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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Men in Tights: An Analysis of Drag

First off, I would like to say that I really had an epiphany while watching the beginning of the 2010 show that made the rest of the experience much more enjoyable. For the first time, it really came to me of how much gender is about performance. Men and women, different in biological structure, are very much alike. In the case of the drag show, there were several men who were in costume as women and one woman as a man. The ability to "gender-bend" is fascinating because all these individuals had to do was put on some different clothing, don the war paint, and embody the stereotypical mannerisms of the other side to give the appearance of that specific sex. Gender roles, more than anything else, are what separate men and women the most. Some of these entertainers were so spot-on and able to mimick the opposite sex that, in another setting, I would never be able to tell the difference. While dressing in drag is not about being transgendered at all, it gives someone the opportunity to temporarily change gender and become someone else. Another thing that struck me was how much heteronormative mindsets have an impact on the dress of those doing drag. To impersonate a women, a man must adopt an ultra-femininity in which he is covered in 4 hours of makeup and either skimpy clothing or dresses. The same situation went for the female, her costume consisted of a masculine goatee so that the audience was shown she was meant to be a man. While Miss Gay IU 2009 was stunning in his both his attire and performance, I couldn't help but notice how extreme the transition was.

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