“Serving Fish And Fucking Gender” Response

I found Rosalie’s analysis of the pilot episode of this season of RuPaul’s Drag Race to be comprehensive, but as our QIPC class has progressed, we have learned more analytical tools with which to do a reading of a show like RuPaul. 

While watching the episode, I found it interesting that Roxxxy Andrews said (in response to Serena Cha Cha’s revealing of her anatomy in the tank of water), “Look like a woman, it’s female impersonation at the end of the day.” This was interesting, as drag is oftentimes thought of as a form of camp, or critique of male masculinity. I connected Roxxxy’s definition of drag to Martin F. Manalansan’s description in Global Divas (the book I read for my report) of how gay Filipino men interpreted drag — as an art and attempt at imitation of women, not explicitly to “fuck” with gender or gender roles.

At the start of every challenge, Ru would say to the drag queens, “gentlemen, start your engines, and may the best woman win.” This further contributes to Rosalie’s point about Smith’s concepts of “genderfuck,”which are greatly applicable to this show. By addressing the contestants at first as “gentlemen” and then saying “may the best woman win,” Ru is allowing interpretation from the viewer as to whether they identify the contestants as men or women, or both. This challenges normative ideas of gender because it allows the contestants to also be either gender or to be both. 

As with Sender’s analysis of the television show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, there are positive and negative views of a show such as RuPaul’s Drag Race. A negative view is that RuPaul may portray negative stereotypes about queer men, specifically those who participate in drag. As Larry Gross explained in “The Mediated Society,” the media has an especially powerful influence upon audiences. In media, we see and encounter people we may not in real life, and our knowledge of such a group of people may be limited to what we see in the media. In this case, an audience member or group’s impression of drag queens or those who are queer could be quite limited, or limited only to what is presented on RuPaul’s Drag Race, which presents the contestants as very sassy, over-the-top, and back-stabbing. In the dressing room before the main challenge, as the contestants were putting on their makeup, many of them acted hostile towards one another, especially towards Serena Cha Cha, who was just as critical and hostile towards the others. The contestants were also portrayed to be placing immense pressure on Alaska to open up about her relationship with Sharon Needles and although it seemed to be unnerving Alaska, the others persisted in questioning her, and the show made it seem like they were all doing so on purpose in order to shake her game. 

 

Advertisements

Post a response

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: