Why Cis Female Drag Queens Are A Form Of Cultural Appropriation

Why Cis Female Drag Queens Are A Form Of Cultural Appropriation

Cis women are dressing up in something called "extreme femininity" and calling themselves drag queens. Why is this such a bad thing?
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Across the globe, men, women and non-binary individuals practice cross-dressing and drag as a form of expression. The encyclopedia Britannica identifies individuals in drag as performers dressing as the opposite sex or rather, outside of their assigned gender. It is a way of experimenting with the aspect of “the other” in terms of identity.

This practice can be seen in a myriad of settings, including the television show, Ru Paul’s drag race. Individuals who practice drag and cross-dressing have often been persecuted throughout history, resulting in violent discrimination that can even lead to death. Although it has become more socially acceptable over the years, the stigma against it persists. Drag performers have been associated with the LGBTQA community, as it gives individuals the freedom to explore gender identities outside of the norm.

One recent event I found out about was that of cis women dressing in “drag” by wearing dresses and excessive makeup while identifying as drag queens.

They sum it up as a form of experimenting with “extreme femininity”. I was confused as to why cis women would choose to identify as drag queens when all they are doing is putting on dresses and makeup, which is something within their gender norm. I discussed this odd occurrence with some non-binary individuals and one of them quickly pointed out that this can even be considered homophobic.

But why is that?

The Cambridge Dictionary indicates that cultural appropriation is the act of using things from another culture, especially without showing understanding or respect for said culture. One example is using cultural appropriation as a “learning experience” (white non-muslims wearing a hijab).

When cis women perform as drag queens, they are dipping their feet into the performance of it, this being the positive experience, without receiving any of the backlash of stepping out of their gender norms and being discriminated against for it.

In addition, cis women are justifying this action by claiming they do it out of admiration for drag performers. So again, why is this act to be considered homophobic?

Because appropriation is a form of discrimination. Essentially, individuals outside of that culture, conveniently steal certain aspects of it, for their own use, without receiving the prejudice and discrimination individuals from that culture are faced with. It's the same as Katy Perry wearing cornrows and sporting the gelled baby hair look.

The LGBT community, as many other social groups, has formed their own culture, meaning they have their own social symbols, histories, traditions, and movements that are iconic and exclusive of the group in itself. Drag plays an active role in the movement, as it again, allows individuals to experiment with different aspects of other forms of gender.

Drag gives individuals the freedom to experiment, roleplay and shatter gender norms. Not only that, but drag performances are usually a safe haven for LGBT people, not only for the audience but for the performer as well. It is a sort of symbiotic relationship, where each individual is able to receive support from the other, in a world that does not always accept them as normal members of society.

To clarify, everyone should have the freedom to explore their gender, meaning they can practice their own gender roles, as well as “the other” as much as they want. But, cis women in dresses and costume makeup should not be labeled “drag queen,” as they are simply practicing things within their own gender norms. Drag is supposed to shatter gender norms and cis women calling themselves “drag queens” can have a damaging effect on the legitimacy of the movement.

Drag could be reduced to fun dress-up, while individuals who continue to be treated with prejudice and discrimination will go ignored. Additionally, the history, the traditions and the culture of drag will be reduced to a mere afterthought, along with the true meaning of dressing in drag.

Cover Image Credit: Vice

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The 17 Best Unpopular Opinions From The Minds Of Millennials

Yes, dogs should be allowed in more places and kids in less.
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There are those opinions that are almost fact because everyone agrees with them. Waking up early is horrible. Music is life. Sleep is wonderful. These are all facts of life.

But then there are those opinions that hardly anyone agrees with. These ones -- from Twitter, Pinterest and Reddit -- are those types of opinions that are better left unsaid. Some of these are funny. Some are thought-provoking. All of them are the 17 best unpopular opinions around.

1. My favorite pizza is Hawaiian pizza.

2. Binge watching television is not fun and actually difficult to do.

3. I love puns... Dad jokes FTW.

4. Milk in the cup first... THEN the bloody tea.

5. I wish dogs were allowed more places and kids were allowed fewer places.

6. "Space Jam" was a sh*t movie.

7. Saying "money cannot buy happiness" is just wrong.

8. People keep saying light is the most important thing in photographing. I honestly think the camera is more important.

9. Bacon is extremely overrated.

10. Literally, anything is better than going to the gym.

11. Alternative pets are for weird people.

12. Google doodles are annoying.

13. It is okay to not have an opinion on something.

14. It's weird when grown adults are obsessed with Disney.

15. This is how to eat a Kit Kat bar.

16. Mind your own business.

17. There is such a thing as an ugly baby.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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No, You're Not Edgy For Refusing To Pay Attention To Politics, You're Just Privileged

Take advantage of your privilege and use it to amplify the voices of people who are not being heard by their governments.

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My entire life, I have been told there is one thing you never discuss, and that is politics. People have tried to explain to me that speaking about political issues causes too many disagreements and that you are better off avoiding those conversations, but how is it helpful to refuse to talk about something that is seen as controversial? The only way to get people to understand our views is by expressing them.

Now more than ever, talking about politics should be imperative to all of us. Decisions are being made constantly that disenfranchise marginalized groups, and pretending like those problems are not there will not make the situation better. It does not matter that you think it is "rude" to talk about politics with others. We have to all make a point of making our voices heard, whether it is with our friends, family, classmates, or anyone else because choosing to stay silent. It is what causes people without a voice to be mistreated.

I have encountered many people in my life that believe that politics is too boring to keep up with and that they have better things to spend their time on. Obviously, I am not saying that you should drown yourself with news articles at every waking moment, but it is incredibly obvious that deciding to not pay attention to what happens in the world means you are privileged. You do not feel the need to stay up to date with politics because you know deep down that any decision that is made will most likely not negatively affect you. Instead of brushing off politics because it does not provide you with enough entertainment, you should be taking advantage of your privilege and using it to amplify the voices of people who are not being heard by their governments.

Some people seem to think that avoiding political conversations all together makes them edgy and different when really it just makes you seem uneducated. People try to convince themselves that it is pointless to pay attention to politics because politicians will ultimately do as they please, so shouldn't that spark a fire in you to make sure that you are making an impact? If you want to force your politicians to listen to what you have to say, then you should take action! Go to protests, vote in every election, and call your representatives. If you convince yourself that your voice does not matter, then you will never be able to change what you do not like about your government.

And in case you want to be involved in politics but do not know how to be, then your social media can be a place to start. Twitter is a great tool to use to get notifications from news outlets when they post articles, and it is also a way to be able to hear other people's thoughts about political issues. Political movements have also gathered support from social media, so being a part of those online communities keeps you in the loop of where protests are happening and how you can be involved.

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