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Ru Paul's hijabi Drag Race - the ultimate insult?

(41 Posts)
twoHopes Sun 26-Apr-20 20:12:59

I've just seen a gushing Guardian article about the latest episode of Ru Paul's Drag Race which features (for the first time ever) a "hijabi drag queen".

Apparently this was a one off costume to celebrate this person's American-Iranian heritage (note the stars and stripes on the hijab). Never mind that Iranian women who don't wear a hijab outside the house are beaten or imprisoned. Never mind that Iranian women are currently risking their lives and their freedom protesting these laws. And let's not even get started on the rather colourful involvement America has in Iran's recent history.

Have we finally reached the ultimate insult? An American-Iranian man wearing a sexualised costume of an Iranian woman in hijab as a fun performance?

Link to the Guardian article is here if you can bear it:
www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2020/apr/26/rupauls-drag-race-recap-season-12-episode-goldblum

OP’s posts: |
SuperLoudPoppingAction Sun 26-Apr-20 20:16:44

Hmm.
From your thread title I was thinking it would be more offensive than it actually was.

A one-off from one person with Muslim heritage isn't what i was expecting.
I was thinking maybe like a whole series using the title 'hijabi' which would be more inflammatory.
Partly because it implies, to me at least, someone female wearing hijab as an act of worship.

I can't get as exercised about the link, but the fact the guardian is probably jumping around with glee at so many protected characteristics converging is somewhat unsatisfactory.

SuperLoudPoppingAction Sun 26-Apr-20 20:20:30

www.autostraddle.com/a-muslim-rupaul-at-the-dawn-of-islam-tuwais-and-the-mukhannathun-198612/ This on autostraddle, so is not necessarily the kind of source we all particularly enjoy here on FWR, but I genuinely find it an interesting piece of writing.
It's written by someone from a Muslim background who identifies as trans.
It talks a bit about crossdressing and feminine men in the middle east a very long time ago.
I feel like the guy on Drag Race is not the first to wear a headscarf and dress in a feminine way.

Lordfrontpaw Mon 27-Apr-20 00:00:40

An Iranian has Persian heritage - not Muslim. Islam comes from the Arab world - Iranians are not Arabs. So insulting on quite a few levels...

quixote9 Mon 27-Apr-20 06:39:16

Lordfrontpaw, I'm pretty sure millions of Iranians would beg to differ.

Muslim heritage belongs to anyone who is Muslim, which millions of Iranians are. It's a religion, not mobile standan ethnic group. Arab or Persian heritage belongs to those respective cultures / countries / groups. You could be, for instance, a Zoroastrian Persian, or a Muslim Italian, but you couldn't be a Muslim Zoroastrian.

I think you have your categories crosslinked.

As for the post itself, I think, yes, very insulting. Playing irrelevant dress up for kicks using an instrument of misery. There's no louder way to say We Don't Care.

Lordfrontpaw Mon 27-Apr-20 08:05:43

I’ll tell my family then. They are Iranian.

TheProdigalKittensReturn Mon 27-Apr-20 08:26:11

My reaction was basically just "oh FFS".

Lordfrontpaw Mon 27-Apr-20 08:36:32

It’s just playing at dress up. There is a ‘thing’ for being a trans women ‘Muslim wife’ - I fell across that on twitter at the weekend. I think my eyes have just managed to retreat into their sockets. I can only assume there are nuns too...

RoyalCorgi Mon 27-Apr-20 09:26:11

I look forward to the day when all the contestants in Ru Paul's Drag Race are wearing burkas. Black ones.

Mmsnet101 Mon 27-Apr-20 09:33:58

If you watched a clip of this you would know the person is actually Canadian with Iranian heritage. The challenge was stars and stripes to celebrate being American and they did this to highlight the impact of the Muslim travel ban Trump brought in and the impact its had on his family. He states he is not himself religious as its a complex issue having been brought up in a Muslim family but also being gay. He acknowledges the middle easts issues in regards to treatment of women, gay and trans, and the American issues with current politics and stereotyping.

TheProdigalKittensReturn Mon 27-Apr-20 09:34:24

There are nuns. There's one called Aoife who's obsessed with St Trinians.

MiaowMix Mon 27-Apr-20 09:41:37

Op if you actually watched the show you'd realise it was a really sensitive and emotional tribute to the contestant's own heritage.
He acknowledges the dilemma and difficulty of being gay in Iran etc, but also it's about his family's experiences in the us/Canada and how they've been treated.
Why always assume the worst of people?
There was nothing disrespectful towards women at all.

