When I was young I use to play a lot of games. Zelda was my favorite, and I was better at it than all the boys in my family.
When I dreamed, sometimes I would dream I was in the body of Link, the playable lead male in all Zelda games. How weird it was to wake up and realize such a divide: my body a girl’s but in my dreams, fighting monsters to save the world, in a boy’s.
Now, I’m playing fewer games and spending more time writing. Writing in academic genres of course. Those that will eventually fulfil the requirements of a PhD and allow me to continue work as an academic.
When I write, sometimes I still feel like I’m being folded into another body. I understand all too well how the academic world I participate in has been strategically arranged to support the movement of certain bodies, certain ways of living, and and certain ways of being at the expense of others. And because of this, I’ve always felt an uncomfortable disconnect between my body, my experiences, my patterns of thought and the demands and expectations of traditional academic writing. I say this all, of course, while acknowledging the many privileges that come with my white and abled body.
As I’ve adapted to the goals of academia and academic writing, I tell myself the same advice we tell our students: we learn a discourse through participation. We develop identities through this participation. But even with this, I’m often left weary. Weary not only from trying to adapt, but also from how the goals that lead to academic success are often entrenched in institutional patterns that reproduce the same injustices we claim to be fighting against.
I write about these personal divides not just because. But because I hope for these personal anecdotes to make the significance of what follows more clear: this is, after all, a Web-text of the Month. And what I’m really here to talk about is NYMG: Feminist Game Studies, an inspiring new journal that recently published its first issue.
But what I’m really, really here to talk about are what steps that we, as digital rhetoricians, might take to disrupt the normative structures of academic writing and publishing. And how we may do so thoughtfully and ethically, as feminists. But this I will return to later…
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