“Your daughter is really pretty,” he said. I visibly startled at his statement. How did my mid-20’s male student know anything about my 4-year-old daughter? When asked, he explained that he searched me on social media, did google searches, and connected the “digital dots” to find pictures of my family. That’s the day I silenced all any public social media accounts. You see, I’m very wary of “context collapse”—I want my professional life and academic life separate. Period.
Maybe it’s my background making me overly cautious. Again. Twenty years in the anti-violence against women movement has its’ effects, and I’ve found anxiety to be one of them.
Discussing identity means we must also analyze the social context of that identity. Teaching sociology and gender studies in the current political and social climate can be unnerving (at best). Angry students are commonplace in these classrooms—but now those angry students feel empowered to act. I know I’m not the first female professor to be followed to her car…. Right?
I understand that I could create professional social media accounts; however, as a full-time, part-time lecturer, that smells like unpaid labor– more time stolen 30 seconds at a time with re-tweets and “likes” and online banter.
So, I’m going to leave my personal life behind the curtain. That beautiful 4-year-old daughter? She’s turning 9 in July—and she totally kicks ass. And my focus during #DigPINS? Boundaries. What are my boundaries? What am I willing to give, and what do I need to hold back? Stay tuned.