The Inspiration of Drag

Through the viewing of the documentary Paris is Burning, I began to understand the context and foundation of what we see drag as today. My only experience with drag had been through RuPaul’s Drag Race around my middle school years. It was not until I had seen the Drag Show that Haven hosts each semester, that I experienced Drag in person. I never understood how much drag related to Muñoz’s ideas of the stage as an escape. After seeing how the people featured in Paris Is Burning would treat the Balls as an escape allowed me to understand drag in a different perspective. Pepper LaBeija said, “When I first started going to balls it was all about drag queens who were interested in looking like Las Vegas showgirls, back pieces, tail pieces, feathers, beads and all that… it started coming down to just wanting to look like a gorgeous movie star like Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor. And now they’re went from that to trying to look like models; like Iman and Christie Brinkley and Maud Adams and all those children.” This statement relates to the idea that partaking in the Balls helped make the disadvantaged participants feel like they were part of to social elite. A specific thing said in the movie that I remember was that the young people of color would feel like white executives by wearing fancy looking, upper-class clothing. I never had thought of drag outside of the context of pure performance. I didn’t see it as an encouraging place where anyone could be what they wanted to be. Drag used to be something that confused me, but after seeing a Drag Show for myself and watching Paris is Burning I understand that Drag holds an important place for those who feel like they cannot represent who they really want to be outside of a Ball, or the stage itself.

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The Craft: Utopia Edition

The Munoz reading really took my eye this week for a blog post. The “it’s just a phase” movement by delusional parents has no only affected myself, but countless other approval-seeking coming of age youths. While that example caught my eye, I found the idea of how one stages a utopia to be more intriguing. In his work Munoz says, “Utopia is not prescriptive; it renders potential blueprints of a world not quite here, a horizon of possibility, not a fixed schema. It is productive to think about utopia as flux, a temporal disorganization, as a moment when the here and the now is transcended by a then and a there that could be and indeed should be.” It made me develop the linkage between the delusion unknowing parents craft when dealing with wild queer youths and such. It’s only a hypotheses but I believe that the notion that Munoz was intentionally grabbing at is that we should focus more on the manner in which we script and cast our version of Utopia and how some utopias while different, could prove dissatisfactory for others. At least in the situation regarding discouraging parents and the notion of the “its just a phase”. Additionally, I enjoy the other idea that he presents pertaining to the temporality, spatial, and potentiality of one’s utopia. It goes without saying that everyone’s utopia is different however, not everyone consciously constructs their utopia in the same mentality. That mentality being the conscious crafting of one’s utopia while incorporating the philosophical yet realistic aspects that could prompt a more accurate Utopia. Do you feel the same way? Or am I just a nut who is reading way into a reading?