Why the fuck would Drag Queen’s be Feminists?

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Recently, I started Reading some feminist blogs. I have a long running interest in gender and sexuality and feminists seem to be the ones doing most of the talking about those topics. I’m actually a pretty big fan of Clarisse Thorn after reading a bunch of her stuff, particularly after reading this article. Unfortunately, there are so many other feminist writers who are utterly infuriating – this being a prime example.

First and foremost, I should say that Feminism as a concept bothers me. Feminism is by it’s definition, a vehicle to advance the agenda of a single interest group, exclusionary to the interests of all others. Fundamentally – I think that’s disreputable. Masking that process as the pursuit of egalitarianism is I think disingenuous and misleading. I mentally cast that notion in with ethnic segregationists and and misogynistic patriarchalism.

In reality, I know that most feminists are actually egalitarian. Which is a concept that I support whole heartedly. I also know that most supporters of Men’s Rights groups and the like are also fundamentally supporting egalitarianism. But so very many activists are actually supporting their own interest group’s agenda with no real interest in egalitarianism, except in a creepy, Orwellian ‘Animal Farm’ context where they’re more equal than everyone else. So I try and filter my reading down to people who are smart and are actually interested in discussing gender and sexuality in a reasonable way – rather than pushing an agenda.

Today I read this. Convoluted series of links from something Clarrise posted. Wow that was a mistake.

The thrust of the story was that an alarming number of men who dress in women's clothing do not have an accompanying interest in women's rights. Which is frankly astonishing to me. Why on earth would Drag Queens have any interest or concern as a group, in Women’s Rights? Human nature is clear in that we’re self interest. If Drag Queens, as a group – were going to have an active interest in any kind of equality/anti-discrimination agenda – they’re much more likely to be concerned with anti-homosexual agendas. Discrimination against Cross Dressers, and the Gender Queer would also be a pretty big concern I’d imagine. But fundamentally, Cross Dressers aren’t Cisexual women. Most Cross dressers don't even self identify as women. The discrimination that they’re exposed to isn’t discrimination against women. And if any group of people was less likely to see a downside to being biologically female and not having the same rights and considerations as Cisgendered men – I can’t think of who they might be.

You would think that these men would be natural feminists. They are intimately aware of the performance of femininity; their gimmick is based upon societal discomfort with gender nonconformity; they are forced to perform absurd tasks in ridiculous footwear.

The writer was at the Dupont High Heel Race. Does she really think that the queens she was interviewing have a serious problem with ridiculous footwear? That they feel ‘forced’ to perform? Seriously? Drag performers are typically people who enjoy the role and enjoy the footwear. Cross Dressers and Transgendered parties moving towards a female identity aren’t the same Demographic as Drag Queens at all – and in the CD and TG communities – there is a reasonably visible propensity towards fetishizing the ludicrous shoes, but there are also many many people who wear comfortable shoes and pursue their gender role because they find more joy and truth in it. Who find joy and benefit in being feminine.

Also, and this is a little politically incorrect in a time when so many transgender parties are stressing that their change is based in need, not desire – but I know a good number of pre-op M to F, or fully transitioned parties who sought a feminine gender identity because they thought it was better. Sexually and socially – they compared masculinity and femininity and found either the middle ground, or the female transition to be preferable. I don’t mean to imply that it’s a universal truth, or that it’s even reflective of a majority of transgendered parties – but I’d estimate that among my personal acquaintances and friends it’s reflective of somewhere between a third and a half of the gender transitions that I’ve observed. And for reference, I think it’s awesome and those people are tremendously sexually interesting to me. But I think it’s indicative of why they’re the last people I’d expect to see being a woman as a disadvantaged position that needs balancing.

Also, and lets be honest, lots of Cis homosexual men, who typically make up a majority of drag queens, are kind of misogynistic. Again, it’s not universal or anything – but lots of gay men have issues with women and apart from close and trusted friends – see women as anything but sympathetic. Admittedly, among my friends and family – there’s some pretty profound misogyny – so maybe I’m seeing that as a broader characteristic than it deserves – but Alan Down’s excellent ‘The Velvet Rage’ gives some great insights into why men only club nights might about more than focusing attention on valid potential sexual partners.


Sinistre said...

I unfortunately tend to bump into feminists fairly often through work. In general, I find them to be the most inflexible, inflammatory unrealistic people. The second most common hallmark they share, behind window dressing gender promotion as equal rights, is the dogged determination to speak on behalf of other groups without bothering to find out what those groups want.
This propensity usually goes hand in hand with zero research.
It's rude, but they never realise it; even when it is brought to their attention.
They tend to have a closed mind.