This week in class we discussed a discourse analysis of the movie Beauty and the Beast. I was intrigued by this topic because I did not think much of the childhood Disney princess film till we discussed in the class the normativity of the story with our society and also the nonnormativity of the movie that is often overlooked. Like any other Disney princess film, the viewer goes in watching the movie knowing that they are about to watch the love story unfold and that there is some curse that must be broken for the characters to live happily ever after…yet no one questions it. As we discussed in the class, the normativity of the movie is that she falls in love and lives happily ever after with her man. But let me not leave out the nonnormativity of the whole fairytale, first the girl full of brains who don’t need no man ends up falling for a beast that walks on his hind legs and has CLAWS. Not mention she falls in love with him after he’s locked her and casted her to the tower and has been coerced several times from a talking candle stick and a clock who are mostly worried about THEMSELVES not being able to turn back into humans before the last rose petal falls. Yes its a fairytale but the issue is its acceptable by the viewer that she falls in love with a beast but if she happened to ménage á trois with some girls everyone would lose their shit. Kidding, kidding… but it makes you think.
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?