FEMINIST HULK = Smithie ’05

03Nov11

Feminist Hulk LargeI honestly don’t know where I’ve been. As a Smithie, feminist, and tweeter, I definitely should have known about FEMINIST HULK. Part comic hero, part feminist activist, he writes in all-caps about his quest for social justice:

  • HULK APPLAUD GIRL SCOUTS OF COLORADO FOR WELCOMING TRANSGENDER CHILDREN! THEY EARN A SMASH BADGE!
  • HULK HAVE CONFLICTED RELATIONSHIP WITH FREUD. IMPORTANT, INFLUENTIAL, BUT SOMETIMES A CIGAR IS JUST A SEXIST CREEP.
  • HULK APPROACH TO GENDER PERFORMANCE MUCH LIKE APPROACH TO FABRIC FOR DIY PURPLE SHORTS: FLEXIBILITY IS KEY.

Over the summer, the Ms. Blog did a couple of exclusive interviews with FEMINIST HULK and his “literary life-partner, J.” over the summer. Then, in August, it was revealed that the mysterious J, the persona and writer behind FEMINIST HULK was none other than Jessica Lawson ’05.

Here’s her answer about how she came to identify with feminism:

Wow, that’s a long story. The feminism I was introduced to in my childhood came relatively close to the stereotypes that keep so many people from identifying as feminist: It was an antagonistic battle between insultingly essentialist portraits of men and women. And, for a period of time, I identified with it, because I knew no other way to fight for social equity. But, by the time I reached college, I was feeling increasingly stifled, and found myself gravitating toward a masculinist approach to identity politics; I often disavowed my gender identity in a desire to be taken seriously. Obviously, that didn’t work either–it simply treated oppression as a system I could opt out of, which led to a lot of self-loathing. Fortunately, I went to Smith College, which is not only well-known for its feminist roots, but which had an incredibly warm queer community and—even more crucially—a vibrant infusion of transgender politics. Being presented with new ways of conceiving gender identity, in the middle of an environment in which my status as a queer woman didn’t marginalize me, gave me the freedom to reconcieve my own relationship to feminist politics. While the effects of this experience didn’t fully blossom in me until I reached graduate school, those years gave me a safe emotional laboratory to imagine a means of political engagement that fit me.

I love that this wonderful character turned out to be a Smithie!

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