Among Us shows a prevalent issue in online gaming

Players+are+misgendered+in+multiple+games%2C+and+Among+Us+is+just+one+of+them.

Pickist

Players are misgendered in multiple games, and Among Us is just one of them.

Anush Melikyan, Staff Writer

It is no news that Among Us has become one of the most popular games today. The game was released in 2018 but has gained immense popularity in the last few months. For those who are living under a rock Among Us is a social deduction game with 4-10 players. The game takes place in a space-themed setting in which players can take two roles, most being crewmates and a preselected number being imposters. 

The goal of the crewmates is to identify the imposter(s), find and report dead bodies, and complete menial tasks around the map. While the goal of the imposter is to kill crewmates and sabotage tasks. The crewmates win if everyone has completed their tasks before the imposter can kill them. Imposters win if there is an equal number of crewmates and imposters. Players can call an emergency meeting at any time to report dead bodies or any suspicious activity. 

During the emergency meetings common phrases such as “where” “who” “sus” and “not me” are seen. However, those phrases aren’t the problem; it’s the issue of players misgendering other players. 

Players don’t have a lot of time to discuss and type out sentences. Especially considering that most people play on mobile devices where the keyboard is landscape it is hard to type fast. Hence, many players will try to write as little as possible. When referring to others most players will use the pronouns “he/him/his” rather than the gender-neutral pronoun “they” because it saves them a few seconds.

In the few months that I have been playing the game, I have almost always been referred to with the pronouns “he/him/his”. Not only do players use wrong pronouns but they also assign people a gender based on the color they chose for their avatar. Almost every time I have played any player who chose the colors pink or purple was automatically assumed to be female. 

I never really corrected them for the sake of time because I thought it wasn’t such a huge problem. However, misgendering people online should not be an insignificant issue. 

Video games are often viewed as masculine. A recent article in Forbes magazine reported that throughout the industry executive teams are mainly dominated by males. “Of 144 executives in the Top 14 companies, 121 are men and only 23 are women,” the article reported. As the gaming industry is growing and becoming much more influential, females are poorly represented. However, not only is the problem about the poor representation of females but the LGBTQ+ community as well. 

In Among Us on many occasions, players are always thought to be either female or male. Players who speak up and ask to be referred to by the pronoun “they” are often ignored. “For the longest time, cisgender men have dominated the video game industry and have continued to be mistaken as the face of the entire gaming culture,” Paul De Leon said in an article on Hypebae.com. “This diversity problem not only prevents women gamers from gaining visibility, but it also hampers the development of a safe and inclusive environment for other minorities in the gaming space, namely the LGBTQ+ community.”

This not only applies to Among Us but another video game, Fortnite. Typically because the activities, mainly shooting one another, have been considered masculine, I have also been misgendered there as well. Multiple players referred to me with the terms “Bro” or “Dude.” Again, it personally didn’t bother me too much, but it wasn’t a pleasant situation to be in either. Similar to Among Us, any player dressed as a female or under a feminine name was considered a female. Even though the players mean no harm in doing so, it can cause the person who is being misgendered to feel uncomfortable. 

Among Us developer InnerSloth hasn’t mentioned any potential updates to target the issue yet. The next time you play a game, refer to others using “they/them” and spread the act to other players.