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Drag Queen OK; Blackface Not. Why?
Over on another thread about a rant by some guy named George Lopez (I guess he’s a comedian?), @vthek (VictorTangoKilo) suggested replacing “drag [queen]” with “womanface,” which prompted a connection I had not previously considered: Why is “drag queen” to be celebrated and encouraged. At the same time “blackface” is condemned and anybody who ever participated in it or even enjoyed a show including it must be erased from society and history? Victor’s use of “womanface” provided me with a new perspective on drag queens.
As I understand it, blackface is objectionable because it is appropriating the superficial appearance of black people’s identity in order to poke fun at that identity by stereotyping or exaggerating certain characteristics.
Is that not also what “drag queens” do with their “womanface?” They appropriate a female outward appearance and then poke fun at that female identity by stereotyping and exaggerating certain perceived feminine characteristics. Based on my very superficial readings, most “drag queens” make no claims to being actual women. They readily acknowledge that they are men adopting a pretend female role.
So if blackface is so bad that its existence must be eradicated from the historical record for appropriating black people’s identity, why do drag queens get celebrated for appropriating women’s identity? Or is this just another social rule that I have to accept as is regardless of its logical inconsistency?Published in Entertainment
I’ve noticed Mollie Hemingway using the term “Ladyface” recently.
No, I don’t accept it, and you don’t have to accept it either. It all depends on how unfashionable one is willing to be. Fashion and I parted ways– well, we’ve never met, actually.
But your post asks a serious question, and it’s one I’ve wondered about myself. I think part of the reason that men prancing around stage as caricatures of women is considered cool while men doing the racial equivalent is a firing offense is this: blackface wasn’t edgy when it was introduced. It was mainstream and appealed to a broad audience of normal people. In contrast, drag has almost always been a campy subversive thing, something that happened in the clubs frequented by hip people.
I think there might be another reason as well, one more revealing of the disparate nature of the sexes. When a man puts on blackface he’s accentuating a trivial distinction that most of us have pretty much gotten past. Most of us have come to believe (and correctly, I think, though some will argue) that there really isn’t much inherent difference between black and white people. People who wear blackface do it for one reason, to highlight a trivial distinction in a callback to widespread racist assumptions of a bygone era.
On the other hand, even the gender study dopes know there’s a difference between males and females. The guys who derive some weird sexual gratification from dressing up like girls certainly know there’s a difference. The people who watch the spectacle and feel either titillation or discomfort do as well, or they wouldn’t sense and respond to the fundamental perversion of the practice.
Point being, the popularity of cross-dressing men is a reminder that men and women are different, while the response to blackface is an acknowledgement that black and white really aren’t.
Of course, I could be completely wrong.
For a person of the left, whose center of attention is the mind, acceptance is conditional on the perception of the other person’s mind. Al Jolson blackface is perceived as denigration by the other person. Drag is perceived as the other’s aspiration.
Both perceptions are lying projections, of course. Lefties are sick, is a better answer to your q.
Logic is a tool of the Patriarchy to keep womyns down.
This is yet another example of the Democrat Party creating a tactical talking point to use against conservatives. It doesn’t have to be accurate, it doesn’t have to be logically consistent, it doesn’t even have to make sense; its only purpose is to provide something to attack conservatives with.
And it’s the same with accusations of “cultural appropriation”.
And “racism”, and “white supremacy”, and all the deplorables.
That said, the blackface choice is kind’a weird because I can’t think of any conservatives who have actually appeared in blackface. All of them have been lefties. Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Sarah Silverman, Justin Trudeau, Governor Ralph Northam, Grace Slick (!!!), etc.
Pro Tip: If you find yourself in a debate with a talking-point-spewing leftist, all you really need to win is to ask for consistency.
When drag queens imitate women… they don’t model successful woman scientists, or athletes, or businesswomen. No! Every drag portrayal of a woman is a clown-whore. Every. Damb. Time. This should be every bit as offensive as white guys putting on blackface and acting out the most offensive Step-n-Fetchit portrayals of black men.
I guess that’s my point, really. Racism — that is, racism of the old style, as opposed to the new woke racism — is pretty much dead, because it had no basis in reality to sustain it. But sexism is alive and well, because it’s rooted in real and significant differences.
People who bother to make entertainment out of either bowdlerize* it for comic effect.
* And I used that word wrong, thinking that it meant, essentially, “make bawdy.” Its meaning is closer to the opposite. Huh.
I am sure that men have dressed in “woman-face” to entertain for 1000’s of years. Perhaps, in the way the trans movement destroyed feminism, the trans movement will destroy the stigma of black-face.
We should stop calling Them “queens.” I think that encourages Them.
We should come up with something else, something They would reject: dragmen? Hedrags?
How about “transvestites?” That has the virtue of being both accurate and annoying to the cross-dressers.
I think men played women’s roles in stage productions (ancient Greece through Elizabethan the First England) because respectable women did not appear on stage.
