What Has RuPaul's Drag Race Brought To Society
RuPaul's Drag Race has become more popularised in the past couple of years. With up to 14 Drag Queens competing for the Crown and a $100,000 dollars, it's a reality tv competition that really brings out the best and worst in people. The show has tried to shed light on several issues, from sexual assault in Season 10 with Drag Queen Blair St Clair openly discussing their rape story to the first openly transgender queen Peppermint competing in Season 9. The show aims to present drag, showcasing the talent whilst promoting LGBTQ+ values, ensuring -positivity is promoted. Throughout the past 10 seasons, there has been a lot of backlash regarding the show, from issues with the queens themselves to the opinions and beliefs of RuPaul. But what does the reality tv show really teach society, let's explore some of the topics and issues explored throughout the show.
The show teaches us to be who we want to be, we are introduced to this variety of queens from all different backgrounds. Some of the queens have come from poverty, reaching at the bottom of the barrel to make ends meet and create the amazing looks we see on the runway. Queens such as Chi Chi DeVane and Miz Cracker make incredible outfits using unconventional materials to create outfits that look like they cost a fortune. Queens like Ivy Winters, Miss Fame, Milk, and Detox have gone onto having amazing careers in the fashion industry from designing to collaboration RuPaul's Drag Race opens the doors for a lot of queens to branch out. The show has touched on being transgender with several queens coming out as transgender after appearing on the show such as Jiggly Caliente, Sonique, Carmen Carerra. The show tries to encourage those to feel comfortable expressing how they feel, although the show expresses being yourself there are issues with how the show portrays this. To be on the show you have to be either male or transgender, this excludes non-binary and bio queens and for a show where we learn to accept one another it's surprising the show doesn't reduce its restrictions for the show. In terms of restrictions, the show promotes an ideal body standard, the classic hourglass figure which even most biological women do not have or aim to have becomes an unrealistic standard. Why are drag queens expected to recreate this unachievable standard for a majority of biological women, it's upsetting that queens such as Season 6 runner-up Adore Delano are ashamed for a "hog body" where their body doesn't have this defined shape. We aren't being taught to love ourselves if the queens are expected to recreate this idolized figure.
Queens can become victims of hate and negativity, from bullying through childhood to abuse on social media it can be a negative platform to come from. The queens often handle negativity well, there have been several moments where hate between the queens has gone too far. With the world of reality tv dependent on drama, it's hard to understand what drama is real and scripted. The hate between the queens has gone past the tv show before, with queens such as Season 2 winner Tyra Sanchez have gone to the limit of threatening to break into the annual drag convention DragCon and cause chaos. It may not seem serious but for queens who are presented as role models, it's upsetting to see the amount of negativity and hate amongst the queens.
The show as most reality tv shows will always have those jaw-dropping moments, the show wouldn't be interesting if there wasn't scandals and surprises along the way. Take Miz Cracker not making Top four in Season 10 or Katya Zamolodchikova not winning All-Stars 2. There is meant to be drama however, there have been times where the show has proved unfair, special treatment for certain queens seems to be big in each season. There are clear examples where the judges have favored someone over the other, take giving body for example. Season 6 contestant Courtney Act was criticised for not padding leading to not having an awful lot of shape, Season 8 queen Naomi Small never used padding and this issue was never mentioned. Further adding to the unrealistic idolised figure the judges push the queens to have, throughout the seasons there has been a change where this figure is not pushed to such extremes by the judges but there are often comments made when the queens don't portray any defined shape or figure with their body in outfits, take Season 10 queen Miss Vanjee who was placed in the bottom two due to an outfit that did not give her any shape. The show often challenges unfairness, with queens being painted in a bad light. The whole editing argument is widely controversial, take the recent The Vixen Season 10 issue. Where The Vixen was portrayed in a negative light, often looking aggressive and out to get everyone. Although this may be the case, other queens who have tried to argue with The Vixen were never called out, meaning The Vixen falls under fire as the instigator.
RuPaul's Drag Race is an amazing show but there is clear aspects for growth, the show works on a good foundation but it needs to be more blended and polished. If you've taken a look at Drag Race before let's talk more about the issues mentioned here.