The Makeup of RuPaul’s Drag Race

Essays on the Queen of Reality Shows


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About the Book

Start your engines—for the fun, controversy and life lessons of RuPaul’s Drag Race and its spinoff, RuPaul’s DragU. This international collection of original essays critically examines the shows’ representation of drag within the contexts of the reality TV genre and LGBTQ issues. Contributors focus on the structure of the two programs, the subversive nature of drag itself, the treatment of trans contestants, the issues of race, the language and the shows’ handling of LGBTQ political issues. A comprehensive discussion is provided of the shows’ premise, the host and the contestants through six seasons of Drag Race and the three seasons of DragU.

Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

Jim Daems’ work focuses primarily on 16th and 17th century English representations of Ireland and on queer theory. He has published books and articles on Canadian multi-media artist and poet Bill Bissett, Harry Potter, Hank Williams, and Chuck Berry.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Jim Daems

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 208
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9507-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1886-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction: RuPaul’s Ambivalent Appropriation of Pop Culture (Jim Daems) 3
Representing Gender, Race and Realness: The Television World of America’s Next Drag Superstars (Mary Marcel) 13
Of Fish and Feminists: Homonormative Misogyny and the Trans*Queen (Laurie Norris) 31
Dragging with an Accent: Linguistic Stereotypes, Language Barriers and Translingualism (Libby Anthony) 49
Policing the Proper Queer Subject: RuPaul’s Drag Race in the Neoliberal “Post” Moment (Kai Kohlsdorf) 67
“For your next drag challenge,” You Must Do Something: Playfulness Without Rules (Fernando Gabriel Pagnoni Berns) 88
Cover, Girl: Branding Puerto Rican Drag in 21st-Century U.S. Popular Culture (R. Gabriel Mayora) 106
“Draguating” to Normal: Camp and Homonormative Politics (Josh Morrison) 124
Of Women and Queens: Gendered Realities and ­Re-Education in RuPaul’s Drag Empire (Carolyn Chernoff) 148
The Prime of Miss RuPaul Charles: Allusion, Betrayal and Charismatic Pedagogy (David J. Fine and Emily Shreve) 168
About the Contributors 189
Bibliography 191
Index 201