Painted for the gods
We all know gender is construed. And nobody construes gender like a drag queen (or king). And drag queens are experiencing an overall resurgence and are (finally!) getting the recognition that they so justly deserve (I see you, Maddie!). Even my manfriend knows who RuPaul is and how RPDR works. Yep. Drag, in all its gender defying glory has broken into middle America’s living rooms.
It’s been coming for awhile. ‘Influencers’ copy the lingo, MUAs use their make up techniques and people make money using the make up tricks queens have developed in front of mirrors minutes before going in front of their audiences. But drag is above all, camp. It's the sublimation of everything that is artificial and beautiful and distilled on a person. What better way to demonstrate that beauty is a construct than transform a man into a sublimated woman?
Drag could be as fish as all hell (Farrah Moan, Gia Gunn), artsy (Sasha Velour, Acid Betty, Kim Chi), comedic (Bianca del Rio, Bob the Drag Queen), theatrical (Jinkx Monsoon, Violet Chachki) and so on and so forth. But above all, drag is a slap on the face of mainstream perceptions of gender, because it basically comes from marginalized communities (gay men, gay men of color, effeminate gay men of color and the layers and intersections pile up). Even though many iconic drag queens are white, for me there's nothing like Crystal La Beija throwing perfect shade in The Queen in 1967:
And now drag and drag makeup have become basically, mainstream. You can see eighteen year old influencers on Instagram cutting a crease and bragging of full coverage foundation and Kim Kardashian (a bio drag queen IMHO) telling the world how she carves a face by using the shade/light contouring technique drag queens (and probably many painters inspired by the Renaissance) use. The art of drag, just ten years ago relegated to tiny bars on Wednesday night, now has a place on America's living rooms and Mama Ru (RuPaul herself, who started another revolution nine years ago) now poses for Annie Leibovitz in Vogue. You've come a long way, baby.
👑 @RuPaul for @voguemagazine 👑 MAY '19 ISSUE ✨— RuPaul's Drag Race (@RuPaulsDragRace) April 15, 2019
READ: https://t.co/SM8LQnZ2h0 pic.twitter.com/RoGnpwbIYi