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Chicks with Dicks, Men in Dresses: What It Means to be a Dra

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Katelyn Gomes

on 28 March 2016

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Transcript of Chicks with Dicks, Men in Dresses: What It Means to be a Dra

Chicks with Dicks, Men in Dresses: What It Means to be a Drag Queen
Continued ...
Elements of both gender revolutionary and gender conservative within drag
The body of the performer highlights their social basis of gender and sexuality
use as a weapon to contest dominant heterosexual gender codes
focuses on personal identities of performers
Social Constructionist Perspective:
gender and sexuality as historically variable categories

Queer Theory:
subjectivity and identities of actors, as well as the role individuals play in producing/resisting and altering systems of gender inequality

Research Question: Are drag queens more gender revolutionary, or gender conservative?

studies the impacts of drag by analyzing the role of gender and sexuality in the process of becoming a drag queen
how they help shape personal and collective identities of drag queens
Gender Revolutionary: destabilizes gender and sexual categories, by making visible social basis of femininity and masculinity

Gender Conservative: reinforces gender and sexual bias/hierarchical systems enacting gender displays and sexual desires associated with traditional femininity and heterosexuality

Drag Queen: gay men who dress and perform as women, but do not wish to be a woman or have a woman's body
celebrity impersonation OR alternative

Transvestites/Cross dresses: straight men who wear women's clothing for erotic purposes

Transsexuals/Transgendered: people who display or embrace a gender identity at odds with their biological sex

Examines 801 Cabaret girls in Key West Florida
how they became drag queens
analyzes personal identities and public performances of drag queens
create collective drag queen identities, establishing new/fluid meaning of gender and sexuality
Setting and Data
Data collected through field research of 801 Cabaret girls
Conducted tape recorded semi-structured interviews with performers
all drag queens identified as gay men
Focus groups/attended performances
audiences of 50 to several thousand people
men, women, gay, heterosexuals, tourists and locals
Examined a weekly gay newspaper of the 801 girls
The 801 Girls
Drag performers who come from different racial, ethnic, regional, and national backgrounds
examines their appearance as both male and female
different ages, and statures
Becoming a Drag Queen
3 main influencing factors in doing drag
Gender Transgression
Same-sex Attraction
Gender Transgression
dressing in feminine/androgynous clothing
experimenting with makeup
playing with "girl" toys
Flaunt femininity
Separate identity they could put on and take off
Provided a way to hide, but also get attention
Same-sex Attraction
started doing drag because of their attraction to men
"coming out as being gay"
What it Means to be a Drag Queen: Personal Identities
what it means to be a drag queen varied among girls
two reoccurring/important identities linked to performance of drag
collective identity
strategy for undermining normative gender arrangements
common struggle of being a drag queen was consideration of becoming a woman
some did not experience crisis of wanting to become a woman
Theatrical Identity
many drag queens were involved in theater
liked creating identities and their identities as performers
engage in "street theatre"
theatrical identity involves taking on a new persona
drag queen persona's are different people from their
self-presentations and performances as a collective identity brings attention to artificiality of gender and sexual binaries
categories of masculinity/femininity, and heterosexuality/homosexuality are unstable
drag queen is a third category of gender in a society that only sees two
challenge the division between male and female
gender presentations and performances help to resist and transform gender and sexual systems
force audience to think in complex ways about what it means to be a man or a woman
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