This isn't because I am woman. This is because I am human.
This may not specifically be about gaming, but should be applied in everyone's story.
As I have positioned this blog to be around the contextualization of stories in gaming, or the perpetuation of the player as an integral part of the story element in gaming culture, or what have you to interpret the piece of words that I have woven together here to convey an aspect of criticism and insight, this post does not fit. That is not to say that this post is not just as important or conceptual to apply in all areas of our lives, including the gaming sphere and cultural implications of gender/race/class diversity within gaming, but that it is written out of anger at the execution of what language is perceived in producing within spheres of gender orientation.
To contextualize and, rather, clarifying what the hell I am even talking about, there is a misconception about specific language as being feminine or masculine. However, I do not want to imply that languages that connote a specific gender to a word are wrong in any sense; rather, I am addressing words that connote either gendered topics or career paths, sexuality, and other areas of conveyance, as the root of a gendered society. Words are not necessarily the culprit here, but how the words have come to connote anything in particular rather than simply denoting.
Point?: Looking at "What do Girls Dig?"
Bethany Nowviskie's "What do Girls Dig?" approaches data mining and the gendered field prescribed to that area of expertise. She provides background context as to why she was motivated to consult this topic by the lack thereof women found within the data mining field, specifically in conferences regarding the area. She perpetuates this lack of women in the field to the language of "data" and "mining" being used, as a "brogramming" way of speaking. But what does this mean? She is flippant in her writing and makes fun of the categorized "feminine" activities that would encourage women to take part in DH and data mining, but all the same I have an issue with the end-all of her message: language being used is deterring women.
Well what language, then, would be better? How is "data" and "mining" as less feminine than it is more masculine? I do not understand how women could perceive something such as terminology of "data mining" to be perceived in such a negative way to connote some hardcore statistical area of technological innovation blah. Why is such terminology perpetuated in such a way?
As a woman, though white and privileged in this way, I do not perceive any specific word to condemn my ability or inability to do something because of my gender. Rather, I am able to use any terminology, word, connotation, denotation, I want regardless of how it may be "gendered" within culture. Why are women so ready to perceive specific terms as masculine when they do not connote anything masculine within their terminology or definition?
Rather, I feel that by perpetuating there is a difference in how words are perceived, words that are not specifically sexual, is furthering this misconception of womanhood and women in specific fields of study and intensifying this idea that women have of themselves of not being "good enough" or "qualified" for certain fields.
Do not change the language of a field for me, a woman, just because someone feels this will solve the issue. No. Do not feel inclined to readily adapt more acceptable or widely understood terminology because someone out there thinks that I feel ousted. No. Do not make a special accommodation for me. No. Women of all sexuality, race, class have a right to associate themselves with words of their choosing, and should not be perceived as not relating to terminology simply because of the "difficult" connotations and implications of words like "data" and "mining" are thought to have. No.
Why Am I Angry?
This is why I am angry. By abusing certain words, they begin to associate with certain genders, classes, races, and distinguish those outside specific spheres where the terminology is used. By perpetuating that scientific jargon is specifically masculine oriented is only stigmatizing this already perceived notion explaining that the lack of women in STEM fields is because of the competitive nature of women v. women, or that masculine dominated fields are so dominated because women are not fit. Why feed into this negativity that is only working to hamper women upward and progressive mobility?
Do not perceive that I need any other language used to describe a specific field of study for my benefit. "Data mining" or "text analysis" or "digital humanities" is not sexually provocative, not insulting or demeaning. Why is this being perceived as primarily masculine or difficult? Is it because women are wont to pit themselves against each other, to convey a specific type of competition? Do we impede our own upward mobility? What is it? No man is going to use scientific jargon against me because I will throw my literary criticism and analytical and theoretical jargon right back at him, or her, or them, because that is my area of expertise.