FOF #2319 – The Faux Queen is for Real
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While cisgender women can certainly tear it up onstage, the don’t always get embraced by LGBT folks who may see them like a white rapper trying to gain acceptance from black folks.
Our guest today is one of Chicago’s rising stars in the drag queen scene, Chelsea Devantez who as Dicksie Pictoria won highly competitive Crash Landing contest, but unlike many of the trans and gay male contestants, Chelsea is a cisgender woman.
to be 100% honest I almost stopped listening to this show a couple times. At first Chelsea came off as extremely whiny and pretentious about “how hard” it is for ciswomen to be accepted as drag queens, especially when she complained about how it’s sometimes harder to ciswomen to to drag than gay men. Girl, please.
At first, her whining came off very: First-World-Problems of a Privileged White Woman trying to make it into the drag scene; “weh weh weh” female-oppression “weh weh weh” patriarchy “weh weh weh” why can’t drag queens just accept me. Buuuuut I thought it only fair to give her a chance and listen to the whole show. Look, if ciswomen like her wanna be drag queens and work the clubs, fine, do as you wish, but Chelsea, along with other ciswomen wanting to be drag queens, are pretty naive to think they can just waltz right into the drag scene and be accepted by every gay man/drag queen, when drag has been done by gay men and transgender people forever
I don’t care if she wants to do drag. at all. go for it. But to say ”it’s sometimes harder for ciswomen to to drag than gay men” takes a lot of nerve. how could she say such a thing? Especially when gay men have been beaten down and ridiculed for what society perceives as ”effeminate”. Drag has been an important outlet for a lot of gay men. Both for the gay men who do it, and for the ones who feel empowered watching it.
Nobody owns wearing a dress and makeup. And for most of human history, loose fabric, makeup and wigs have not been gender specific. But if you’re going to be performing at a venue with other queens, many who have been beaten by their fathers and mothers, rejected by their whole family, and lived on the streets, don’t expect anyone to sympathise with your struggle. Because those other queens sure as hell didn’t have any sympathy.
Drag is also competitive. And what you probably perceive as ”shade” from the other queens, is probably the same shade thrown at anyone else doing drag who is just trying to carve their place in the community. It’s a culture with a lot of love, and a lot of bitterness. And that paradox is part of what makes it great.
Just understand that every queens struggle is different. There is no use trying to compare it. That is just cheap.
Also Drag doesn’t do itself any favours by calling itself drag. For a lot of performers it isn’t really about portraying a woman(or girl). It is an explosion of what has been suppressed deep inside from a young age. It is about doing the things that society told you you shouldn’t do, and turning that feeling of shame into pride. It is genderless. Simply people stepping outside of their lane.
So while I think a cisgender female is certainly welcome to express herself doing this, It still doesn’t really sound like this girl really understands what she is talking about. She should embrace the culture, good and bad. And she should feel the struggle of her fellow gay men. Walk in his heels. 😉
(Sorry for my english, I’m Dutch)
Also! Women have been abused and suppressed by society as well(obviously). Homophobia is based in misogyny. Why not tap into this struggle? Why not create a new branch of drag for women to fight back against the patriarchy? A space where women can get on stage and do all the things that are taboo for women to do. Why focus on you’re bitterness towards the gay men who don’t necessarily understand you (who are also at the bottom), instead of fighting the common enemy who is at the top? You’re a performer, if you’re not being welcome into the community, then maybe you’re not conveying your message correctly. Perhaps you need to work on your performance. What are you trying to say?
I feel like by appearing on a podcast and bitching about drag queens, is kind of ironic for her to do. I feel like there is a bigger picture that she is not seeing. She totally picked the wrong battle.
(I’m done now) 😛
Well, at least of the performance side of things, you only need to watch any given episode of Drag U to realize being a cis woman doesn’t automatically mean you’ll make a sickening queen. Sure women have an advantage in the their starting point (or to use Hunger Games terminology, their “Beauty Base Zero”) to creating a drag look. Drag as a performance art transcends gender, and creating fishy look is not necessarily the epitome of drag performance. You need to have that je ne sais quoi. For example, even when they’re just giving interviews; Dolly Parton, Charro, and GaGa have more moxie than the average Miss Universe contestant.
I had never really thought about women being drag queens before Marc and Fausto started exploring the topic on the podcast. It seemed a little odd at first, but whatever. I am willing to be flexible on my interpretation of drag and I am certainly willing to let Chelsea define herself however she pleases. I thought her justification was completely reasonable. I certainly didn’t have the negative reaction that some of your other listeners did. I enjoyed the podcast and wish there was a video of her in drag for us to watch. Good luck Chelsea.