromancers are more likely to be male, there is almost certainly a strong tradition of female necromancers as well, who are not involved in the business end of the Giovanni empire, but rather work within the realm of death to further Giovanni goals.


Although an older version of the Path of Paradox had the Embrace of a woman as one of the cardinal sins, the Ravnos share the family orientation of the Giovanni, seeking those who will best benefit the Roma. To this they add their own unique unpredictability, which means that even in ancient times, many women were chosen for the Ravnos line. While men were often the mortal leaders of a Roma kumpania, women were most often the seeresses and mystics who were the spiritual leaders of the group (viz. Isabel Fonseca). Both roles were likely seen as necessary among the Ravnos, both in modern night and in ancient. However, this alone, especially in ancient times, would mean that there would be far more male Ravnos than female: there are only so many spiritual leaders a group can handle, after all.

However, in modern nights, things are somewhat different. The unpredictably criminal nature of the clan means they appreciate those who have a certain elan and disregard for conventional rules. While more men than women tend to fall into this category -- certainly before 1960, though much less so today - there have always been female tricksters, as well as more harmless social eccentrics. From spies like Mata Hari to madams like Margaret Clap, women have been participants in human nature's more unsavory activities. According to Patricia Pearson, women have similar criminal impulses to men, though they are less often punished for them (due to the preconceptions of judges and the like about what women are capable of doing). The Ravnos would almost certainly take advantage of such a thing. Modern female Ravnos, therefore, are not as limited in their roles as the ancient ones, and there are many more of them - though likely not half the clan.


The Setites see themselves as servitors of Set: some serve him spiritually, as priests and leaders, while others serve him through spreading corruption and bringing others to serve Set. The clan's self-concept, possibly because of its religious nature, has not changed much over time. However, the way it can best be fulfilled certainly has changed, and therefore so too has their choice of childer. In ancient Egypt, both priests and priestesses served the gods and goddesses. While the priests were the primary ministers to the gods, and the priestesses to the goddesses, even a male god such as Set would have had a few female servitors, seen as consorts of the god. This means when the Setites chose their spiritual leaders, they would have been primarily male, but some women could certainly have been included in this group. Similarly, the spread of corruption and service to the old gods was not seen as something gendered. Men and women could both seduce, addict, and the like. For these reasons, ancient Setites were moderately evenly balanced, though with some bias toward men in the priesthood and more even balance among the 'practical' Setites.

All that changed with the advent of Christianity, extending even to the modern day.

Despite their clinging to the old ways, there was at least some Christian influence on Egyptian religion. This likely manifested among Setites in two ways. First of all, the priesthood became even more heavily male: the Christian assumption that only male priests could be close to the god fell on receptive ears, since there was already a gender bias there. Second, the external agents of the clan -- the corrupters, if you will - became much more heavily female. This was partly an reaction to the medieval assumption that women were the root of all evil: when faced with people who believed this, the Setites would be foolish not to take advantage of it by providing women who would actually play this role. However, this belief may also have quietly influenced the Setites to the point where women were actually seen in the clan as better at spreading depravity. For this reason, Setites embraced in the last thousand years are highly gender divided between priests and agents, with more agents then priests and therefore more female than male.

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