At what point in your life did you consider yourself a feminist? Was it an event or a process?
There's two intertwined processes here. Like many academics, I have to deal with impostor syndrome all the time, so part of me growing to think of myself as a feminist was me learning to think past, "I'm not good enough at this to think of myself as a Real feminist yet." The other part, as a white male, was learning about how important it is to attend to the label itself - there are a lot of really important voices in feminism, but it's okay and important for a man to say "I'm a feminist too." It's only been recently, within the past few years, that I've been able to navigate both of these things - understanding that I can claim the label without either needing to be perfect or excluding more-deserving people from the space of feminism.
Who most influenced your awareness of your feminism?
The easiest person I can point to here is Melissa McEwan and her Shakesville blog. I've been a (largely silent lurking) reader of Shakesville for quite some time. It was her representation of feminism as it interacted with other issues of equity that got me started on this journey. While she rightfully credits the origin of intersectional feminism to other authors (Crenshaw), it was in writings on Shakesville that I first became aware of the idea, and McEwan has an excellent authorial voice that helped me understand the core ideas. I can say that this way of thinking about feminism as it connects to other axes of privilege. Shakesville also highlights a number of excellent other authors both in regular posts and as links in the frequent Blogaround segment, so while I read plenty of other modern thinkers and bloggers, it is often because of McEwan's posts that I became aware of them.
There's another person who continues to influence how I think about my own feminism and feminism in general. While it feels problematic in some way (perhaps a too-well-tread story) to attribute my feminist thinking to the women in my life, I am certain that my thinking about feminism is strongly shaped in conversation with my wife. She challenges me intellectually in a lot of ways, helping me to think more clearly about both the messy real-world challenges of feminism and the broader theoretical framing of feminist thought.
In what ways has your feminism informed your life choices?
While it has only been in the past few years that I've explicitly identified as a feminist, my life has been shaped by feminist thought in ways that reach far back to my early career and academic choices. I've always wanted to do *something* that shapes the world in a small way to be more equitable and accessible. I've worked my whole life involved in the education space, and that has always been motivated by this desire to help make sure everyone has the chance to engage with and succeed at the kind of education they find most interesting and exciting.
As I said, it's only been recently that I've thought about those choices through a feminist lens, and they're not entirely driven by only feminism. From my perspective as a straight, cis, white male, I think of feminism as a lens through with I can see issues of race, gender, sexuality and many other ways people can be oppressed or privileged. I've always had this underlying distrust of oppressive systems, and I've made life choices that try to either modify those systems or help people within the systems get as much as possible out of them.
In what ways do you share your feminism with others?
My feminism is tricky as a performative thing. If we think about feminism on a public stage, such as Twitter, I don't think it is my place to be injecting my own personal voice everywhere. As I already said, I'm a White guy. I feel like the best way I can contribute to the global dialogue (and therefore share my voices) is to find women, people of color, and other folks who are less-often heard and find ways to amplify those voices. In concrete terms, that means a lot of re-tweeting rather than original tweets.
On the other end of that, while I do have a podcast (shameless plug) and tweet occasionally, I think it's important for male allies to make sure that they are clearly supportive of feminist ideals. If other people can see that feminism isn't just a thing for women, that's important. So I do try to be as visible about my beliefs as possible, but I also try to balance that out with making sure I'm doing my level best to amplify others' voices, especially when they've already said something better about the thing I wanted to speak about.
Describe your vision of a feminist world.
A feminist world is one where we've seen and shed the oppression of patriarchy. A feminist world is one where everyone has bodily autonomy, where people have truly equal access to education (and not just the education, but the support systems that are needed to make use of that education), where people can enact gender, sexuality, and any other modes of identity they wish to enact and feel safe and supported doing so. A feminist world goes beyond just "equal pay" and recognizes that there's more about job compensation than pay. It may be that I'm conflating feminism with other ways of thinking about societal justice, but there we are. A feminist world is a world where we can all be safe and supported being who we really are.
How I Define Feminism:
I have an operative definition of feminism that aligns with my vision of a feminist world - thinking that helps us move toward that vision, maybe?
Or maybe, feminism is a mode of thought that highlights the influence of patriarchal thought on society and seeks to dismantle that influence in any way possible. That's kind of a dodge though - defining a thing in terms of some other undefined thing that is its opposite.
Maybe the best way is to combine the two. Feminism is looking at the world the way it is, and saying, "Well, what if it didn't have to be that way? What if it could be more equitable, more just? What are the societal constraints that keep things this way?" It's learning to see the artificial bonds we've placed on all of ourselves.
I was originally trained as a HS Science and Math teacher, and after teaching and figuring out that there's a lot of things I didn't know, I went off to grad school where I earned a M.S. in Computer Science and a Ph. D in Science and Mathematics Education. I spent some time as an academic, teaching future teachers about how to teach and think about science. Since leaving academia, I now work with a nonprofit organization (the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation) that focuses on supporting early-career Math and Science teachers where I help those Teaching Fellows think about using technology in their classroom.