There are comedians whose on-stage persona is one of anger and bitterness. They will tell you who they hate and why. They may have some funny lines, but generally I don’t find those acts enjoyable. I get much more enjoyment out of comedians who make fun of themselves and people like themselves. Although I’ve never seen a blackface act, I am given to understand that the point is ridiculing black people. Based on the jokes I’ve heard from the MC of a drag show, they are making fun of themselves. I have not perceived the point to be mocking or ridiculing women.
We can talk about racism in terms of Rachel Dolezal who really desired to be a black person. And she was (or perhaps still is) trying to pass as a black person. It may be crazy and more or less benign, but considering her fake personal history, she is at least partially perpetuating a denigrating racial stereotype — call it the black victim stereotype. But you couldn’t tell that Dolezal was not black. Was it Barbra Walters or Joy Behar who went out as Diana Ross, respectfully and not denigratingly, with darkened skin and a sixties Supremes wig and an evening gown? This was a different thing, and it was respectful, but wasn’t it, too, later censured for pretending to be some race that she is not?
Forget about historical blackface. We’ve never experienced it, and it’s not something we remember except in flickering movie reels, but when we see it today it seems denigrating of blacks today. And it was clearly intended that you should be able to tell that the person was not black, it was intended to mock and mis-caricaturize blacks.
Similarly, it’s the same thing when we see cross-dressing men who employ exaggerated stereotypical female facial make-up, with foam rubber body appliances, and exaggerated feminine body movements and gestures and voices, wearing exaggerated feminine-style clothing.
Some male cross-dressers may really want(ed) to be women or be perceived as women, and these are the female impersonators that we saw in the 60s and 70s. And like what Rachel Dolezal did with blacks, this was done respectfully and you couldn’t tell these men from real women, but was done respectfully and not denigratingly.
But now we have also men who dress up as “Gay Clowns” with hyperfeminized make-up and attire, and who denigratingly mock women, womanhood and femininity, and who intend that you should be able to tell that they aren’t real women.
Blackface and ladyface is the same thing.
How can I put this delicately?
Only women have the aggrievitas to oppose this and a lot of them are instead making common cause as they still believe they have a minority status as per hiring practices. But they still think they’re part of a coalition, while top spots once reserved for them are given to men.
Me? I’d be pissed.
First, “aggrievitas” is brilliant.
Secondly, the “trans” movement, while truly tragic and devastating for the young women (and, occasionally, young man) seduced into this horribly destructive fad, is at least blatant in its misogyny, and is managing to unite women on the left and the right in opposition to it.
As I’ve said for years, I believe this will be the first big progressive project walked back in my lifetime. “Trans” is stupid, harmful, and unhinged.
To ask the question is to answer it.
I’m curious: how many people who have commented have actually seen a drag show?
I think hairs are being split pretty aggressively if we characterize a man caricaturing a woman as an example of self-mockery. It may well be that, but it seems unlikely that it is only or even primarily that.
I have, twice. They were fun and not raunchy.
Fortunately, it’s primarily a white-upper-class-kids-starved-for-attention-plus-virtue-signaling-status-seeking-affluent-parent thing.
They’re caricaturing a man dressed like a woman. That is to say, themselves. A drag queen isn’t, strictly speaking, a transvestite because no woman dresses that way.
Have you ever seen a drag show?
if the fellow made himself up to be, say, Chinese, or Mexican, or American Indian, and claimed that he was merely poking fun of himself, would we take that at face value?
Is it ever possible to make oneself ridiculous by caricaturing stereotypical traits of others and not also in some sense be making fun of the thing you are caricaturing?
Anyway. There are certainly drag performances that ARE raunchy. Perhaps we are talking about several different things.
Yes. But I haven’t seen EVERY drag show. (You probably haven’t either.)
I have seen several videos of outrageous and risqué behavior from drag performers. Do I have to see it in person to form an opinion?
Fair enough, I’m not saying there isn’t that element in drag (widely) and I’m perplexed at DQSH ( sounds boring, tl;dr, why bother?) – but do you really think that they aren’t making fun of themselves? A drag queen is definitely not a woman, she’s something else entirely.
I’ve never seen anything inherently wrong with blackface. It is a caricature. It was mostly done in the days before everybody was offended by caricatures and other trivial things. Witness that Whoopi Goldberg (aka Caryn Johnson) and her boyfriend Ted Danson did a blackface bit on camera and had tons of fun with it, not too very long ago. And then the shifting winds of leftism suddenly declared it to be a horrifying act (except in Whoopi’s case, of course, and all the other leftists who have donned shoe polish).
When we were in Thailand, our Thai friend asked us once if we wanted to go to a drag show. She said the stars are beautiful and Thais just love to see these shows. We were not the least bit interested.
Because LGBTQ+ is one of the designated protected groups. Nothing they do can be criticized or mocked.
The point is dragging down traditional society. Cultural corruption accompanied by a laugh or two.
Libs of Tic Toc does a great job.