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The Lack of Representation of Gay Male Couples is Disappointing

The Sims franchise has always been extremely welcoming and open to its gay and lesbian audience, allowing players to create same-couples since its debut; something which the franchise has stuck with - and expanded upon - ever since. With TS4, EA/Maxis has become increasingly vocal about their support of the LGBT+ community - going so far as to include Pride content in the game, adding new gender options and using same-sex couples in their marketing. While to some this may seem like no big deal, and just the right thing to do, I believe that EA/Maxis should be applauded for doing so. It was actually an extremely big deal (especially in TS1/2 and perhaps even 3 days) to allow the option to create and play as same-sex couples, given that The Sims is sold all over the world (including the Middle East, where homosexuality is illegal in many countries). And even just in the western world, attitudes towards being gay were far less accepting in the early 2000s than they are now.

For me, growing up gay, it was extremely affirming for me to be able to create gay couples in my favourite game; allowing them to get married and adopt a family - something which I aspired to (and still do). And while this is all fantastic on the Sims teams' part, there is something about the Sims 4's (and 3's) handling of gay Sims that feels off to me.

Pre-Mades

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We now have four pre-made, same-sex couples in TS4. But there's a disparity between them. Can you spot it? To the one gay couple introduced in Cats & Dogs, we have three lesbian couples (with one being introduced in Island Living and two being introduced in Eco Lifestyle). What is also significant is that each of the three lesbian couples have an adopted child, while the gay couple has a cute, little dog [ :confused: ]. The Hecking family seems to play on several stereotypes and tropes that plague gay characters in media: that gay men are self-absorbed and only have time for themselves, so would not make good parents but instead settle on a cute, little female dog that is their "baby"; that gay men are all attractive, athletic, fashion-forwards guys with great hair and tight shirts; and even their names "Brant" and "Brent" seem to suggest a comedic double-act that is used for light entertainment. Each of the lesbian couples have diverse stylings and backstories, and the inclusion of a child gives the impression that they are a "real family." But the Heckings are stuck in the trope of the catty reality TV contestant or Taylor Swift backup dancer - in short, everything you would want in your sassy gay neighbours.

A Quick Detour to TS3

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Going back a little to TS3, it's pretty clear that the seeds were already firmly planted. The base game shipped with Gobias Koffi - a strange, camp-looking man with a moustache and loud shirt who lives alone, prefers the company of his male friends and has a dead father named "Gaylord." When Aurora Skies came to the Store, many thought that the Valquists were going to be the first same-sex couple. Their bio proved otherwise, however; painting them the way a family member who has not accepted their gay uncle and his "friend" would - "they're inseparable," "they even live together," "one of them has adopted a daughter." In-game they were simply classed as 'friends' with only one man being their daughter's father. We didn't have to wait long for our first same-sex couple, however, as the Shears, a lesbian couple, came in Roaring Heights. While the Shears' bio mentions some prejudice the couple will have to face, they are shown the dignity of being classified as a couple and of both being mothers to their child in-game; unlike the Valquists were.

Marketing

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Just like with pre-mades, TS4 seems to favour female same-sex couples in its marketing. The new re-branded cover includes a lesbian couple, and a lesbian couple was used to advertise the first Spark'd assignment (as was a male/female couple, but notably no male/male couples). When going back a little further, the Pride promo shot included a male/female, male/male and female/female couple. Yet, once again, the male/male couple was the only couple not to have a child; reinforcing the theory I introduced earlier. And even further back than that, when TS4 was first launched, one of the gay Sims from the Pride promo shot was included in several promotional videos for the game. While he was never shown with a partner back then, Armand DiAggro was always stylised as being quite flamboyant. In the 'It's Amber' video, he is introduced as 'The Best Friend.' This seems to be a play on the gay best friend trope. Instead of being a fully realised character, he is simply used as a comedic side character; living up to the stale stereotype of the gay best friend who goes to your slumber parties and offers you boy advice.

