I would like to take a moment to thank the first person to show me what feminism is and how amazing it can really be. No, I’m not talking about my mother, who signed me up for New Moon Girls Magazine and brought me to self-esteem workshops for girls. I’m not even referring to my older sister, who alerted me to the fact that 90s lesbians, like Ani Difranco and the rest of Lillith Fair, were kind of cool (come on...at the time.) No no, I am talking about none other than Lisa Simpson! As merely a second grader, Lisa is probably the youngest and most fearless feminist TV icon of our time. “Animated and liberated,” Lisa is a little girl-power gem tucked inside a satirical cartoon world devoid of real values that is tucked inside our actual culture of decaying ideals. (It’s the Turducken of social commentary, if you will.) Can you imagine a girl character like that even being invented today? Sure, Meg Griffin has some Lisa-esque qualities, but she mainly serves as a placeholder for the butt of jokes about how pathetic teen girls can be. Lisa, on the other hand, reminded me I was a feminist before I even knew what the word meant.
Remember when she launched that crusade against the Malibu Stacy doll (i.e. Barbie) because it said something like, “Don’t ask me, I’m just a girl ha ha”? Remember when she dressed up as a boy so she could take math classes when Principal Skinner split up the school by gender? Remember when she realized she was a hippie and made friends that were liberal like her on the beach? (God, I love that episode.) Remember how she played saxophone, loved Simone de Beauvoir, was staunchly vegetarian, and aspired to be a Supreme Court Justice? So thank you, Matt Groening, for giving us a tiny, yellow, subversive, and intelligent feminist child to look up to over the past 20 years.