The Rise of Drag Kings

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Drag has become part of mainstream culture. However, drag kings have been largely left on the margins of this move to the main - until now.

  • With the meteoric rise of Ru Paul’s Drag Race, drag queens have stepped into the global spotlight. However, their male counterparts, drag kings, are limited to a more subversive existence.
  • A drag king can be a cisgender woman, transgender man or non-binary person, performing in masculine drag. The performer exaggerates their clothing and makeup to embody a certain identity.
  • More generally, drag is a gender-bending art and entertainment form. For many performers, it is also an opportunity to express their identity which may not align with conventional gender constructs.
  • Through this medium, “King Culture” questions and challenges conventional masculinity; particularly focusing on the patriarchy, toxic masculinity and mental health stigma.
  • Drag kings face a number of obstacles. When performing, there is much less glitz and glamor, which can appeal to an audience. Also, a woman wearing trousers is not completely out of the ordinary.
  • Yet, drag kings still continue to push the boundaries of gender and identity in their own way and are gaining increased levels of recognition for their craft.
The Guardian
The New York Times
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