Closing Thoughts

This thread isn't meant to attack EA/Maxis or any of the devs, or to suggest that they have any sort of bias. I know that the company has an extremely diverse team, and like I have previously said, they deserve applause for their handling of LGBT+ inclusion throughout the series. My intention instead for this thread was to share my perspective and to invite dialogue from anyone who would like to discuss this topic, to highlight representation issues that are not exclusive to the Sims but to all media; and to hopefully encourage the devs to one day include a gay couple that has a family and that does not rely on any stereotypes or tropes.

If you disagree with my post or are not interested in this topic, please respond respectfully or just move on from this topic. Thank you. :)

Comments

  • RouensimsRouensims Posts: 2,418 Member
    edited August 11
    I understand your concern. I think it reflects an unfortunate disparity in the societal acceptance of gay female relationships over gay male relationships. Movies and TV shows show women kissing far more often than men kissing.
    Ooh Be Gah!! Whipna Choba-Dog? Whipna Choba-Dog!! :smiley:
  • pammiechickpammiechick Posts: 11,748 Member
    It’s because the devs are men and they like women soooo...it’s no surprise they tend to make lesbian couples.

    It’s a crime, imo, because I and probably a heck ton of other straight women would adore more gay couples that aren’t cliche.

    Bottom line: straight men are the cause of this disparity no matter how “okay” they say they are with it.
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  • GlacierSnowGlacierSnow Posts: 590 Member
    @Simtanium You make some really good observations here. I agree.
  • NightlyCoffeeNightlyCoffee Posts: 3 New Member
    I agree! I'm a straight woman, but I really enjoy playing gay couples. In fact, I started my legacy family with a gay couple. I really hope we can see better representation in the future.
  • MovottiMovotti Posts: 7,349 Member
    Rouensims wrote: »
    I understand your concern. I think it reflects an unfortunate disparity in the societal acceptance of gay female relationships over gay male relationships. Movies and TV shows show women kissing far more often than men kissing.
    This!

    There's a lot of dislike for male pairings, but two women together is 'hot', in the minds of the knuckle draggers.

    Personally, I wouldn't mind a few more ready made male parings... Though, I don't often play with the ready-made sims, I prefer to make my own. My favourite male sim is gay... or gayish, might be bi. Now that's something that lacks representation, and would be harder to represent.
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  • SimtaniumSimtanium Posts: 118 Member
    @Chazzzy That's fine, you're entitled to your opinion. Perhaps this isn't a topic of concern for you, but statistically gay male couples are underrepresented in this game compared to lesbian (and obviously straight) couples.

    @Rouensims Absolutely! I didn't want to dive too deep into non-Sims related topics here, but I also feel that is related to the fact that same-sex female relationships are more socially acceptable.

    @pammiechick Interesting... That probably does have something to do with it!

    @GlacierSnow Thank you. :smile:

    @NightlyCoffee Aw, thank you. :heart: Well, at least we can make our own Sims be anything we want them to be!

    @Movotti I agree. There is often a "woohoo-ualisation" of lesbian couples in entertainment, while male/male couples are a bit harder to sell (in the mainstream). I don't often play with pre-mades either, but the disparity just stood out to me when the company prides itself on representation. I would love turn-offs/ons to return so we could craft our Sims' orientations in a non-invasive way. :smile:
  • comicsforlifecomicsforlife Posts: 7,234 Member
    we gotten very few premade lately and on top of that there all married so if you have any sims gay or other wise looking for love then your out of luck we're are the single dads and moms we don't have any of those or pregnant and signal we don't have any of those or single lgbt sims
    op Couples aren't the issue signal sims are
    the sims 4 isn't getting new whims right now and I think they have dropped them all together if we want new whims in sims 4 we need to tweet the gurus and tell them we like whims
  • silentcyborgsilentcyborg Posts: 181 Member
    @Simtanium I agree too, and you made some really good points. I also would like to see more diverse pre-mades and better bios (those s3 ones were yiiiikes).

    @comicsforlife , I agree with there needing to be more diverse singles, but think couples are also lacking too. Hopefully in the next packs we can have some of both.

