Before I begin I should state that I am very uncomfortable posting regarding these readings. As a straight white male I always feels as if anything I have to say on the topic of gender will be considered at best misinformed and at worst blatantly misogynistic. And why shouldn’t I feel that way? As John Scalzi while receiving praise one moment for his criticism of white male privilege is condemned the next for constructing his argument using rhetorical strategies that Nakamura imagines reinforce the idea that the realm of gaming is an inherently male space: “As a man, Scalzi employs the discourse of gaming–leveling, “points,” dump stats–as a technique to appeal, specifically, to straight white men like himself, who “like women.” (And presumably don’t want to see them oppressed; cranky women just aren’t as fun for men to be around!).” It is precisely this sort of ridiculous nitpicking that drives men away from discussing issues of gender. Why should I openly converse with Nakamura about my feminist views, our shared desires to end gender inequality when she insists on seeing it as the mere appeasement of a “cranky woman”. I can assure you that if all I really wanted was to get in your pants (because that’s the only thing the big evil patriarchy really wants from women ever) I wouldn’t choose post-modern feminist theory as a topic of conversation. I don’t know that there is anything that can drop out of my mouth that won’t be considered sexist in some way in someone’s perspective. I find myself scratching my head because a large part of Nakamura’s issue was that women are not accepted as members of gamer culture without skepticism or even outright resistance. But if Nakamura believes that gaming rhetoric is automatically male gendered or “gender capital” for males than how can she blame us for our skepticism? Wouldn’t Aisha Tyler identify with Scalzi’s rhetoric? Does not Nakamura herself? It’s infuriating, because my issue is with only two paragraphs of Nakamura’s article. I agree with everything else she’s saying and the entirety of my blog post is concerned with defending this little blip of an issue. But it’s important to me. Because isn’t the whole premise of the article about rhetoric? In my years at college I have read a good deal of feminist theory (we’re kind of big on it here) and while I have almost never taken issue with feminist goals I find myself constantly at odds with feminist rhetoric. On the incessant need to paint all men as enemies and never potential allies. Because somehow, even unconsciously, in his defense of women, Scalzi “perpetuates the notion that men are automatic members of geek and gamer culture (which many men are not) and that women aren’t.” What utter garbage. Though he may be talking specifically to men, Scalzi never claims that his gaming metaphor is somehow less comprehensible to women. And he never intends it to be. Nakamura is simply projecting her own insecurities.
I suppose I should end by playing devil’s advocate against myself. If these little issues in Nakamura’s rhetoric bother me this much, I can only imagine how angry Nakamura must be when reading any sort of male rhetoric at all. I can forgive this tiny insult, because the rest of Nakamura’s article is quite good and full of important points. Just as I’m sure Nakamura forgives the perceived insufficiencies of Scalzi’s article in support of his larger argument.