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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Drag Show Analysis

The stage was set up with a walkway leading into huge floor space, as well as a sort of post-modern painting of a city landscape. The the performers were all very outgoing, by no means shy, and made numerous racial and gender jokes. This surprised me at first. I had no idea what to expect by attending a drag show. Some of the racial jokes seemed made me rather uncomfortable but from talking to the performers afterwards I realized that maybe I have the problem. After the extremely energetic performances, the drag performers all came on stage to answer questions like, “why do you do it?”. I would like to state that both straight and gay people perform and occasionally there are females who pretend to be men as I learned tonight. Likewise there are straight and gay attendees at drag shows as well. Everyone is welcome and everyone is made fun of. The performers all agreed that drag shows are a performance just like theater. People get to go up and pretend they are someone they are not. One woman said that women originally were not allowed to act and so men had to play female parts. So, for one aspect, drag shows are simply a means of entertainment. But, there was something more profound about the unique show. Many of the performers were gay and have always felt afraid to express themselves in a society that does not always accept people for who they are. The racial jokes, the gender jokes and foul language were simply meant to join everyone together. All genders and races in the audience were cracking up while I and a few others felt uncomfortable initially. However, the performers want to show break the prejudices against all people. I never imagined how hard it might be for someone who is gay to decide wether or not they wanted friends and family to know. The performers discussed a few of their personal moments, but drag gave them a way to express themselves and feel more confident by not caring what people think anymore. That attitude and atmosphere made me happy too. There are things about all of us that can be prejudiced in some way and it is surprisingly easy to even subconsciously be prejudiced against someone else. Going to the drag show and seeing how comfortable and happy the performers were on stage made me realize how difficult it can to be gay when, for some performers, the only time you can be yourself is when you perform. I had a hard time doing an actual queer analysis of this “text” but, to me, these observations taught me a lot about queer theory simply because I understand multiple sides and aspects now.

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