    Tbh, I wish overall there was an option in cas where you could choose which gender/s your sims are attracted to, making it easier for players to create diverse sims too.
  • ChazzzyChazzzy Posts: 6,207 Member
    Simtanium wrote: »
    @Chazzzy That's fine, you're entitled to your opinion. Perhaps this isn't a topic of concern for you, but statistically gay male couples are underrepresented in this game compared to lesbian (and obviously straight) couples.

    Once again, I disagree.
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  • izecsonizecson Posts: 1,612 Member
    It kinda is.
    When can we get The Sims 3 Remastered Complete Edition 64 Bit?
  • DuvelinaDuvelina Posts: 1,546 Member
    edited August 12
    @Chazzzy I liked your original comment because I don't see the problem with the 'under-representation' in-game when you can create your own gay couples. But your second comment is kind of pointless. Why do you disagree? There's no value in commenting it twice without any sort of argument. The OP made a valid point regarding the statistics. How do you disagree with those statistics?
  • SimmerGeorgeSimmerGeorge Posts: 1,437 Member
    Chazzzy wrote: »
    I disagree.

    Okay what can I say, you won me over with your precise arguements. :lol:
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  • Horrorgirl6Horrorgirl6 Posts: 2,044 Member
    I don't think the devs are doing this on purpose.I don't think we need a even mixed of representation in media.We hardly get new sims with each pack.We get 11 at most.
  • pammiechickpammiechick Posts: 11,748 Member
    Chazzzy wrote: »
    I disagree.

    Okay what can I say, you won me over with your precise arguements. :lol:

    Bahahaaaa! Way to come back to a troll. :trollface:
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  • izecsonizecson Posts: 1,612 Member
    edited August 12
    I don't think the devs are doing this on purpose.I don't think we need a even mixed of representation in media.We hardly get new sims with each pack.We get 11 at most.

    I'm sure they dont do it on purpose,what im going to say isnt talking about romantic relationship but more on a platonic one; even today from what I observe; Some people think that women who kissed and hug another women is being perceived as sexy and cute, while men who do the same to his homies is just being called gay and another thing, it's very double standards, to think that people would assume women and women romantic relationship is more accepted in society and it reflected in The Sims.
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  • CAPTAIN_NXR7CAPTAIN_NXR7 Posts: 1,565 Member
    edited August 12
    I appreciate your concern, although personally I don't think this is done on purpose. Then again, I don't play with- or care much for pre-mades and I'm straight (unless life proves me otherwise), so maybe my opinion won't add much value to the conversation.
    But I'll say this:

    If the game becomes a Representation Game, well then half the globe will be disappointed. It will be a never ending game of disappointments and that kind of game will not end up being fun for anyone.

    Inclusion should start with the CAS Tool: For race/ethnicity, for gender identity, for relationships, for skin conditions or even disabilities.
    I don't believe that tool has reached anywhere near it's full potential but if anything needs to be represented that's where the work needs to be done first and foremost.

    I'd rather see all the devs work on a CAS overhaul and an attraction/personality system, than for them to try and create pre-mades just to ensure half the world is represented in this game. And still not everybody will be happy.
    Gay or not, males themselves aren't even represented properly because I don't even have the option to place one teeny weeny piece of hair on my sim's chest unless I get a mod for that.

    Use the tools that are there at the moment and create the sims that you want. Don't wait for somebody else to do it for you.

    After all these threads we'll probably find a married male couple with a little child living in a house in a neighborhood sometime in a future pack. I really hope this will be the case for everyone who feels that's needed.
    And when we have that, what's next?
  • ChazzzyChazzzy Posts: 6,207 Member
    edited August 12
    For all wondering why I disagree with these kinds of threads, read the wonderful explanation given below. There is no need to tag me any further in this thread and ask for clarification. :)
    Is there a reason why you can’t just make your own gay/lesbian families and not depend on EA to make them for you to cater to what you want? Sorry no offense but these post are ridiculous when you can make your own families the way you want. That is the point of the game to be creative. I realize it’s important for everyone to have the game the way they want it but that is up to you to make it that way not EA they gave you the platform to be creative now it’s up to you to use that platform to be creative and make the game how you want.

