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If you caught our first episode of The Missfits, you already know I hold She-Hulk in high esteem. Gamma radiation-powered lawyer who represents superheroes and villains… What’s not to love? Beyond her superpowers, She-Hulk has the ability to teach us many lessons about accepting your body for what it is.

She-Hulk has no problem with her giant, Amazonian, green form. Shulkie is big and beautiful and knows it. She relishes in the power, using every opportunity to live it up. Shulkie parties hard, bangs models, sunbathes topless, and wears bright, flashy clothing. She is the picture of self-confidence with the body to match it.

She-Hulk in bed

Jennifer Walters, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to enjoy the same self-confidence.

Before receiving the blood transfusion from her cousin, Jennifer was a mousy lawyer. Sure, she was good at her job and rattling cages, but Jennifer tended to blend into the background rather than take center stage. There is nothing wrong with this tendency to minimize yourself; different personalities require different things from their environment. What’s interesting about Jennifer’s approach to life is how massively different it is from She-Hulk’s.

She-Hulk and Jennifer

To start, after the gamma radiation exposure, Jennifer actively chooses to stay in She-Hulk form. In being She-Hulk, Jennifer is choosing a stronger, more powerful, glamorous life. Through She-Hulk, Jennifer erases her vulnerability. The She-Hulk form is a force to be reckoned with. Jennifer is a target.

She-Hulk to Jennifer

So, does the change in personality a result of the change in appearance? Did Jennifer always have this bold personality buried deep within, or did the transformation call for a new perspective on life. Fans can sit around and theorize about how Jennifer’s personality as Shulkie relates to her own. But one thing’s for sure: the change in body matches the personality.

There is something to be said about a woman’s relationship to her body. Too often self-esteem is tied to how one looks, which can be unhealthy. She-Hulk learns this lesson in accepting herself as Jennifer Walters (check out Dan Slott’s run). Society tells women to take up as little space as possible, to be svelte and tiny and cute. There is nothing wrong in a body type that is naturally like this; however, for those who are not built in that way, this type of thinking can do serious damage. Instead, Shulkie and Jennifer teach us a valuable lesson: love the body you have. If you don’t love your body, work on that. Jennifer learns to appreciate her body and love the things it can do that She-Hulk cannot.

I am Jennifer

About The Author

Columnist and Talking Comics Co-Host

Mara Wood holds a Ph. D. in School Psychology. Currently, she works for a public school system assessing students for educational placement. Her research focus is comic books and how they can be used in therapy and educational settings. She tends to spend most of her day reading comic books, writing about them, and thinking about comic books (kind of a one-track mind…). Mara’s other hobbies include reading manga and Star Wars novels, and playing Dungeons & Dragons. She co-hosts Talking Comics and Talking Shojo, and you can find her on twitter (@megamaramon) or on her blog, marawoodblog.com.

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