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Drag Queens

(32 Posts)
feminazi Sat 31-Dec-16 11:07:54

This was something I hadn't given much thought to until recently, but with the way that trans issues have blown up, it has got me thinking.

I know two drag acts in real life, both are 'normal' men who do drag for a living. They aren't trans, it's just a job to them. I don't really have a problem with that, but I feel that I should in principle.

I've never seen that Ru Paul show, but I hear it's entertaining. I might give it a watch to see how I feel.

Your thoughts?

Seachangeshell Sat 31-Dec-16 14:12:59

I've got no problem with drag acts. They're just a bit of lighthearted fun aren't they? A man in drag is impersonating a woman, but it's so over the top that it's clearly not intended to represent what a real woman is like in any way. And part of the joke on stage is that we all know it's a man really.
I see it as part of a long tradition in comedy theatre and more recently part of gay culture.

RitaCrudgington Sat 31-Dec-16 14:21:28

There are definitely some misogynistic drag queens, but I'm happy that they should be called out individually rather than damning the form.

QueenLizIII Sat 31-Dec-16 14:22:23

It's a long tradition in Pantomime. Shrugs.

TheSparrowhawk Sat 31-Dec-16 14:25:23

I don't like them and I feel they're misogynistic. The more powerful member of society (the male) parodies the less powerful member (the female) by overemphasising the aspects of the culture that contribute the power disparity - the requirement to be 'dolled up,' wear make up and high heels etc. It's a power display while at the same time being mocking and disparaging. I absolutely hate it.

Racerback Sat 31-Dec-16 14:27:36

I'm not a fan. I fail to see the difference between drag acts and the Black and White minstrel show.

TheSparrowhawk Sat 31-Dec-16 14:27:43

What points out the power disparity best IMO is the fact that it'd be near impossible for women do a drag act, because men's clothes are so 'ordinary' and 'normal.' A woman in a suit isn't in 'drag' she's just in a suit. Wearing a beard would just look a bit weird - there's no edge of hilarity or sense of circus because men are not freaks to be looked at and parodied the way women are.

Sweets101 Sat 31-Dec-16 14:30:18

I like a good drag act. Some are very good at what they do. It's a bit of theatre.

ElspethFlashman Sat 31-Dec-16 14:32:47

Ru Pauls Drag Race is amazing

The acts are cartoonish and it seems the trend in drag is getting more outrageous with each passenger year. The standard is so high you see. You can't just stand there wafting a gloved hand like the Queen Mum like Danny La Rue. Not these days.

So it has very little IMO to do with women. It's too OTT. The contestants rarely talk about women at all, tbh.

There was one contestant who was a Britney Spears impersonator who was very natural in her make up/hair in order to resemble Britney and was really very very beautiful. I think Derrick/Derek was her name IRL. She was criticised a lot for not looking drag enough which she found very stressful.

There was another one (in last year's All Stars) who decided to flip the stereotype and look like a real girl: more specifically a regular emo/Goth girl from your neighbourhood. It was the clothes she felt comfortable in. She got a lot of resistance and a lot of pressure to look more cartoonish and got so upset that she quit.

So actually there seems to be the idea that looking like a regular female is not "drag". Drag is something almost beyond gender even though they refer to each other as "she".

ElspethFlashman Sat 31-Dec-16 14:33:24


TheSparrowhawk Sat 31-Dec-16 14:35:48

Yes, drag isn't about sympathetically representing women, it's about sending them up and making them look ridiculous.

Sweets101 Sat 31-Dec-16 14:36:22

I think they are making fun at themselves rather than anyone else.
The denial of men to be allowed to show 'feminine' behaviours/dress etc is as much of a driving force for drag Queens to be mocked and laughed at. In fact women are afforded much more choice re clothing on a day to day basis then men. A woman in a suit isn't anything unusual, it's part of life.

DeepAndCrispAndEvenTheWind Sat 31-Dec-16 14:38:12

Yy Sparrowhawk

Like racerback, it feels like white performers doing "black face" to me.

TheSparrowhawk Sat 31-Dec-16 14:39:11

No a woman in a suit isn't unusual Sweets because she's copying more powerful behaviour (ie masculine behaviour). A man in a dress is ridiculous because who wants to look like a woman? It's embarrassing for a more powerful member of society to dress like a less powerful one.

Miffer Sat 31-Dec-16 14:45:01

Tricky, I think with gay drag it's different. The whole point to me seems to be "I (the drag act) am totally comfortable with this, you are not which is your problem". I kind of like that. I will have to mull it more.

Sweets101 Sat 31-Dec-16 14:46:03

Which is as harmful to men as it is women.
I also disagree it's a case of 'haha look at that greater being dressed as a lesser being' it's look at your big feet in those 'sexy' shoes you look ugly and ridiculous and make other men conforming to societies masculinity rules feel uncomfortable, so they laugh at you. Which is why I think it's as much about mocking men and shining an uncomfortable light on any suppressed feelings of 'femininty' they might have.

Waitingfordolly Sat 31-Dec-16 14:58:39

Many years ago I saw a woman impersonating a drag queen. She was excellent. I've heard a lot of misogyny in gay clubs in the 90s (as a lesbian) around drag, so I hate it and refuse to go. Agree about panto too, why is the lead woman as a man not comical when the man as a woman is?

LassWiTheDelicateAir Sat 31-Dec-16 16:32:43

What points out the power disparity best IMO is the fact that it'd be near impossible for women do a drag act, because men's clothes are so 'ordinary' and 'normal.' A woman in a suit isn't in 'drag' she's just in a suit

There was a Victorain and Edwardian music hall tradition of "mashers" which were female drag acts. Brassais' photographs of the Parisien demi monde in the 30s have women in drag.

TeiTetua Sat 31-Dec-16 16:34:16

Women can impersonate men and be "drag kings". You can look it up. So is that just as bad?

Datun Sat 31-Dec-16 16:35:01

Interesting one. It does seem as though it is the female characteristics that are being sent up. But I always thought it more about sending up gay men. The overt sexuality and slight menace doesn't feel very much like a parody of womanhood in any particularly recognisable way.

Need to give it more thought.

Twogoats Sat 31-Dec-16 16:40:34

Now that I think about the minstrel analogy, it does seem a bit more offensive.

However, it's not just drag queens who are offensive, a lot of things are offensive. I feel we have bigger fish to fry first.

Racerback Sat 31-Dec-16 17:24:03

Nah. We have to fry all of the fish at once. Let the small fish go and they'll turn into bigger fish.

DeepAndCrispAndEvenTheWind Sat 31-Dec-16 17:54:07

If it is sending up gay men, datun, it is doing so by likening them to exaggerated stereotyped femininity.

Datun Sat 31-Dec-16 18:17:52


Yes, that's what's confusing me slightly. Because it's very unwomanly, but still relies on a stereotype. It's almost as if they've invented a stereotype that doesn't really exist in real life, if you see what I mean. I've only been to two, quite a few years ago but the slight aggression and, what I can only describe as 'maleness', felt as alien from woman/feminine as you could possibly be.

Either way, I didn't much enjoy it as I felt there was some form of misogyny at its base. Their target audience didn't seem to be women or straight men. I think that's changed now though as it's a hen night favourite, isn't it?

DeepAndCrispAndEvenTheWind Sat 31-Dec-16 19:44:21

Is it? Been a while since I was on a hen night. Still, as some feature pole dancing classes etc, I won't put hen nights down as fighting the patriarchy!

I do agree that the ones I have seen have an aggressiveness against the woman character they are playing and of course homophobia is also an outcome of patriarchy, so I'm going to chalk it all up as outdated.

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