At One Point We All Rebelled”: Dr. Jessica N. Pabón Discusses Graff Grrlz

Jessica Pabón’s talk, “At One Point We All Rebelled”, takes place on the 5th floor of the Cathe­dral of Learning. Dozens of floor plans deco­rate the walls of the Gothic Revival room. The setting for a talk on graf­fiti and female masculinity is set.

Jessica Pabón begins her talk on graf­fiti grrlz and the perfor­mance of femi­nist masculinity by intro­ducing the precon­cep­tions and beliefs of how graf­fiti is struc­tured. The idea of women in graf­fiti shows a certain rebel­lion that merits a build of the lengths women go to be recog­nized in the commu­nity. These women rebel against the idea that cis-men own graf­fiti. According to Pabón, these women are rendered invis­ible in the graf­fiti subcul­ture. Pabón defines femi­nist masculinity as recog­niz­able mascu­line traits lever­aged for femi­nist means. Women in graf­fiti tend to prac­tice femi­nist masculinity as they try to estab­lish them­selves in the graf­fiti community.

Pabón inves­ti­gates and presents the complex­i­ties of being a woman in the envi­ron­ment of graf­fiti and hip-hop. She intro­duces each of the graf­fiti grrlz she inter­acts with and brings the audi­ence into a realm they may not have ever encoun­tered. The indi­vid­u­ality as well as anonymity of these women repre­sents an inter­esting dynamic in her talk. These women’s purposeful and repet­i­tive actions of ‘too much’ draw on the argu­ment of woman writers engaging in a sense of female masculinity.

The clas­sical aura of the room and the modern scope of the discus­sion was a pleasant juxta­po­si­tion. The ending period of Jessica Pabón’s talk included a time for ques­tions and comments from the audi­ence. They all were quite thought provoking though at times confusing. The one senti­ment that remained in this discus­sion was that all these people were inter­ested and willing to learn more on hip-hop, graf­fiti and gender dynamics fore­shad­owing a future rooted in under­standing more of the various cultures that inhabit this world.