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Karst

Drag: is it offensive?

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Karst

So, I've heard some people put forth the argument that drag shows caricature women in an offensive way.  What do you all think?

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theV0ID

I think that some people are ridiculously over sensitive and feel the need to look for things to be offended about for reasons I don't understand.

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Kieran :)

I mean, I see where they're coming from, but by the only logic I can see in it strippers would be offensive.

(Which, I personally don't support strip clubs and such, but that has more to do with human trafficking and such)

But they chose to dress and perform that way. It's what they want to do. Is it offensive because they decided to present as the opposite gender (there are drag kings, not just drag queens) in there own way? I don't think so. It's just people doing what makes them happy and if it offends you, don't watch it. It's as easy as that wow.

 

(Sorry if this seemed aggressive. I am just presenting my opinion very directly.)

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Karst

Personally, it seems uncomfortably close to TERF ideology for my liking.

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Janus DarkFox

Reading on the history, it’s difficult to imagine that without it, LGBT rights or visibility may not be here.  Contemporary drag and drag shows can have a sense of offence to it, while such drag portrays a sense that it’s ok to dress differently in a younger person with a form of gender difference.  Sometimes this argument ignores some struggles many people go through being different.  It’s an interesting subject though, given the history.

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Kieran :)
Just now, Karst said:

Personally, it seems uncomfortably close to TERF ideology for my liking.

Like the drag people or people being offended by people who do drag?

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Karst
Just now, Kieran :) said:

Like the drag people or people being offended by people who do drag?

People being offended by drag.  It's the same general idea that everyone should stick to well-defined gender categories.

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Kieran :)
4 minutes ago, Karst said:

People being offended by drag.  It's the same general idea that everyone should stick to well-defined gender categories.

Okay. Yeah, I agree with that.

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SmaugtheDragon

I think that drag is a representation of people being themselves, and I feel like saying that it is offensive, I just don't really get it. 

 

I feel like being offended by people that express themselves freely is kind of TERFish, like other people have said.

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Galactic Turtle

I don't personally find drag entertaining or understand its popularity. My friends are obsessed though so between that and me working in nightclubs for several years, I've seen a lot of it. I assume its widespread popularity has to do with the "over the top" nature of it all and the reality show framework in which it most popularly appears on American TV. From what I know of the history of drag, I do nonetheless think its origins are interesting.

 

From a feminist perspective, there are those who point out the types of drag performances that do showcase misogyny as comedy and express offense to those performances. I was working a show once which featured a male drag artist routinely using language like "c*nts" and "b*tches" and "wh*res" in his comedy routine which also featured giant inflatable penises slapping him in the face. I was very put off by this. More severely, I have heard people compare it to blackface. Alternatively, I have heard the whole empowerment narrative in relation to women doing drag or drag in general with the whole... defying societal norms thing combining it with artistry with the costume making and such. 

 

From a gender perspective, I have heard instances of trans groups wanting to get rid of drag performances because they feel it mocks or delegitimizes their situation. I have also heard instances of certain trans collectives really rubbing up against gay collectives on a somewhat related front, most notably with comments made by RuPaul and the discourse that followed. On the flip side, I've also heard the opposite, that drag culture was actually a big help to trans individuals becoming more comfortable in their own skin.

 

Alas, no group is a monolith. We are just individuals with opinions. 

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anisotrophic
23 minutes ago, Kieran :) said:

by the only logic I can see in it strippers would be offensive

It’s complicated; for example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriarchal_bargain

 

“The act of women using their sexuality in order to achieve success and a career is the prominent illustration of the patriarchal bargain.”

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Skycaptain

In traditional British pantomime, the lead male role is played by a female, and the lead female role played by a male. This is mainstream children's entertainment, and it's seen as part of the fun. 

Drag in itself I don't see as being offensive towards women. However care does need to be taken by the actor to ensure that they aren't poking fun at people who identify as transgender or engage in transvestitism. The good acts parody how men are perceive what women think about a situation, rather than pretend to be women. 

