Mary Cheney saw the previews for RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 7, and flipped out. Although out as a lesbian herself, she can usually be found attacking LGBTQ communities to make political hay for those who trade on the Red base’s homophobia. She wrote,
Why is it socially acceptable – as a form of entertainment – for men to put on dresses, make up and high heels and act out every offensive stereotype of women (bitchy, catty, dumb, slutty, etc.) – but it is not socially acceptable – as a form of entertainment – for a white person to put on blackface and act out offensive stereotypes of African Americans? Shouldn’t both be ok or neither? Why does society treat these activities differently?
There was a lot of buzz around this, which is too bad because it’s just what she wanted. Maybe some people found her deliberately muddled framing of the question created difficulty expressing a good response. One who had no such trouble was Marriage Equality vlogger Matt Baume:
This is an important distinction. We go to drag shows pretty often – another one today! And we have never seen a drag performer do anything remotely denigrating to women. To us, the point of drag is… well, it’s just fun. But the serious point underlying it is, Gender is not a binary value, 1 or 0 and that’s all there is. Gender is a spectrum. Well, actually a few of them but that’s a topic for another day. The binary view of gender does great damage to people whose true self doesn’t notch cleanly into a box at end or another. Drag is a way to explore that issue in a fun setting. And to get back to the “fun” aspect, a drag performer who fit Cheney’s straw-man description of drag would just be… bad.
Full disclosure: we are definitely fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and especially of one of the contestants on Season 7, Mrs. Kasha Davis. She’s the hometown favorite for Rochester this year, and on Mar 2nd we’ll be rooting!