Due to geographical isolation and reliance on yaw as a food source, the Middlelander culture evolved both unique mating norms and unique biology compared to the other ethnicities present in the universe of Goda’s Slave. Notably, Middlelanders have an unusual sexual dimorphism (women are generally larger and stronger than men), have a propensity for multiple births, and exhibit a vastly different reproductive strategy. They also exhibit a completely different conception of gender altogether.
Fertile Females, Robust Females, and Non-Females
In the Middleland culture’s gender-sex spectrum, women are born primarily within a range of two polarities: fertile (Type 1 women) and robust (Type 2 women). While there is overlap and no hard line can really be established between the two, most women are polarized to one extreme or the other.
So-called fertile women are usually able to give birth and are generally taller than men, with strong lower bodies and a fierce protective instinct over children.
Robust women are almost always (though not always) sterile, bigger than fertile women, and much more top-heavy. In addition, many robust women have ambiguous features in their genitalia and will often have a small phallus (in addition to a “standard,” though non-functioning, female reproductive system). This is considered normal and expected; to Middlelanders, it is not a sign of androgyny.
Men in the Middleland are small, fertile during a relatively short period of their young adult lives (around age 16 to 35), and have taken on traits that may appear feminine or neotanous to the other cultures after eons of sexual selection pressure for youthful traits. They are generally socially (and physically) dominated by fertile women.
In the Middlelander culture, maleness is not seen as separate from femaleness, and in fact the word for “man” is merely the word for “woman” with a diminutive suffix. The word for “woman” itself is the same as the generic word for “person” and any specificity must be inferred through context. Within the teachings of traditional Middlelander mythology, all humans are born from the womb of the Goddess Mahara, and so all humans are in Her image: Fundamentally female (endowed with “mother” energy); it’s just that some have wombs, while others don’t–and so they must “borrow” them from those who do.
Due to a low survival rate for male embryos and fetuses, most Middlelanders are women. They outnumber men by a significant margin, making up roughly 70% of the total population. Of these women, most (around 75 – 80%) are “fertile” women, with the rest falling into the “robust” part of the spectrum.
Because they are statistical minorities, both men and robust women face discrimination of varying degrees in Middlelander society. Men in particular are unable to hold certain jobs and are unable to pass on wealth, since they cannot legally marry or start a household of their own.