Drag as self expression and social by-product?

I agree with Entwistle’s statement that our clothes represent demands from society, our groups or peers, and our individual style. Attached is a photo of RuPaul, a well-known TV personality most famous for his show RuPaul’s Drag Race. Many people might not encounter someone in drag often, if ever. For this reason, I find that participating in drag is a rather unique aspect of one’s personality, which is directly reflected in their clothes. Drag is a great example of how clothes can be used to highlight certain parts of one’s personality. As Entwistle points out, however, the personal aspect of style can only influence us so much. Looking at this photo of RuPaul in drag, it is clear that social standards of beauty have influenced the clothes that RuPaul choses to wear – a shiny, tight and low-cut black dress with big blond hair. Even in RuPaul’s attempt to exert his own personal style as a drag queen, the standards of femininity that society often pressures women to follow are still factors in RuPaul’s choice of drag clothing. Entwistle also points out that the “milieu in which we belong,” is another determinant of our choice of clothing. RuPaul is a wealthy man, and surly his elite financial status has had at least some effect on the quality and kinds of clothes that he choses to wear both in and outside of drag. Other drag queens may be forced to buy cheaper options or wear more affordable makeup, while RuPaul spares no expense when it comes to his drag style. People are influenced by society, others and their own individuality. These influences, whether they are subconscious or conscious, are often reflected in what we wear. It is for this reason that trends develop, as well as “anti-trends” which too are direct efforts to break the norm, which in itself acknowledges the trend. Even drag queens who so obviously exude individuality and uniqueness are in many ways subjected to the influences of social standards and outside opinions. These influences are not necessarily bad – it is because of the changes in trends and the inspiration of current social climates that we are able to look back in history and see what was popular at certain points in time – but expressing our individuality is also important.


-Casey McAlary

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