Hoochie is reborn, this time as The Hoochie Media Project — a ‘zine, blog, and Reader. In 2007 the project began as a feminist editorial collective based at Boston University. It was founded by Celie Hart, Gili Malinksy, Maria Thurrell, Meg Falls, and Emily Calvin, a group of friends who together published four ‘zine issues and maintained this blog.
In 2010, it was revived by Sophie Buonomo, and again in 2013 by Dana Barnes and Madeline Aruffo.
In 2016, once again the project was brought to life by Christian Rose — with a new direction for Hoochie publication: that of an undergraduate anthology. Later, the title of ‘anthology’ evolved into ‘reader’ in an attempt to better describe what we want the publication to be: a personal, accessible tool for spreading women’s studies work, something that can be carried in a backpack or handbag. Our renewed Hoochie reader makes no pretensions of being an encompassing work; women’s studies is a diverse and evolving area of activity. Instead, the new Hoochie Reader is a collaboration between students to present this type of publication to the public. This is a reader of women’s studies for undergraduates at Boston University and around the world, as a platform for publishing excellent undergraduate work in a peer-reviewed, professional format.
Note that in addition to the great leaders of its past, much of Hoochie’s history (from 2007 onward) owes its vitality to Zachary Bos.
Now, Annie Jonas heads the project and serves as editor-in-chief for the Readers’ second issue. Johannah Coichy is the president of HoochieACTIVE, a new sister-group to Hoochie. At the end of the day, we’re a hopeful group of BU students eager to share the insights and inspirations available to us.
The Origins of Hoochie: A Little About Our Name
by Emily Calvin
“I went to work and the office girls/ were all burning their poetry./ It wasn’t good,/ but in the neighborhood,/ now they’re all just a/ Hoochie Woman.” Tori Amos’s song “Hoochie Woman” was featured on her 2005 album, The Beekeeper. While the song itself was not exactly about the reclamation of derogatory terms, in 2006, when I gathered a team of feminist writers and artists to create a feminist magazine at Boston University, that is exactly how we decided to use it. I think personally, the negative response I initially got from so many women when I originally proposed the name fueled my determination to name this magazine after that powerful Tori Amos song. And after much deliberation over the meaning and effect the name would hold, we all came to embrace and love the name.
Merriam-Webster defines “hoochie” as slang that means, “a sexually promiscuous woman,” and we all liked the idea of embracing female sexuality as a positive, as opposed to a negative slang. While this could not be categorized exactly as reappropriation, since “hoochie” seemed to have originated as a slang and nothing else, the name choice was less about the actual word and more about the concept behind it. Yes, we wanted to show that we were not afraid to celebrate female sexuality, but also, we were not afraid to be bold. A sexually promiscuous woman is an explorer—she explores her pleasure, she explores her body, she explores intimacy, and she explores what it means to be a woman in modern society. That was what we were trying to do with Hoochie Woman. That was why the original logo had a little girl with a telescope climbing on top of the words “Hoochie Woman.” She represented our need to explore—our need to climb on top of the mountain of social constructs and look closely at issues like gender and sexuality. The girl in the image was also wearing a dress and her panties were showing, making her a “hoochie” according to society’s standards. However, she was also a little girl who should not be sexualized or embarrassed of her undergarments, so instead, she explored her world without shame or reservation. Her back faced us because she had no concern for what we thought of her.
Personally, I aspired to be that hoochie woman, and we all wanted to create a community of women who were not afraid to be “hoochies,” however they chose to define it. We wanted to create a word that could mean anything, as long as it was positive. We wanted to give women a word with which to proudly define themselves, and we decided that word was “hoochie.” Almost every woman can identify with being called a “slut” or “hoochie” at some point in their lives, and we wanted to tap into that experience and show women that it was okay to be whatever they wanted to be, including a hoochie. We also wanted to create a space where women would be safe to talk about their experiences without shame because shame stunts growth and discovery, and we wanted to discover ourselves. I think, in a sense, we were all in search of our inner hoochies and needed a space where it was safe to embrace her. We tried to carve out that space through our words, our art, our images, our thoughts, our magazine. I can only hope it has done for others even half of what it did for me as a young, burgeoning feminist who needed a space to find her voice. I found it in Hoochie Woman, and if it shows even one more woman her strength and voice, then it has done its job.
I also recommend reading Zachary Bos’ blog post on the topic.