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(53 Posts)
Exitedwoman Sat 13-May-17 01:45:22

Can anyone help me with a riposte to this? Someone sent it to me and I know I disagree, but my words don't carry as much weight as a YouTube vid apparently.

Miffer Sat 13-May-17 03:20:09

I'll be honest, I've not watched it but that's because I'm already onside.

I don't think drag is inherently harmful.

I'll be watching responses with interest though to see how I feel when others feed back.

To be fair I don't know that much about "black face" so I can't really make the comparison.

GoldStars3 Sat 13-May-17 04:20:05

That video annoyed the shit out of me. The way he dismisses women's perspectives. Makes no mention of women being an oppressed and exploited group ("it's one group imitating another group," as if there's no power differential). Says we should listen to women's views but then, as a man, tells us that most of us women don't have a problem with drag.

I looked at the next video this one linked to, about the banning of drag in the Glasgow Pride parade (to ensure a safe space for trans people who might find it offensive), and it is interesting as a contrast. He's defending drag in this one, too, but seems much more able to empathise with the view of a 'transwoman': "there are any number of reasons why trans people might have a problem with drag, and that's totally legitimate... Especially when that man gets to go home, put the wig back on the shelf, and enjoy all the privileges of being cisgender."; "if my gender identity was under assault every day, I can see how watching cis performers twist and play with gender for the entertainer of cis audiences, could feel at best thoughtless, and at worst, cruel." Funny how these insights didn't occur to him when considering whether women who are offended by drag might have a "totally legitimate" point.

Then he explains how "we're all in this together" because the LGBT community are the people who break the rules about how men and women are "supposed" to be, and risk being punished because of it, "trans people most of all."

I think women just do not exist as human beings in this smug, satisfied man's consciousness. He can empathise with another male who considers himself a woman, but not with actual women. He thinks "cis privilege" is a real thing, but the concept of male privilege doesn't get a mention in considering how women might feel about the performer who can play to stereotypes of womanhood for the amusement of other men and then go home and "take the wig off." He applauds the LGBT community for breaking out of the rigid constraints of "how men and women are 'supposed' to be" [there's a word for that - it's 'gender'], and says that trans people "most of all" risk being punished for doing so. He demonstrates no awareness - zero - that generations upon generations of women have tried, or failed, or never had a chance, or succeeded in struggling free of gendered expectations if they wanted anything more from their lives than second class citizenship and domestic servitude. And that they (we) ALL 'risk punishment' for doing it, and that countless women have been and are being attacked, often killed, for not being some man's idea of how a woman should be.

This is what it comes down to for me. I never had a problem with transgenderism until I saw the gross combination of contempt and entitlement that so many transactivists display toward women and womanhood. I never had a problem with drag, until I started listening to men explaining why it's nothing at all like blackface. They don't recognise or value our humanity at a gut level. They don't recognise that we have the shit end of the gender stick. And when we point it out, they do not care.

Neglectedbythesun Sat 13-May-17 06:26:34

Reading this is the first time I've realised I have negative feelings towards drag. When I see a drag performer, I feel uncomfortable as if they're kinda taking the piss out of women. I've probably always dismissed my thoughts due to "not getting it", as it's something mainstream we're supposed to think is great.

Datun Sat 13-May-17 07:48:18

"Exaggerated female characteristics".

Not stereotypes - characteristics.

Completely agree with GoldStars3.

He's talking from a position of entitlement.

It is the same as blackface. It's no good picking apart the actual performance in order to find enough differences to make it not the same.

"Some people say it's offensive" - here's why they're wrong. Because I'm not a part of the group they are taking the piss out of, so I don't get it.

And yes, smug. I'd almost rather he was some MRA going yah ha all women are idiots. Than this pseudo intellectual faux ally painstakingly pontificating about why women are wrong.

DJBaggySmalls Sat 13-May-17 08:13:49

Drag is a caricature of femininity made by a member of the oppressing class. It is exactly like blackface.

patodp Sat 13-May-17 08:41:13

No no no no
He's saying "blackface is inherently racist but drag can be easily separated from misogyny"
No, racism is called out, most notably by other bme men, while misogyny is covered up and denied because <waves at men> even black men deny their own male privilege.

Blackface offends bme men, so was stamped out the 70s. (It hasn't had the chance to develop with this self-identification trend) Drag/Trans only offends women. So no need to bother about that seeing as drag upholds all patriarchal ideals.

The reference of Conchita Wurst in his defense of drag does it for me. Yeah yeah great it's all about personal expression. Conchita is a woman! Female pronouns whilst in drag! Being female boils down to wearing a glittery dress and heels even if she has a beard and a penis!

It is exactly like blackface.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Sat 13-May-17 09:34:14

"Exaggerated female characteristics

I might be missing your point, so sorry if I am but he didn't say that. He said "exaggerated stereotypes" at the beginning and later "exaggerated female characters" when referring to little girls dressing up as princesses.

Datun Sat 13-May-17 09:41:07


You're quite right. I've listened again. I was listening to it on speaker, while I made coffee.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Sat 13-May-17 09:53:19

I agree with Miffer I don't find drag acts particularly entertaining or interesting but I don't think drag is inherently harmful.

