RuPaul’s Drag Race. It’s queer culture. It’s your feel good reality show with a high dosage of shaaade.
In my last post, I actually referenced a specific moment from the show to coherently express my feelings on a matter, but today I speak of a much more generalised topic surrounding the show; Confidence.
Confidence? How vague.
Drag is something where many moods and political issues are expressed in a form of art, and it puts such positive energy out into the LGBT community. I would say that RuPaul’s Drag Race is possibly the most well known outlet for drag queens to make their name internationally. There are many, many other paths and any queen who’s been down such is no less valid than a Drag Race star, but from my point of view, it’s the most accessible form of popular drag.
One thing I would say following that is I’d say it’s most accessible in the sense that it’s easily watched on Sky and Netflix, and for me, it was the pathway into drag. I always appreciated drag, but didn’t know enough about it and hadn’t really seen many queens apart from a few in the evening in Brighton, and a few in LGBT+ clubs. This mainstream introduction to the art has benefitted me in the way i’m now totally obsessed and would go to any show regardless of if I know the acts prior or not. Personally, I now am excited to be supporting not only my favourites from the show, but local queens too- to name a few of my faves, Daphne the 10 year old and Ivy.
Back to Confidence.
Drag queens, whether they truly are or not, come across as confident characters. Even the queens with international quirk are seen, surely, as confident.
As a human being, I am not confident. I guess I could be categorised as an ambivert; I’ve always been super shy, introverted and anxious as one can be, but since joining my workplace, I have rocketed. If you have a conversation with me, you can tell I’m anxious most of the time, even when truly comfortable with someone- whether it’s a minor generalised anxiety or specifically relative to something. Occasionally, I still trip over my words and that induces fear in me; ages 14-16 I developed a stutter (and am almost convinced I can specifically pinpoint it to something specific) and though it’s no more every word, it gets me every once in a while.
If you speak to me in work nowadays, or on here… I can present as confident and loud but it is hugely to disguise the opposite.
Since watching Drag Race… I’ve also felt a rocket.
You may have seen my most recent post on a moment in Season 7 of the show, in which Jaidynn Diore Fierce, once closeted to her parents (despite them knowing about drag), came out on international television. Since I spoke about sexuality there, I won’t mention that aspect of the show too much today, but I think it’s fair to say the openness of the show has drastically increased my confidence in my sexuality, and sparked the most recent, and essentially ‘coming out’ post.
Otherwise, a more general but grand force is produced by Drag Race to fuel fans with their own confidence. I am so used to hearing queens’ catchphrases thrown about amongst my pals, and songs featuring queens come on at work. In a training session I led recently I had people in teams strutting the length of our shop to ‘Sissy That Walk’ to feel fierce, and I admit, when my queens’ playlist is on whilst I wander into town myself, I always feel fierce. Even if I’m exhausted and/or don’t look fierce that day.
I have also picked up so many words phrases and so much drag slang in my times watching the show. Language used at work predominantly surfaces from queer media culture, which always makes me feel ontop of the world.
I used to be very reserved and when I didn’t seem so, my anxious self radiated one thing unsure of itself; a false note of positivity to coat the crippling anxiety I felt on a daily basis, within myself. For a long time, I was able to use this cloaked anxiety to fake it, but now I feel I’m really making it. Every day feels like a runway to me, and that doesn’t even consider my fashion or make up choices. As a disabled woman, it’s made me feel more comfortable when needing the use of mobility aids, since I feel confident in every step with or without a cane; Surely, that problem was society’s anyway- I didn’t choose to not be able bodied- but still, I was made to feel uncomfortable in my own skin by strangers, and now… the glares do not phase me. I’m werking this life thing.
In the words of Alaska and Adore Delano…
Queens and their outfits have most certainly helped with my body image. I’ve faced a lot with dysmorphia, and even on the good days the disordered thoughts don’t leave you. But I feel damn great after any drag race episode.
I feel as if drag massively embodies freedom of expression and that is something I battled with for years. I remember the constant comments about my ‘unconventional’ style growing up, and that said with backhanded compliments. I truly flipped between nerdy grunge chick to pretty pretty (or so I tried). Regardless of what phase my style was always bold, extravagant, and that was my confidence. Fashion sense so loud to make up for my eternal silence.
Drag has given me more mental freedom to be who I want to be, to appreciate my own body and not be scared to do whatever the hell I want with it. I don’t think without it I’d be going out and confidently showcasing myself and slowly coming to an acceptance my body. Though this may have been on the cards with my recovery journey anyway, drag has not hindered this voyage in any way and I can only suggest the amazing things it has done for me.
Also, seeing the queens in the werkroom has definitely helped me. Be that re: changing in front of my friends, transformations and so much more than I can put into words. People might see what’s underneath? The curves and dips I so reluctantly show through any clothes… aaaaand what? Why am I so insecure about them? The answer is because it’s out of my on control, but when I have the chance to take back control positivity, it’s taught me not to refuse the compliments I receive from others and appreciate my own shape. I now more happily squeeze into the tight skirt with little give or wear a baggy top without concern of it being flattering or not, and if I ever so face the concern only move forward rather than letting it cripple me.
The Personal Side
A lot of queens have faced hardships; in whatever form they have themselves, they have and a lot of people speak out. I noticed more queens speak out about their mental health than in the general media, and that is so helpful. There are so many young viewers influenced heavily by these queens, and many may be feeling alone- be that due to being LGBT+ or other things- and drag will help them find that life purpose.
Many queens seem to speak of their own battles with mental health, addiction and personal experiences and how those have made them feel. This allows viewers, in the midst of youth or adulthood, through happiness or consumed by depression, to feel some relation to the queens and feel their existence to be a support network. Many also use their strength in recovery to keep going themselves.
We, as gay people, get to choose our family.
I couldn’t upload a post like this without mention of my favourite queens, could I?! I don’t really have any dislikes for queens, unless they’re rude or such, but I do have a list of queens I love with my whole heart, much more deeply than the others:
- Yekaterina Petrova Zamolochikova (but your dad… just calls me… Katya…)
- Adore Delano
- Bianca Del Rio
- Jinkx Monsoon
- Ivyyyyyyyy Winterrrrrssss
- Kameron Michaels
- Blair St Clair
- Trixie Mattel
- Violet Chachki
- Miss Fame
I really needed to vocalise the power of drag to fans of the art or people wanting to delve in, so what better month than pride month?
I hope you have a glorious pride month and enjoyed reading this,