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  • SimtaniumSimtanium Posts: 118 Member
    edited August 12
    @comicsforlife I haven't noticed the lack of single pre-mades myself, but I'm only recently coming back to TS4 from a long hiatus. This thread was meant to draw attention to the disparity between the representation of male and female same-sex couples, though. Perhaps we will see some awesome pre-made singletons in a future dating pack!

    @silentcyborg Thank you. :smile: Yes, I would love to get turn-ons and turn-offs back as a non-intrusive way of doing this. I always made my gay Sims have turn-ons for facial hair and muscles and turn-offs for makeup in TS2. :lol:

    @Horrorgirl6 I can understand your perspective. I guess it's just a little bit disappointing when all I ever see in media is gay men being represented in a certain kind of way that doesn't reflect me, and I hoped the Sims would be a bit more humanising/respectful given its track record.

    @pepperjax1230 I can absolutely make my own families, yes. But the point of this thread was to illustrate the disparity between the representation of male and female same-sex couples, and how it is disappointing for a long-time fan and quite distasteful for EA to take this route when they have previously had more backbone when it came to this topic.

    @CAPTAIN_NXR7 You're entitled to voice your opinion but I think you're missing my point entirely. I personally wouldn't have been offended or upset if EA decided to never include any same-sex couples in the game at all. Like you say, I can create my own (and I actually usually play straight couples as I enjoy playing with genetics and creating families). However, when EA decided to start marketing this game as a way to "represent yourself" and became very vocal about its LGBT+ inclusion they opened themselves up tor this criticism. I am never one of those people who would say a straight person couldn't have a viewpoint on gay topics, but it likely is difficult to comprehend unless you have experienced it yourself. The portrayal of gay men in media is extremely monolithic and stereotypical, and actually quite insulting. Gay characters are usually shown as catty, comedic and promiscuous; and are never shown in a loving relationship or raising a family. Lesbian couples are much easier to include as they (often) appeal to straight male viewers and are more socially acceptable. It is very common to see lesbian couples shown raising a child. While this sort of thing is something I have come to expect from most other forms of media that claim to be "woke" but only push these issues in socially-acceptable ways, given the Sims franchises' history of being (dare I say) brave for including homosexual relationships when it ships all over the world, I expected better from them.

    @Chazzzy In future, please don't comment on my topics unless you have something constructive to add. Thanks.
  • KaeChan2089KaeChan2089 Posts: 4,944 Member
    edited August 13
    Is there a reason why you can’t just make your own gay/lesbian families and not depend on EA to make them for you to cater to what you want? Sorry no offense but these post are ridiculous when you can make your own families the way you want. That is the point of the game to be creative. I realize it’s important for everyone to have the game the way they want it but that is up to you to make it that way not EA they gave you the platform to be creative now it’s up to you to use that platform to be creative and make the game how you want.

    exactly...but I think these people want more representation in the game and rather bully and berate the team for not having enough...like dude...JUST MAKE YOUR OWN. Like....they could have not EVEN bothered with even putting gay pre-mades..ever think about that?

    Again I do not believe the team did this intentionally...you cannot please everyone.
    There is nothing stopping you for making your own.
  • SimtaniumSimtanium Posts: 118 Member
    @ClarionOfJoy @KaeChan2089 There are only two people shaming others for their opinion in this thread and coming across like bullies, and I am not one of them. Happy Simming. :smile:
  • KaeChan2089KaeChan2089 Posts: 4,944 Member
    Make your own families to represent what you want. That is what I do. I only really keep a few select premades that fit how I prefer and delete the rest. I make multiple families, especially for my favorite decades' save. The point of this thread was lost, because you can make your own and should not rely on EA to cater to your every desire.

    exactly why is this so hard to understand?
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