He is tying himself up in knots with his defence of Glasgow Pride's ban however.

There was a thread about that at the time. From memory it caused one or 2 posters to go through the same mental gymnastics but in reverse- ie they hated drag but as it was trans activists calling for a ban then that was wrong too.

Datun Sat 13-May-17 09:55:19

I don't readily get annoyed about drag. It's not something that is specifically on my radar. It was more the way he was trying to justify it which actually highlighted the huge flaws in his argument.

Railgunner1 Sat 13-May-17 10:01:17

I see drag as a theatrical performance, of course, depending on context and if its tasteful. Some films i've seen its actually pretty funny, but also implying that men putting on frocks and make-up only make themselves hideous (and thats probably offensive to trans-)

LassWiTheDelicateAir Sat 13-May-17 10:19:18

Some films i've seen its actually pretty funny, but also implying that men putting on frocks and make-up only make themselves hideous (and thats probably offensive to trans-)

But if you think that is offensive to trans isn't that offensive to women? I do think you need to be consistent.

Drag does seem to make some people tie themselves up in knots.

On the Glasgow Pride thread one poster, with approbation posted about how Judith Butler stated women wearing feminine clothes are in drag too (that particular poster then went on to say she hated drag artists but not as much as she hated stereotypically feminine women)

Railgunner1 Sat 13-May-17 10:30:10

well, i'm totally unfamiliar with pride thing. I've only seen film/theatre, mostly comedy. some tasteful, some really shit.

MariposaNieve Sat 13-May-17 10:32:18

I always loved drag as a kid... I remember going to see Rocky Horror and all the men coming to see it were in drag. I thought it was attractive at the time.

But, that was before I viewed it with a more critical eye.

In drag, the ruling class (men) exaggerate the stereotypes associated with women -who are the oppressed class - for entertainment.
In blackface, the ruling class (whites) exaggerate the stereotypes associated with POC - who are the oppressed class - for entertainment.

It doesn't seem all that different to me when you take it down to the basics.

One could argue that drag-Queens are coming from a different perspective than people who engage in blackface, though. Blackface inevitable comes from a place of hate, but does drag? But then, does motivation even matter?

Railgunner1 Sat 13-May-17 10:35:23

but you don't think that Mrs. Doubtfire or Tootsie were offensive?

MariposaNieve Sat 13-May-17 10:36:08

It's also grossly telling that it matters if transwomen find drag offensive because it perpetuates negative ideas about transwomen, but that it apparently doesn't matter if real women find drag offensive because it perpetuates negative ideas about women.

Sorry for repetitive sentences - trying to highlight the absolute hypocrisy.

MariposaNieve Sat 13-May-17 10:39:50

That is a good point. I haven't seen Tootsie, only Mrs Doubtfire and only a very long time ago. From what I remember the male character dresses as a women to gain access to his children? Now, as I premise I have no issue with that... I think that makes a good story tbh. But are some of the characterises the character adopts when 'in drag' harmfull to women? I may need to rematch that film and have a think.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Sat 13-May-17 10:42:45

Sorry for repetitive sentences - trying to highlight the absolute hypocrisy

It's the hypocrisy which is the issue. Drag being offensive to women and trans is an arguable position; drag being merely a theatrical performance and offensive to neither is another.

MariposaNieve Sat 13-May-17 10:45:01

A possible redeeming factory of Doubtfire may be that the character isn't trying to look like some male ideal of a sexy woman, whereas the majority of drag does. I think the performance in Doubfire was more natural?

Hmmm. Feel free to call me out for being a hypocrite myself. Just having a think, as I said I haven't seen it for over ten years.

MariposaNieve Sat 13-May-17 10:50:52

Does poor taste/good taste matter? Did it matter in blackface? (No, it didn't).

SylviaPoe Sat 13-May-17 11:00:48

Rocky Horror itself isn't drag in a blackface sense (although the audience might be). Frank N Furter is very much male.

Railgunner1 Sat 13-May-17 11:19:26

A possible redeeming factory of Doubtfire may be that the character isn't trying to look like some male ideal of a sexy woman, whereas the majority of drag does. I think the performance in Doubfire was more natural?

Doubfire was a very likeable character. But you KNOW its a man. As many other Hollywood productions where a very masculine actor plays a character of a man in drag.

on the other hand, i think its a bit piss-taking out of older women -- like they're so unattractive that they look like MEN confused

MariposaNieve Sat 13-May-17 11:19:40

I was speaking of the audience, not the actual show. Sorry for the confusion.

OvariesForgotHerPassword Sat 13-May-17 11:28:15

I don't find drag offensive. It's a theatrical performance. I wouldn't equate it to blackface, which is used in its current form to allow white actors to replace black ones in performances, thereby shutting people of colour out of theatre, and historically used in a very cruel, demeaning way.

I've never watched a drag queen and thought "This is a cruel mockery of women", nor that the queen is trying to say "this is what women do". Other people clearly do, so drag isn't for them. Like most art forms, it's subjective.

I also don't see where it's offensive or "cis privilege" towards trans people. One of my best friends is trans, he's the one who introduced me to Drag Race grin

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