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FEMINIST HULK SMASH SEXISM

Posted by Christopher Shea  June 15, 2010 03:09 PM

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What's big, green, intensely miffed, and highly enamored of the UC-Berkeley gender theorist Judith Butler? As more and more Twitter-users have been learning, it's the Feminist Hulk, whose worldview is aptly captured in his Twitter bio: "HULK SAYS [down with] PATRIARCHY. HULK HERE TO SMASH GENDER BINARY."

Feminist Hulk appeared on the scene in May and already has 15,000-plus followers, who revel in retweeting his all-caps feminist broadsides and pro-Theory aperçus--rendered, of course, in Hulk-speak. The comp-lit professor Butler (whose book "Gender Trouble" this Hulk brandishes in his Twitter profile pic) famously argues that gender, as opposed to biological "sex," is shaped by performative acts whose outlines are usually dictated by society but which can be exuberantly re-invented by creative individuals. The Hulk shares this worldview, and, what's more, he carries the insight about the arbitrariness of seemingly "natural" arrangements into other arenas.

HULK USE ALL-CAPS. HULK CHOOSE NOT TO IMPOSE HIERARCHY ON LANGUAGE. PLUS, BIG HULK FINGERS MAKE SHIFT-KEY PROBLEMATIC.

Although, as he told Ms magazine, during a recent Q & A, "HULK MAKE CAPITALIZATION EXCEPTION FOR bell hooks," the feminist writer who renders her name that way.

Ms. asked the Feminist Hulk if one of his goals was to democratize high humanities theory, which is often criticized for its purported inscrutability and its distance from the lives of ordinary men and women. The Feminist Hulk did not disagree, but the answer was ambiguous:

HULK LOVE POLYSYLLABIC WORDS. HULK NUZZLE BIG GREEN FACE INTO RICHLY WRITTEN FEMINIST TEXTS. ALSO, THIS JUST HOW HULK TALK.

Part of the humor, of course, comes from hearing feminist theory spouted by such a hypermasculine figure. So, Ms. asked, how does the Hulk think about his own gender and sex? "HULK ... IDENTIFY AS MALE," he affirms. But "HULK COULD BE GENDERQUEER. DEFINITELY HAVE GENDERQUEER POLITICS."

After that unusual moment of introspection, it was back to doing what he does best: forcefully annihilating retrograde notions about feminism and gender. As he tweeted a mere hour ago, "DEEPLY ENTRENCHED PATRIARCHAL IDEOLOGIES HARD TO SMASH. THAT WHY HULK ALWAYS STRETCH FIRST."


Thumbnail image for feminist_hulk.JPG

Don't anger him (by, say, talking about evolutionary psychology)
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About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
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