What a Drag

Am I the only person fed up of drag shows? A parody of what a real woman is, like black face. Woman are juggling kids, rushing out a wholesome dinner, doing the laundry & cleaning, holding down a job all with period pains & leaky boobs if breast feeding. Enough of the stereotypes.
It's my personal opinion that I don't like drag shows and find them demeaning. Promoting one view of being female when in my experience there is so much more to being a woman. Most of it is very unglamorous. 
Sharron Davies MBE, Olympic Swimmer

No, Sharron, you're not alone. I agree with you.

Years ago blackface, including on shows like the Black and White Minstrel Show, was considered a homage to black people, celebrating the music of the American south, harmless fun. Now we find the idea of white people pretending to be black horrifying.

Why don't we find the idea of men pretending to be women, in cruel and exaggerated parodies, equally horrifying?

I find drag queens to be a grotesque caricature of what a woman really is, and frankly insulting. They suggest that what femininity is about is gawdy sequins, tottering about in eight-inch heels, sporting eyelashes you could sweep the floor with, garish make-up, calling each other "girl" and adopting vacant expressions and ridiculous names.

Womanhood is none of that. Womanhood is juggling raising and nurturing family with holding down a job and struggling to be all things to all people, all while feeling guilty about being neither the perfect mother or the perfect employee, and yet no one asks your husband how he feels about having to go to work while the children are so young. It means bearing the mental load even when you work the same hours as the man in your life. What do I mean by that? Is it more commonly the wife or the husband who knows when all the friends and relatives' birthdays are and arranges presents and cards? Is it more commonly the wife or the husband who knows which child has PE/Cookery/a project due on any given day, and whether their school uniform is washed and ironed? Is it more commonly the wife or the husband who knows when dentist/optician and any other medical appointments are due, or who plans what the family will eat each day and keeps a mental inventory of the cupboards? Who, in your relationship, put a load of laundry into the washing machine before breakfast, and produces sorted and ironed piles of clean clothes each evening, even when she's been at work all day?

Womanhood is knowing that as much as you'd like to walk across the park to the shop after 6pm on a winter evening it's not safe for you to do so alone, and so the family will have to manage without milk for their breakfast in the morning. It's walking on lit routes with lots of other people around, but still being terrified by the catcalls and casual harassment from passing cars: "Nice ass darlin'!" It's watching a man receive credit and adulation for something you suggested not ten minutes ago, but because you were a woman no one took your opinion seriously. It's a man explaining what the Oxford comma is even though you've got a degree in English and have written eight novels, simply because he assumes that as a woman you can't possibly know about it.

Womanhood is sore breasts, uncomfortable bloating, and cramps so bad that you can barely function without being dosed to the eyeballs on painkillers, and yet you're expected to keep this quiet and not talk about it-- certainly not take time off work or school!--because no one must ever know that you're subject to this natural bodily function. It's mentally counting weeks to find out whether that five-hour meeting or long journey will occur on a day when you need to visit the toilet every two hours and won't dare to cough, sneeze, or stand up.

Womanhood is standing in a queue when you're desperate for the toilet because designers of buildings allocate exactly the same amount of space to men's and women's bathrooms even though you can fit many more urinals into that space than you can cubicles. Even though women take longer in the toilet because they may have small children to manage, or periods to deal with, never mind that it's a longer process anyway (and they're more likely to wash their hands).

Womanhood is knowing that other women across the world are not allowed to drive, or travel, or hold some jobs, and that women and girls of all ages are trafficked, raped, forced into marriage, mutilated, sold for sex and then blamed for it while men frequently get away with no real meaningful punishment. It's knowing that historically women have had fewer rights and opportunities, and that even now in the UK there isn't equal pay - that low paying and demeaning jobs are more likely to be held by women and top, high-paying jobs are more likely to be held by men. It's knowing that women are abused physically, sexually and mentally by men who exploit their greater physical strength and that every three days a woman is a killed by her partner. It's also knowing that because this sometimes happens to men too we can't make too much noise about it because #whatabout those men it happens to? And since #notallmen use their girlfriends as a punching bag we shouldn't be making them feel bad by complaining about it.

It's paying more for the same item be it a razor or a haircut, clothes with no pockets or--horrors!--fake pockets, and being expected to be unrealistically thin and beautifully dressed and made up at all times. I'm not even going to get into the pain and indignity that is pregnancy and childbirth or we'll be here all day.

So what does this have to do with drag queens?

I find it insulting that these men can dress up in outrageous costumes and ridiculous make-up and parade around saying, "look at us, we're women!" It's stereotyping, it's demeaning, and it's giving men power to declare what they think womanhood is about. Until they have experienced all that the average woman does they have no right to lay claim to that sacred title, or to pretend to know what it means to be a woman.They are wrong, and they are insulting us, and I have had enough of it.

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