The Asari As They
Standard disclaimer: I don’t have a degree in gender studies or linguistics. I’m just an androgyne who enjoys the Mass Effect universe and picked up bits and pieces over many, many playthroughs. A fair amount of this is headcanon and conjecture, supported by in-game references whenever possible. A mix of feminine and they singular/plural are used to reference the asari, with the discussion focusing on pronouns, sex and gender presentation, and some naming conventions. This also got way too long.
The first thing to remember about Mass Effect is that we aren’t just human beings playing Mass Effect. We are humans playing Mass Effect through a human perspective. In the single-player campaign, we never get to see through the eyes of a drell or a hanar, much less hear untranslated communication between any of the alien species. Everything that you - and Shepard - hear and say is translated through a complex and constantly updated program so the Commander doesn’t accidentally call the salarian Councilor a cloaca.
This is a pretty fascinating read. The writer is actually probably the main impetus behind my little foray into writing about Mass Effect within the last year, and especially getting me interested in writing about gender relations and the Asari. I like their take on the Asari especially, and if I decide to work on that paper again I’ll probably include some of this in my argument (with citations, of course).
I really need to get around to rewriting and submitting that Mass Effect paper, but I need to finish this behemoth on neutral pronouns first.