Growing up, people around me often made fun of cross-dressers on television, or anything remotely different from gender-conformity; kilts, for example. That was me as well, conforming to the mentality of others, until when curiosity was in cahoots with boredom, and I borrowed the VCR named “To Wong Foo,” which was a film with some of the most seasoned drag queens (you should never say “oldest” drag queens). I thought I’d get a good laugh–and I did–in a good way, because this film was a comedy. I understood virtually none of the words, because I was in third grade, but this film stood out to me. It was diabolical, yet absolutely masterful. I gagged for the first time ever, when RuPaul made an entrance from the ceiling to the contest. From the way the characters appears, to the way they talk, everything was just so different from the reality that surrounds me; and it was an experience that painted me with such colors.
Fast forward to this day, I have fallen in with drag queens and their culture. Though some may say their lifestyle is abnormal, I believe their larger-than-life lifestyle is perhaps something society can wholly learn from. What I admire about drag queens the most is the confidence they exude. They are confident in life, and themselves; real confidence, not ones that are based on bravado or expositions. Their profession requires strenuous preparation; tucking, shaving, 2-hours makeup, fitting, cinching, and lip-syncing in painful heels. Yet, they never complain, because “you don’t have to do drag; you get to do drag!” (Willam Belli)
In a sociology and gender studies article, West and Zimmerman propose that what drag queen does is not trying to “pass” as a woman, but to challenge the norm and routine that is expected from society. They state that “if an individual identified as a member of one sex category engages in behavior usually associated with the other category,…[the] routinization…[of category assignment] is challenged” (West and Zimmerman).
I personally think Drag has done great feats for the evolution of our society, especially in creating a more inclusive ambiance for the LGBTQ community in our current political climate. What they do creates a safe-space that is not only vivid and entertaining, but also allows their audience to feel what they feel; free.
In a Huffington post, written by a mother of two twin daughters, the mother describes her experience when her daughters acknowledge a drag queen as a princess. And as a feminist, the author felt great pride when her daughters see the parallels between Disney princess and Drag Queens:
“The parallels between the two are downright uncanny. Both wear grandiose costumes and perform signature songs. Big hair is an absolute staple across the board. Both have been known to make their shining debut at the local ball. And, like it or not, a midnight transformation is all but inevitable” (Martin-Malone)”
This, to me, is one of the greatest indications that drag queens are changing the mentality of the next generation; and is a top reason why I am dearly in love with the drag queen community. It is often not politicians, or people of greater authorities, but those who are brave enough to challenge the norms society expects.