Start Your Engines…

25 Feb

RuPaul”s Drag Race Season 6 – Trailer from Eduardo Roza on Vimeo.

A couple of years ago, I was spending a lazy Friday night at my friend Brian’s apartment on the Upper West Side. We were drinking Gin and Tonics and catching up on “30 Rock” on Netflix. Once we were Liz Lemoned out, he suggested we watch old episodes of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

“It’s so campy and cheap and ridiculous, you’re going to love it!”

I was reluctant. I was skeptical. Brian is gay. I’m not. It wasn’t my culture, and drag queens had never interested me. Two episodes in, the show was growing on me. First, it’s hilarious. Queens insult (“read”) each other with quick-witted, smart one-liners. The competitions they were put in were over-the-top camp. Photo shoots in a wind tunnel that pulled their wigs off, getting thrown in a dunk tank. The tongue in cheek humor is unparalleled. The winner is whoever displays the most “cunning, uniqueness, nerve, and talent.” Think about that acronym.

So I became hooked. To this day, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” is the only show that I look forward to, make sure to watch on a weekly basis. I’ve even gone to events in the city that feature some of the past and present queens. Over the years, I’ve begun to see the show as more than outrageous fashion and campy attitudes. Beneath all the glitter, the show has a distinct message about being yourself, and to me, it’s taught me a lot about being a woman.

Despite our equality strides, women are still not portrayed as powerful as often as they should be. When they are, it’s with a frumpy bitch overtone (see Hillary Clinton). Men dressing as women has traditionally been seen as humiliating, weak. What the drag queens do is elevate the ideals of womanhood. They are smart, creative, and tough. They are beautiful and commanding. The queens that win are the ones with the strongest personalities. Last year was Jinkx Monsoon with her vaudeville humor and flapper glamor. The year before that was Sharon Needles who has a gothic appearance and a penchant for using fake blood in her outfits. But these lady boys aren’t laughed at for dressing up as women, they are respected and admired.

We should all be that proud to be ourselves.

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2 Responses to “Start Your Engines…”

  1. queerf0x March 14, 2014 at 8:03 pm #

    I love watching RuPaul’s Drag Race, too! I was rooting so hard for Sharon Needles; the goth in me felt represented, and she was just gorgeous and strong.
    You have articulated beautiful reasons for why this show is awesome.

    • Chrissy March 16, 2014 at 10:31 pm #

      I loved Sharon Needles! She was so different from the other girls, and I loved her wit!

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