Drag your kids, drag your wife

Drag your kids, drag your wife

Historically, drag queens were born out of sexism. Nevertheless, we are getting further away from the days when drag was used to mock women in exaggerated femininity and closer to an era when drag is simply the representation of one's ultimate superhero, regardless of gender.

I have always loved watching drag queens getting ready, especially that moment right before they put on their wigs, their hair tucked away and their face meticulously painted. That's when you can really see the illusion falling into place.

If you've ever watched a good drag make-up tutorial, you will see that it takes a deep understanding of one's bone structure - and all the queens have their own clever little tricks on how to cheat it. It is a true demonstration of the transformative power of make-up and while some may do it more subtly others take it a step further - as if they are trying to cancel out their own features in order to paint a whole new face on top. A great example of this is Trixie Mattel, the most recent winner of RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 3.

Some of the most popular make-up techniques they use that have been adopted by the mainstream beauty world in the past few years are contouring and baking, but contrary to popular belief, they weren't invented by drag queens or by Kim Kardashian's make-up artist!

The baking (or cooking) method is so old it can actually be traced back to Ancient Egypt. By applying a heavy layer of powder on top of a cream and letting it sit there, any oils that come to the surface as your cream is warming up to body temperature are immediately absorbed by the powder. When you brush that excess powder away, your face will be left completely matte and your cream will take on some of the qualities of the powder. This is not only an old school powder foundation hack, but it has also become a real necessity once the first wet base products known as greasepaints came into the market. Greasepaints are wax based, which makes them very sticky on the skin and prone to melting away. Drag artists traditionally tend to use quite a thick layer of full coverage wax-based foundations which absolutely need to be heavily set with powder in order to be transfer-resistant and survive long hours of sweating under bright lights. It also prevents shine from ruining the shape-shifting quality of the contouring technique.

As for contouring, it's a technique at least five centuries old and it was created by stage actors. It was used to exaggerate their features so that the audience would be able to read their facial expressions from afar, and it would eventually also prevent them from being washed out by strong lighting.  Soon they realised they could use these circumstances to their advantage and started using it to alter their appearance to better fit the characters being played.  The art of drag was born from theatre and the illusion created with drag make-up strongly relies on identical factors, which is why we often hear them joke about how unflattering is what they refer to as "daytime drag".

These techniques have survived the test of time and like many other stylistic choices made popular by drag artists, they aren't just for performers anymore. In fact, they have become so widely used that for a while they became somewhat controversial - some argued that this style of make-up belonged in the drag world and was too heavy and unflattering for the everyday woman. But things change, there also was once a time when cosmetics were just for women, had to be bought in secret, and were only acceptable when one didn't appear to be wearing them. Today people of all genders are choosing to express themselves through make-up, out in the open, in whatever way they feel most comfortable with.

Historically, drag queens were born out of sexism. Nevertheless, we are getting further away from the days when drag was used to mock women in exaggerated femininity and closer to an era when drag is simply the representation of one's ultimate superhero, regardless of gender.

Gender performance has had a very significant role in challenging society's stereotypes and in order for drag to continue to be subversive it needed to evolve from being gender-specific. Just like makeup is boundless, so is drag.

I'm a strong believer that being able to express ourselves outwardly as much as possible can be truly revolutionary. That's why we are making history right now.

 

Follow Sara aka dapperfish on YouTube for more insider tips and knowledge.

VOXPOP: Anticlone Movement Embodied (I of VIII)

VOXPOP: Anticlone Movement Embodied (I of VIII)

Fontana at Pornceptual

Fontana at Pornceptual