For the past several weeks, I've done basically nothing except work and watch RuPaul's Drag Race. It comes from not leaving the house much except for job stuff and not having the energy for much beyond TV. So I've watched the seasons available through Amazon Prime of Drag Race and quite enjoyed them.
Drag has always been kind of fascinating to me. While I'm not particularly up on queer culture in any way, this part of it appeals to me because I like how it plays with the arbitrary nature of gender markers. Yeah, X, Y, and Z are traditionally considered indicators of femaleness, but look, a man can put them on just as easily! And vice versa. That kind of detachment from gender norms makes me smile. Drag is of course not the same as actual gender fluidity, but I like the idea of temporarily tossing your gender to the wind and being a different one for a while.
As I’ve mentioned, while my sexuality is about as firmly straight as you can get, my gender has always felt sort of incidental.
Sure, I am definitely a woman and I’m comfortable with that, but it’s purely descriptive. If I’d been identified as a boy by society, I don’t think I’d be any more or less comfortable. So, while my straightness feels pretty intrinsic to the person that I am, my femaleness isn't. I often wonder what I'd be like if I were a boy, though I have no actual desire to be one. But I have always wanted to drag myself out and see how "masculine" I could make myself look. I think that would be a lot of fun to play that role for a little while. The technical aspects of drag, makeup, costuming, and other sorts of design, are up my alley, especially because they present a perennially interesting concept to me-- we have a problem (we need to make a male-identified person conform to feminine markers), how do we use technical skills to solve it?
I also think it’s interesting that the artifice of it is so clearly on display. In other aspects of culture related to appearance, I think there’s a lot of tendency to mask all the work and the seams involved. Oh, this model looks this glamorous all the time. She’s this thin naturally. This makeup isn’t hard to do. When in reality such images are the result of carefully composed, edited, stage-managed presentation. Even as I’m aware of that, in my own pursuit of beauty I’ve always gone for that ideal of “naturalness,” by which I mean that I look this good without accoutrement— so I would literally wake up like this. But making that possible actually means an enormous amount of work, including diet, exercise, skin-treating, and shaving. This is my real actual body, but it is certainly not like this left to its own devices. But in drag, I find it neat how the artifice is so embraced, so much part of the game. It's an interesting comment on what gender markers even are, if the strongest ones are those that any person, regardless of how they identify, could put on.