Blackface & Drag

Excellent and well-researched piece with historical photos and footnotes.

A FreudianNightmare

While mainstream feminism cycles through its regular intervals of outrage about blackface (every Halloween) and cultural appropriation (every time Urban Outfitters puts another model in a headdress), it never seems to think critically about drag. Despite major thinkers in both feminist and queer theory– e.g. bell hooks and Judith Butler– being critical of it the topic has not seemed to capture the attention of mainstream feminists or the mainstream LGBTQ community. [ft 1]

Blackface and minstrel shows may be relics of history, but female characters lampooned on stage by men are not. Drag is a highly celebrated tradition in gay culture and is relatively well-accepted by the mainstream. It is often said in today’s “social justice” discourse that oppressions can not be compared, especially not racism and sexism. We are warned that to do so might erase their “unique histories” or demean the suffering of, for example, black men. It…

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