Quare and RuPaul

I’ve talked on this blog several times before about RuPaul and her career, and here I am to do it again, because when it comes to a sexuality and gender studies class, she is almost always relevant. Quare is used to define the experience of specifically queer people of color, and the RuPaul is certainly one of the most prevalent quare figures. Probably the second most popular aside from Laverne Cox. RuPaul, since the 1980’s has RuPbeen a fixture in the pop culture scene, and continues to remain relevant more than 30 years after her rise to stardom. She’s written two books, made a movie, has had two television shows, and has been featured in countless other films and television programs. Due to her massive success and marketing savvy, she has built a brand and empire larger than anyone, including herself, ever expected.

However, RuPaul has stated before that she does not like to be grouped in with the mainstream media, because she believes that the art of drag, in and of itself, is used to make fun of mainstream media. So in a world where she and her show, RuPaul’s Drag Race, are nominated for and win an Emmy, where does she draw the line on remaining separate from mainstream media. RuPaul continued to assimilate herself with pop culture with the recent move of RuPaul’s Drag Race from Logo, a notably queer (and also notably unsuccessful channel, other than her show) network, to VH1, a network that is considered by many to be mainstream.

While I firmly believe that it is a good thing that a quare individual like RuPaul, as well as all of the queer and quare queens who go through her show, are given a larger platform to show their talents, is drag losing its bite as a result? Is there room for drag in pop culture?

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6 thoughts on “Quare and RuPaul

  1. For starters, I’m an incredibly huge fan of RPDR and have been thoroughly inspired by the series in whole. I think, specifically, I admire the show so much because of it Quare aspects. The intersectionality that is demonstrated on the show, I feel, should be included in mass media. As to the “bite” made by the show, I feel, is almost stronger than ever. The quare magnification the Queens go through have established a sense of expected diversity within its media. The growth and commonality of emphasizing enthographies of the queens add the bite to the show! All T included, I believe that the show does well in part because it includes all those different backgrounds and is endorsed and operated by a minority drag queen with impeccable talent. There’s so much flexibility in pop culture that I couldn’t imagine any form of drag race that does not fit in pop culture. Great Linkage; RuPual and Quare Studies.

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  2. While the move to VH1 can be considered “selling out” tot he mainstream media, I can see it as a stronger form of representation being presented to a different group of people. Being on Logo was a good place to start for RuPaul’s Drag Race, but now seeing that the show has gained a large following, and mainstream presence, putting the show on VH1 can become the vehicle that will allow drag to be seen more in the public eye. Logo also required a subscription for most TV viewers, so now that the show is on a much more accessible station, the better. I think the biggest shame would be if the show’s purity, character, and messages started to change. If the show begins to lose its authenticity, then that’s how we will know if RuPaul has really lost her bite.

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  3. I like how you incorporated main stream media into this idea of quare because when I think of quare I think of it as more of a “household term” created and secluded to, for example grandma’s front porch, and I think in the media the more commonly used term is queer.
    I agree with you that RuPaul is one of the best examples because she is such a strong and well known figure. It is interesting that you propose the question, “is there room for drag in pop culture?”. I think that even if pop culture becomes more exclusive and removes the older ideas and form of expression and art there is still room for drag in our society. I think that it will never die as an art form or an expression of passion but it may eventually form into the flow of our society, given the motto out with the old in with the new. There may even become a more modern form a drag that creates the freshness and edge our society craves. That is the beauty of the world we live in is that we are constantly creating new and interesting ways to make art or express who we are.

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  4. Wow Tom, I think Rupaul was a great person to focus on for this section. Your post was extremely eye opening, as I was not aware of the recent changes in Rupaul’s Drag Race or more importantly Rupaul’s decision to distance herself from main stream media. Being that it is extremely detrimental to the LGBT community for the drag racing to be seen as funny and not taken seriously. While there are comical moments in drag performance, the show in itself should not been seen as a joke. For this reason I totally understand and agree with Rupaul’s decision; however, from a business perspective you’re totally right. Moving Rupaul’s Drag Race to a more successful channel will definitely bring more exposure to the participants and it also may help to normalize LGBT culture as well. Great post, hope you have an awesome week!

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  5. I love RPDR as well. When I first found the tv show it was the first exposure I ever had to drag. Rupaul and the other queens taught me what baking your face is and what “tucking” is. Before this I didn’t even begin to think if how a man could ever be feminine. But I soon grew fascinated with with drag and the world that seemed so far away and different from my own. It made me want to learn more and share it with others, first my family, then friends. I think RPDR is very important in showing large audiences drag and making people question what is feminine and what is masculine. I don’t think drag will ” lose its bite” due to this, I think it will if anything make more people question what is normal?

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  6. I think your blog post did an awesome job at framing the concept of ‘quare’ within pop culture. A lot of the drag that pervaded mainstream television and media pre-RPDR was often co-opted by heterosexual actors, RPDR has managed to make an important space for drag in pop culture without having to center heterosexuality. I totally understand the sentiment that a larger or different platform could lead to a loss of quality or originality that was essential to the show’s rise (coughcouhANTM), the cool thing is that Ru has managed to remain consistent as a show runner over the years and I feel this consistency will still translate even with VH1 as the new network. Circling back to my earlier statement about centering heterosexuality, I think the fact that RPDR as a show does not center hetero individuals and showcases such a fun and exciting part of LGBTQ culture is what will help it to maintain its “bite”.

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