Radical drag appearances and identity: The embodiment of male femininity and social critique

  • Jacob J
  • Cerny C
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Abstract

This study investigated some of the connections between social experience, appearance, and identity that occurred among four gay men who cross-dressed publicly without trying to appear like real women. They created radical drag queen appearances that were intentionally neither male nor female. The researchers sought (a) the key social experiences that led to the creation of radical drag queen appearances, (b) how these appearances and identity were related, and (c) what the research participants wished to communicate through their alternative appearances. Interview data were collected from the research participants and analyzed using grounded theory methods. Respondents indicated that social experiences stemming from male effeminacy and being gay were fundamental identity components leading to radical drag queen appearances. Respondents also indicated the desire to communicate the inadequacy and oppression of mainstream gender categories through their radical drag queen appearances.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Appearance
  • Cross-dressing
  • Gender identity
  • Radical drag queens
  • Symbolic interaction
  • The gaze

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Authors

  • John Jacob

  • Catherine Cerny

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