Fishy Fierceness

It is clear from the result of last week episodes, which ended in a shocking double elimination, that RuPaul is not playing around. He wants the next drag superstar to embody the idea completely, from attitude, dress, makeup and personality. He wants the contestants to be a specific kind of drag that it always glamorous, fishy and can handle the competition.

This episode seems to pose challenges for the contestants that show exactly what qualities a drag superstar needs to have. In the mini challenge the girls are told to transform a snuggie type blanket into a red carpet worthy garment, and are compared to each other to see who wore it best. It is interesting that Alaska wore a feline animal mask and did not get critiqued for not wearing drag makeup, because she was essentially covered her face-especially after having previously been criticized for being in boy drag in episode three. Shortly after the challenge was over, it is announced that the Snatch Game will be the main challenge of the episode. This is a main challenge that appears in every season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. The Snatch Game fortifies what it means to be a drag superstar. The challenge requires the girls to have improve and impersonation skills, and above all to be funny. These qualities are essential not only the challenge, but to the definition of being a drag queen. Jinkx Monsoon makes this clear when she says that without these skills “a drag queen might as well not call herself a drag queen.”

During the challenge some girls struggle to perform well in all the skills required. From the preparation of the contestants celeb characters to the performance on the Snatch Game, I had my doubts on whether some contestants would succeed. All in all most of the girls ended up doing well, while others fell short. Though RuPaul and the other contestants had doubts in Jinkx Monsoon’s impersonation of Little Edie, she ended up playing up her character the most and winning the challenge, even though it was not recognizable to the audience or the contestants.

On elimination day, all the contestants had their doubts on whether they performed their best in the challenge, and whether they looked their best for theme of that weeks dress style which revolved around “fishy fierceness” and “serving girlish glamour on the runway.” Alyssa Edwards was concerned about how well her impression for Katy Perry was, which ultimately ended up in having to tweet Katy an apology because of how much the impression would let down Katy Perry down. The tension between the contestants, especially Coco Montrese, who seems to want to pick a fight with every other contestant, was shown when she said that Jinkx was “all comedy and no glamour.” Jinkx claimed that it was just a different side of drag, and she is more quirky and funny than glamourous. This added with Jinkx’s’ “pedestrian look” she named “Seattle boho chic,” was to Jinkx a “slightly different aesthetic” than what most of the other contestants wore.

In Lynne Joyrich’s Epistemology of the Console, she claims there is a demand for a visibility of sexual orientation, gender and race, but that this form of visibility in the media, are just constructions. She states that visibility on TV:

“…carries dangerous assumptions, taking this visibility for granted and not acknowledging it as itself a construction.” (17)

Even though there is visibility of drag queens on TV, what is there is a construction. RuPaul seems to be constructing a specific type of drag queen that is glamourous and fishy. By eliminating and criticizing those who do not fall under his construction, he is producing a specific knowledge of drag queen visibility. Considering the eliminations so far, there also seems be a visibility constructed that not only must the next drag superstar be glamorous and fishy, but also versed in the culture of the US. For this weeks eliminated contestant Lineysha Sparx and previously eliminated contestant Serena ChaCha, their foreignness often got in the way of their success in challenges, and getting along with the other contestants.

-JB

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