Response to “Reading is the Real Art Form of Insult”

The highlight of this episode was the lip-sync between Alyssa and Roxxxy. Of course, this is a competition and everything and anything is game–including personal anecdotes and the waterworks. I, too, like Ian thought Roxxxy was pulling out all the stops to save herself from elimination. Roxxxy cries out, “It just hurts that I was left,” and in the process breaks everybody’s hearts just a little (even my tiny heart). I completely agree with Ian’s conclusion that Roxxy’s story ties in closely to the unfortunate and pervasive experiences of queer youth suffering from the same abandonment by family members. This is an example of the divide we’ve been studying in our Queer Identities and Popular Culture class: the “us” versus “them.” We have also since learned that the “us” against “them” mentality exists even within the already ostracized queer culture in Warner’s “The Trouble with Normal.”

This brings me to the point I would like to further explore: RuPaul’s response. Maintaining her composure, RuPaul responds, “We love you.  And you are so welcome here.” RuPaul’s Drag Race is a discursive space, as we learned from Rodriguez. It displays the characteristics of being 1. a place to converse 2. where knowledge is produced and the norms are set and 3. there is its own linguistic code. Although this is a game show, most of the entertainment from the show comes from the relationships and the interactions between the contestants. The girls come together to create a discursive space, a space for a subculture.

In “Bear Nation,” the bear subculture is often described by the subjects as a place where they were accepted; where previously the “weird” and the not “normal” (for the bears, the fact that they were gay men that did not abide by the gay stereotype) was now “OK.” Their “trouble with normal” ceased to exist within the safe confines of their community. Although Roxxxy’s abandonment does not appear to be based on sexual orientation, Roxxxy felt as though she was not accepted–just like some of the bears interviewed in the documentary. RuPaul wisely explains, “You know, as gay people, we get to choose our own family.” The contestants share the foundation of being drag queens and most share similar backgrounds or experiences–unfortunately most are struggles with acceptance. The show itself is a subculture that demonstrates that regardless of each drag queen’s history or experiences, they are now “OK.” As RuPaul states, “We are a family here.”

-MS

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