Peaches Christ (pictured) is probably one of the most famous drag queens on the planet. I'm thinking about Peaches--and a lot of other spectacular queens--today because she regularly deals in the sort of campy, performative drag that blossoms in cities across America--on the straightest of straight men as well as the campiest of queers---on one night only. What, dear reader, am I talking about? You've guessed it: Halloween!
Halloween, for some, conjures up images of sticky-faced children seeking chocolate in a kind of menacing way (they frighten me a little); or the impulse to make even the most mundane costumes "sexy" (as in sexy mechanic, sexy lawyer, sexy baseball fan, etc. and so on an on and on) but I, for one, think of Halloween as that magical time where bros shave their chests and legs, slip on wigs and heels, and hit the town.
Why does this happen? Granted, I live in San Francisco where anything is possible in this arena, but I remember being just as impressed by the Boston University frat guys when I lived on that side of the country. You haven't seen anything until you've seen a herd of duders in drag.
Some might argue that the costumes are sexist--on the "bro's up" vaguely-women-hating tip. I can see that, but you can't deny that drag is gay. In fact drag, by its nature, is a critique of gender performance. It is a comment on the way binary thought about what makes us "men" and "women" is absurd. Drag is camp, drag is fun, drag is embodying stereotypes and then amping them up to such a degree that they explode a little. It is a guerilla assault on a system that oppresses everyone in its rigidity.
My theory is that bros love drag because it gets at some sort of unconscious truth. Maybe its deeply buried, but once a year they can put on some makeup, look in the mirror and experience a flicker--if only for a moment--of, "What the hell is this all about, anyway?"
This is my theory, and its one that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy about the state of things, so I'm hesitant to put it up for a vote. But I can't help myself, so I'm asking you. What do you think about the Halloween drag effect? Frightening, festive, or unwitting cultural criticism? Happy Halloween!