For New Year’s Eve, 2016, we pulled out all the stops and tried our hand at drag makeovers. You what? Yes. We did. And we have the video to prove it. But before all that, it’s important to give a bit of context, a dash of history and a disclaimer. As my previous entry alludes, I’m all about respectful emulation, not mockery. And don’t even get me started on cultural appropriation, privilege and oppression. Heavy, right? Don’t worry, I lighten up shortly.
I’m not a straight man, dressing as a _________ (insert heterocentric, homophobic, offensive term) and laughing at my own cleverness for putting on a costume and pretending, at the expense of that marginalized identity, that I’m hilarious and know what it means to be part of a disenfranchised, minority (if that even occurs to people who culturally appropriate without considering the legacy of oppression).
I am a queer woman, in an interracial marriage, who has been living out loud and proud, since I came out in the early years of high school. I love performance, sequins and makeup. And I love a challenge. I am in perpetual awe of the talent, pure and true ‘hard work’ and imagination of queens and kings, who help us to see ourselves anew, who entertain, push our boundaries and make us believe in magic. And make it look so effortless. Let me tell you: it is not easy. But it sure is fun!
Check out our video, A Dragged Out New Year’s Eve, for just a taste of the hijinx we got up to, and read on for links to other people, doing it well and doing it better than we ever could.
Drag. A parody of a parody of the feminine. Very meta… Drag is an art form that I’ve always loved. Judith Butler (gender theorist) asks, if a man can portray the qualities of stereotypical femininity, making a copy of a copy with no original, how real is gender? She states, “All gender is performance.” Thus, drag problematizes the whole idea that there is an original at all, or anything inherently natural woman-ness. As a queer gal, I’ve always been interested in binaries – their limits, perceived, but fake, shifting, but seemingly rigid – especially in the collective mind and pop culture.
Many fabulous folks are exploring these ideas. Kate Bornstein , and her text Gender Outlaw, completely opened my eyes to nuances of gender that I’d never considered. My experience was limited to gender bias, misogyny in the queer community and my own issues associated with being labeled ‘femme’ – feeling invisible in my LGBTQ world. Judith Butler, of course, is a pioneer in the field of gender studies. Documentaries like Paris Is Burning and Drag Becomes Him, featuring Jinx Monsoon, explore past and contemporary icons of drag culture. Recently, the Youtube channel Broadly featured “Can’t Drag Us Down: London’s Female Queens”- a short piece about women, “lady queens” that raises issues about gender exclusion within the male-dominated realm of female impersonation. So much to think about. The video description reads:
“Drag has been a gay man’s art for decades, but women can be queens, too. While women have always existed in the drag scene as the subject of imitation, in London, female-identified performers are taking center stage and performing in exaggerated tropes of femininity to upend conventional notions of gender.
Lady queens, however, are not yet fully accepted in the drag community; some gay men in the scene question whether those who are female-identified have the right to compete and perform next to their male counterparts. … redefining its heritage, and proving that drag is a genderless art form.”
Here is a photo-journey of our night, beginning (of course) with before and after shots. Cheers to a new year, full of fun and endless possibilities.
And the night just got better from there…
We sent a photo to friends as the ball dropped. “Who is this?” some people asked. This look reminds me of Wilma Flintstone…meets Lucy. My mom always said I was dramatic.
I just woke up like this. We enjoyed Pink Palomas and mulled wine, cupcakes and a cheese platter. We are all about balance. Try these!
Fuel for our fun-filled evening. Inspired by… the ingredients we had in the house.
Let’s not forget the arsenal of fake hair that was on-hand… and which became a very popular place for our cats to try and make a cozy spot for themselves.
We each tried on a few different looks.
Besties? Felicia Fierce and Ivanna Trink. We had a whole whack of wigs to choose from. And sparkly outfits.
Correspondingly, we had a gay old time.
I hear duck-face is ‘out’, but nobody tells this bitch what to do.
Regular makeup sometimes gets lost in translation in a photograph. Apparently the best way to prep for a really cool filter application is to put a thousand pounds of makeup on your face.
Gotta hand it to the true queens. This look was a hot mess; my glue-over-eyebrow technique was coming apart at the seams almost instantly. I was horrified by how quickly my own eyebrows mutinied beneath the layers of glue stick, blown upward and sealed via hairdryer. They were fully visible, though glossy and silver. Making yourself an entirely new eye shape is no easy feat.
No evening is complete without a pre-midnight group selfie. We were pretty impressed with ourselves. We put Kylie and Kim…and whatever the rest of their names are, to shame with our overdrawn lips and contouring.
And this reveal features our fave friend “Nik James”.
If I’d had the foresight to plan it, these would be our holiday portraits and cards to our loved ones. Almost as campy as our actual wedding invites.
Happy New Year: From Us.
We wish you love…
Time with friends and family.