Drag shows have always bothered me, insulted me as a woman being caricatured. A man showily "doing it better." Having made myself more aware of the transgendered issues and realities, I have come to accept that this is not intentional. Or at least not intended as an insult. And I connected it today to several other cultural phenomenon, a countercultural fad that has mushroomed into industrial toxicity.
There is a book called Body Drama reviewed in a 'zine left in the lounge at work, with two photos, one of a woman, the other a copy - photoshopped to create a size-one bottom. Seen alone, the second would seem normal in a women's fashion spread, next to the real one, it looks freakish, and boyish. And I began to think about uber thin models, and the prevalence of gay men in fashion. Men who would prefer girls to look more like boys, slim hipped, small busted, not a conscious choice. (Female designers, for the most part, prefer boys too.) Curvy, maternal women dressed flatteringly will never be their aim. The other side of fashion, couture - is about art, and the models are hangers for the art, so having to create livable clothes is again, not the point.
Drag queens are all about women writ large, on stage, the female that most brassily appeals to, yes, men. Not all men, certainly, but the kind of man who likes strippers and prostitutes, the obvious, for sale woman, the surface of sexual woman, and is amused and aroused by the exaggeration.
Which suddenly struck me as being akin to clowns. Clowns elicit nervous laughter, a fearful pleasure, an indulgence in stereotypes, obvious humor. Most folks these days don't like clowns, finding them creepy. Which is closer to what I have always felt about drag queens, the appeal completely lost on me. It's all about masks and surfaces, adoring the glamour and the flash, selling the sizzle, painting on a face.
I'll take my own, unadorned.