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Acing It

Depending on what you mean with 'drag' then I can see the opposition to some of it, even though I'm not offended. If it's used by men to ridicule women or femininity, then I can see a point. If it's used by a drag queen, each to their own. I don't understand it, but I'm not against it. If you mean by drag, someone dressing 'as the opposite sex' or what some people call 'cross dressing' because their gender doesn't match, then that's not drag in my view. It's just 'their clothes'. As Eddie Izzard said: "I don't call it drag; I don't even call it cross-dressing. It's just wearing a dress. ... It's not about artifice. It's about me just expressing myself."

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Karst
5 hours ago, anisotrophic said:

It’s complicated; for example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriarchal_bargain

 

“The act of women using their sexuality in order to achieve success and a career is the prominent illustration of the patriarchal bargain.”

I think that blaming women who use their sexuality as a way to get ahead in the world for "upholding the patriarchy" is questionable at best, but that's a topic for another thread.

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anisotrophic
49 minutes ago, Karst said:

I think that blaming women who use their sexuality as a way to get ahead in the world for "upholding the patriarchy" is questionable at best, but that's a topic for another thread.

I think you might be making an unfair characterization of what the “patriarchal bargain” is. Structural issues like race and gender are full of these countervailing issues when disempowered people try to prevail within unfair systems. One can acknowledge the bargain without considering it something an individual is “blamed” for participating in.

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Karst
1 hour ago, anisotrophic said:

I think you might be making an unfair characterization of what the “patriarchal bargain” is. Structural issues like race and gender are full of these countervailing issues when disempowered people try to prevail within unfair systems. One can acknowledge the bargain without considering it something an individual is “blamed” for participating in.

Good point.  Still, as I mentioned, I think that topic might be better split off into a separate thread.

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Calligraphette_Coe

I always cringe thinking about these sorts of threads. Because of things like this, where Wendy Williams took a gigantic cheap shot at GLBTQ folks with this:

 

 

https://www.eonline.com/news/1123262/wendy-williams-apologizes-for-saying-gay-men-should-stop-wearing-our-skirts-and-our-heels

 

Maybe some of us won'tgto through the same things, but we sure do know and understand violence, being ostracized, sleeping with Prince Valium or Captain Lexapro when leading an empty lonely life with a lot of anxiety and PTSD makes us want to  cash in our chips and go somewhere the inside of the closet isn't painted in a rainbow, where you sit in the back corner with your GLBT hand grenade.

 

Sometimes the trappings make you feel like you've gone home to a home you never had.... if only for a short time.  :(

 

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Mezzo Forte

While I have never been interested in the more mainstream takes on drag, I have increasingly appreciated it as a site for gender play, especially because it can offer a space for gender experimentation where folks won’t ask questions. While I never tried it myself, I always appreciated drag king aesthetics, and I love hearing about less Binary forms of drag as well such as bearded/hairy drag.

 

There are transphobic folks like RuPaul in the drag community, but I feel that anyone who does not honor trans women’s historic contributions to drag ultimately fails to truly understand the art form itself. While I often feel disconnected from drag because of my disinterest in femme aesthetics and my asexuality making the sexual component totally lost on me, I personally consider it an art form worthy of respect.

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MakeupJunkie4

Coming from a long line of show business folk, I've never really considered drag as a huge offense (although like many here, I'm not too interested myself). I tend to see it as a genre of entertainment that doesn't appeal to me. Impersonation is a talent in itself, so I do admire that. 

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AceWing

I always saw it as a "blackface" type of thing.

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Acing It
9 hours ago, Calligraphette_Coe said:

I apologise blah, blah, blah... <paste bland statement here>. Like other people, these 'celebrities' show their true feelings, see their fanbase (on which their entire vacuous lives are built) protest or disappear and just to save their illusion of 'being important because in the media all the time' they will say whatever they want. It's empty.

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KiraS

It depends?

 

Depending on where you go, there is a lot of really bad misogyny in drag subculture. On the other hand, drag has been a safe way for many trans people to explore and, depending on where you go, there is a lot of overlap between drag and trans subcultures.

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