Lordfrontpaw Mon 27-Apr-20 09:45:01

He seems to be trying to recreate the image that came out a few years back to represent the female Pro-democracy demonstrators after there were a few shootings/murders at student rallies. Yes there are loads of Iranians in Canada - why would Trumps US flight ban affect his family in Canada?

It’s like watching Miss World ‘I want to end world hunger’. He is doing what Madonna did back in the day wearing a crucifix.

Lordfrontpaw Mon 27-Apr-20 09:46:01

Some think that drag is disrespectful to woman. Doesn’t matter how they dress up.

TheProdigalKittensReturn Mon 27-Apr-20 10:04:42

Drag Race stans are almost as annoying as Radiohead stans. You will share their love for their show or else!

Lordfrontpaw Mon 27-Apr-20 10:05:35

What a Stan - as in Eminem? Ohhhhhhh, stalkery...

MiaowMix Mon 27-Apr-20 10:25:42

Hmm. I'm a feminist. Am I being called a Stan? In which case I can't be bothered to have a conversation. Why be rude?

Btw the costume wasn't sexualised. @twoHopes

CrazyToast Mon 27-Apr-20 10:55:35

I see why you might think this. But in context it was actually quite moving. This person's family was very impacted by Trump's Muslim ban, and also he himself has had great issues with his Muslim family background and gay identity. The performance and outfit was not only to challenge Trump's rejection of Muslims as part of the US but to speak out his own conflicted identity. He acknowledged the difficulties within Islam regarding women's rights and gay rights--social media is currently exploding about this because some feel to acknowledge it is Islamophobic...

Throughout the series, he has spoken about being gay and Iranian and gay rights. Before the performance he has been very vocal about the problems gay Muslim people face, and the racism Muslim-Americans face. This whole series is very vocally anti-Trump and political, trying to encourage people to vote etc.

So it isnt what it seems on the surface. It isn't just dress up, or sexualisation. This man and his family are strongly impacted by these issues. It's a commentary on his nationality, religion, politics and identity. I thought it was beautiful and moving.

ferretface Mon 27-Apr-20 11:00:40

Stans is internet speak for obsessive fans as per the eminem song - kittens isn't using it to refer to anyone here. She's saying that obsessive fans of Drag Race don't permit people to dislike it.

Cheeseycheeseycheesecheese Mon 27-Apr-20 11:08:11

I think it's one of those things where context is everything! As pp said, if you actually watched the episode it was a tribute within the stars and stripes challenge.
He explained the reasoning behind it, about the social commentary in why he chose to wear that outfit.

In itself the picture can be portrayed as offensive, but this is where we shouldn't be taking things at face value, this is a prime example of where context is everything and we need to look a bit deeper!

MiaowMix Mon 27-Apr-20 11:11:24

Agree with @Cheeseycheeseycheesecheese and @CrazyToast, it's all about the context.

Thanks @ferretface, I do know what a Stan is, I just couldn't work out if kittens was referring to me. I just think this was a particularly interesting episode, and to watch it rather than read the guardian article would make more sense.
Plus ,Jeff goldblum's reaction was everything 🤩

TheProdigalKittensReturn Mon 27-Apr-20 11:20:57

The persona of a holy woman above material things is sexualized for a lot of men.

picklemewalnuts Mon 27-Apr-20 11:49:33

Middle age white woman here, so my opinion doesn't hold a lot of weight.

I was buying into it, or at least reserving judgement, until I saw the lip synch. Moving in places, but ending with multiple spins allowing the outfit to flair out revealing high gloss legs right up to underwear and sheer panels in the dress.

That's offensive, sexualising what is both a religious expression and an instrument of female oppression.

GivesNoFox Mon 27-Apr-20 14:31:23

Way too virtue signal-ly for my taste (My family is also Iranian). A bloke donning a hijab like its the best thing since sliced bread while women in Iran are being imprisoned for years just for wanting the freedom to take it off and have body autonomy. A lot of supposed 'moderate Muslims' living in the west have similar mentalities and it really grates my nerves as I find it to be the height of hypocrisy.

Also Lordrontpaw is correct, historically Persians were of the Zoroastrian faith which is closer to having pagan elements (i.e. the worship of natural elements) than the Abrahmic religions. Arab invaders brought and implemented Islam amongst the people later on.

GivesNoFox Mon 27-Apr-20 14:32:28

That should be Lordfrontpaw my apologies for the typo.

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