If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?
If you’ve never watched RuPaul’s Drag Race before, lemme lay it out for you. Picture feathers and rhinestones and cinched waists, along with lip syncs and death drops and more than a dozen #sickening queens competing for a crown and cash prize of $100,000. They sing, they dance, they act, they crack jokes, they sew costumes from scratch, and oh… they’re all in six inch heels.
When I first happened across RuPaul’s Drag Race as a freshman in high school, I had no idea what a drag queen was. Hell, I had no idea that RuPaul was really a man in a wig and not an actual woman. Since that discovery, I’ve become fascinated with drag culture and the complexities of this light-hearted show; and, apparently, so has everyone else. According to Deadline.com, viewership from season 8 to the latest season 9 has gone up 122% in adults ages 18-49. So why the sudden interest? Let’s start with the basic fact that Drag Race uncovers the LGBTQ+ community on national television – showing us these queens are just like us.
Most importantly, Drag Race sheds light on the hardships and struggles faced by the LGBTQ+ community on a daily basis. Often times these queens have been disowned by their family, forced to keep their drag a secret, been homeless, struggled with eating disorders, and gone through addiction. Despite these hardships, they’ve managed to remain resilient and worked their way up in the drag world. As RuPaul said in an interview with the UK’s Alan Carr, “It’s all about the tenacity of the human spirit… That’s why the show is a success, because you get to see that if you have a dream it really cannot be held down.”
The show gives a voice to people who do not fit society’s standards. By offering visibility to these types of individuals, it proves to LGBTQ+ youth that they are not alone. It shows us that there is more we can do in terms of advocating for social acceptance and equality for the gay community. RuPaul said “doing drag in a male dominated culture is like treason” due to the societal pressure men often face to prove their masculinity. These queens resist this pressure, embrace both their masculinity and femininity, and stretch the boundaries placed on gender binaries. In fact Peppermint, a Season 9 queen, even came out as a trans-woman during her time on the show. So yea, don’t try and tell me drag isn’t for everyone.
The next time you’re procrastinating that essay or looking for your next series to binge, take a moment to check out the show, keep an open mind, and prepare for your life to change.
Can I get an amen up in here?