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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10 Signs You're A Closeted INFP

Could you be one of the rarest personality types?
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INFP's (one of sixteen personality types developed by Myer & Briggs) are some the rarest people you will ever meet. INFP's make up about 2% of the population, which is considerably low compared to the other fifteen different personalities.

As an INFP myself, I found it very interesting to discover all the quirks that come along with being the "mediator and dreamer." I could finally understand the reason behind many of the things I found myself doing since I was little. If you think that you might be an INFP, consider these signs first.

1. “You’re a “what if” type of person.”

INFP's aren't normally the leader. They have the tendency to be okay with following someone else who has already made a decision.

2. “You find joy in creating a human connection.”

Being very in-tune to our emotions, we love to hang out with people and get to know them. Sure, we may seem a little nosy at first, but we are truly loyal compatriots, and we love to make lasting friendships.

3. “You read or watch self-help books and videos.”

I found this to be quite interesting. As an INFP, we search for validation and answers to questions that plague us every day. We find ourselves drawn to vlogs, blogs, or book to see the answers we need. It helps us find an idea of what is happening and assures us that we are not alone.

4. “You cry when you’re angry.”

Emotions can be overwhelming at times, and sometimes we may not know how to process our thoughts and feelings right away. But if we are caught in a very intense situation, crying is the number one way to handle emotions. Don't let anyone ever tell you that crying is weak. It is part of all humans and it is the best way to release an onslaught of emotions.

5. “You will drive out of your way to avoid triggering unpleasant emotions.”

INFP's are not people of conflict. We try to stay as far away from trouble as we can since we can easily get upset and feel anxiety with the simplest of movements. It is best to avoid the conflict before it can start.

6. “You feel guilty when you’re mad at someone.”

I found this interesting. Do you ever have those thoughts in the back of your mind, when you get mad at someone and question yourself whether you should actually be mad at them or not? Back to the idea of indecisiveness, this never goes away and could possibly keep you up all night.

7. “You give credit and take the blame.”

You like to congratulate your friends and people around you when they have done a good job, but you are hard on yourself. You rarely give yourself any credit that you may deserve, and once things have gone wrong, you're the first one to be (or to think) is blamed. Even if it's not your fault.

8. “You are the moderator of the group.”

Your friends come to you for advice and you help people work out their differences.

9. “You express yourself through creative means.”

INFP's a dreamed and very creative individuals. For instance, I write to express myself. Many other INFP's I know do the same, whether it is with art, music, or writing.

10. “You are very indecisive.”

Let's just face it, we are just too indecisive. There's nothing else to it.

Cover Image Credit: Astrology Fix

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Put An End To The "R" Word

These are my reasons why saying "retard" makes you an "A" word.
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It is easy to spot the table at lunch occupied with the students who need aides to help them out with their classwork.

There are always the students that spend their school days in another classroom to learn daily activities such as tying their shoes or signing their names. You may walk by them in the halls and watch as they look down at the ground away from you.

They are the very few students who have access to the elevator key because the school isn’t wheelchair accessible. They leave class occasionally to take medications or deal with bodily functions.

You call them the “R” word.

They seem foreign to some. At universities, exposure is limited. When they are spotted being helped by workers in our facilities with jobs that are considered undesirable, it’s hard not to stare. At this age, transitional care is limited, and it’s difficult for parents to let them go into society. There are agencies that match them with staff to bring them to and from places and care for them throughout the day when their parents can no longer do so.

You call them the “R” word.

They greet you with a big smile on their face as they hand you the movie ticket you purchased. They optimistically clean up after you make a mess because they are proud of the job they have and the hard work they put into it. Some may live on their own, others still need daily supervision to help them achieve tasks that we take for granted. They have lived their entire lives knowing they are different.

You call them the “R” word.

Temple Grandin raised awareness of animal cruelty and used her own experience to alleviate anxiety for animals in slaughterhouses. She is the creator of multiple animal handling inventions that allow animals, especially cattle, to be treated as humanely as possible. There have been documentaries made about her and her research that is still in use today. She is a Professor of Animal Science, an author, and an advocate for people with disabilities similar to her own.

You call her the “R” word.

Frank Stephens testified on Capitol Hill about the importance of research on disabilities, especially Down Syndrome, and the recording of his opening statement went viral. He takes a stance on the beautiful capabilities that those with Down Syndrome have and argues how great his life is, regardless of the beliefs of others around him. He exaggerates the beauty of inclusion in society, and values the incredible source of happiness that comes from him and others with his disability.

I call them “R” words, too. Radiant. Refreshing. Remarkable. Real.

Every day, someone with a disability is chastised for being different, but they are crucial to our society at every stage in life. Without them, many of the revolutionary changes in our world similar to those made by Temple Grandin or Frank Stephens would have never happened. Contrary to common belief, they are capable of making our world a better place and they are driven to make an impact on society.

Hearing the “R” word thrown around breaks my heart, and knowing that so many people have become numb to the hurtful and degrading impact that it has is unacceptable. With the exception of one of my sorority sisters who inspired me to write this article, I have found that very few people even acknowledge the word's inappropriate usage. My mother has always taught me that people don’t choose to be that way, and that they have their own struggles every day without the judgement of others. It is our job to be kind and tolerant. Who are we to put down people who had no choice in the life they were given?

If you use the “R” word, however, you chose to be an asshole, so I use the “A” word.

Cover Image Credit: Sophie Rudloff

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