Name: Marina McCoy
(Classes Taught): PULSE; Perspectives; Plato’s Republic; Plato’s Dialogues; Rhetoric: Truth, Beauty, Power; Intro to Feminist Philosophies; Love and Friendship in the Ancient World; Women, Nature, and Ecology.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I teach in the philosophy department and have been at Boston College for thirteen years now. I am a mom to two wonderful children, well, teens, and married to a print and web designer who also works at BC.
2. What are you most passionate about?
First and foremost, my family. Might sound like a funny thing for a feminist to say as her first priority, but it’s true. I’d never trade being a mother for anything else I’ve done. But I feel called to my work, too. Teaching students is a true passion and I continually learn from them. The college years are an exciting time in a person’s life to witness, as people discover more and more of who they are and the depth of what they have to offer the world. That’s a beautiful thing to see. I love doing prison ministry with a group of men I’ve visited for about seven years. Working with them has made me passionate about prison reform. I’ve found myself surprised by how much I enjoy writing, too, which is not something I took as much pleasure in while in graduate school. I feel blessed that there are so many things that I care about and that I have the opportunity to do what I love. I’m grateful.
3. How do you define “feminism”?
One of the points I make clear in my Intro to Feminist Philosophies class is that feminism isn’t a single set of ideas but rather a diverse set af approaches to questions of gender, and increasingly also to the ways in which gender intersects with race, class, and global economic inequity. In the public mindset, feminism is often associated with liberal feminism or radical separatist feminism, but there is an incredible range of thinkers who self-identify as feminist. That being said, my favorite definition of feminism is a well-worn one: “a philosophy that advocates the idea that women are fully human.”
4. Why do you identify yourself as a feminist?
Women still suffer because they are still not fully acknowledged in the wholeness of their humanity. The message is sometime subtler now than in the past, but I think we still have expectations of women that we don’t hold of men. At least, we still see the masculine as the norm and whatever is female or feminine as a departure from the norm, instead of seeing both as legitimate and important parts of the human experience. I’m also increasingly concerned about race and global inequity. Talking with students over the years has made me much more aware and passionate about racial inequity and the need for healthy and caring discussions about race between everyone. It’s hard to imagine caring for justice for women but not caring for justice for everyone. Tackling racism has to be a feminist issue for women of all colors and backgrounds.
5. Who or what inspires you?
Jesus is my model of what it means to be fully human, though I don’t claim to live up to it. His compassion and care for everyone, especially those on the margins or who don’t quite fit into social expectations, that inspires me. Also, the natural world of plants, trees, animals, the ocean, probably helps me to have the most perspective on what is long-range. Watching the seasons change or the ocean tides come and go helps me to see the value in change and process over the long haul rather than focusing on short-term successes or failures. The language I would use is that God’s activity working through all things, not just human beings. Knowing that God keeps working, as we “plant the seeds” as parents, educators, friend, is a great comfort in the face of day-to-day challenges.
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