A superhero has been unmasked! Namely, the patriarchy-smashing Twitter superhero of feminism, the Feminist Hulk (@feministhulk)! In an interview with Ms. Magazine, the Feminist Hulk came out as 28-year-old Jessica Lawson. Lawson is a new mother as well as a Ph.D English Lit candidate at the University of Iowa. Lawson describes herself as a “white, vegan, queer, woman-identified female.” She released the Feminist Hulk into the Twitterverse over a year ago, and since then he (the Feminist Hulk) has gained more than 45,000 followers. With pithy, all caps 140-character messages the Feminist Hulk has unleashed some powerful feminist theory and social critique onto Twitter.
Lawson describes how the idea first came to her through a conversation online. She was talking with her friend one day about “someone’s inconsiderate, entitlement-driven behavior,” and about how sexism was definitely involved in that behavior. Then she added in an Incredible Hulk voice, “HULK SAYS FUCK PATRIARCHY. HULK SMASH GENDER BINARY. ALSO, HULK THINK JUDITH BUTLER IS THE SHIT.” And from that comment the Feminist Hulk uttered his first words.
When asked why she decided to reveal the Feminist Hulk’s identity now, Lawson cites the birth of her baby as the main reason. She explains, “I liked the idea of releasing an interview following the birth, just to give something to Hulk’s readers while I recovered and bonded with my child (since daily posting was likely to go out the window for a while)…” Lawson also says how in the midst of many changes in her life, including being a new mom and finishing her dissertation, she wanted her relationship with the Feminist Hulk to change too. Although she plans to tweet less often, hopefully this doesn’t mean that she’ll stop tweeting altogether.
Teachers have also begun to use the Feminist Hulk to discuss Feminist theory among other ideas. Lawson explains that she thinks of Feminist Hulk as, “…less as a translator for theory (which puts all the power in Hulk’s hands, and I don’t dig that) and more as a place people can go to test out their own ideas, regardless of how much or how little theory they may have been exposed to before. If that just makes Hulk the green doorman for an internet speakeasy of feminist brain-nuzzling, so be it!” Which again makes the Feminist Hulk a perfect tool for initiating discussion in classrooms. Whenever teachers she knows have used the Feminist Hulk in classrooms, Lawson has asked them to keep her gender identity a secret.
BUST is excited to learn the true identity of the Feminist Hulk. As you know, we ran a Feminist Hulk comic and have been fans for a long time.
I’ve leave you with some of my favorite tweets of the Feminist Hulk’s. But all the tweets are brilliant, so if you haven’t started following on Twitter I highly recommend it:
“HULK FASCINATED BY ROLE OF GENDER PERFORMATIVITY ON MAG COVERS IN CO-OP GROCERY CHECKOUT. GET WEIRD LOOKS WHEN COMMENT”
“CHOOSING BETWEEN TWO RIGIDLY DEFINED GENDERS: LIKE TRYING TO PAINT PORTRAIT WITH ONLY MAUVE OR TEAL. HULK SMASH BINARY!”
“HULK HEART bell hooks! HULK SMASH IN ALL CAPS, hooks MARSHALL POWERS OF LOWERCASE, EVERYONE AIM TO EMPOWER THE MARGIN!”
“HULK WONDER IF STRAIGHT FOLK EVER GET ASKED IF THEY ARE "SURE" ABOUT ORIENTATION, OR NOT TO BE SO "BLATANT" ABOUT IT.”
Feminist Hulk’s Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/feministhulk