It's A Cis-Gendered Man's World: How Drag Kings Define Good Drag In Their Fight To Be Seen As The Best Performers
Date of Award
M.A. in Sociology
University of Mississippi
This research is based on field observations in Ridgeville, a Southern city, at an LGBTQ bar, that I call Rainbow Bar and on in-depth interviews with Rainbow Bar drag performers. Through my study at Rainbow, I set out to answer: 1) What do drag kings consider to be “good drag” for themselves and for other kings?; and 2) Who is considered to have the best drag? And who determines what the best drag is? I found that Ridgeville drag kings felt as though they had to work harder than Ridgeville queens in their drag. To have good drag, Ridgeville kings put tremendous effort into their physical appearance through make-up and costuming, their physical performance (e.g., dance routines), and work ambition. These patterns suggest that trans drag kings and AFAB (assigned female at birth) queens are performing in a system that prioritizes and privileges cis-gendered performers. As a result, kings and AFAB queens must redefine what it means for them to have good drag in order to provide legitimacy and recognition to their drag.
Shappley, Madison, "It's A Cis-Gendered Man's World: How Drag Kings Define Good Drag In Their Fight To Be Seen As The Best Performers" (2020). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1890.