Analysis Of The Drag Ball Culture in New York City Essay

Analysis Of The Drag Ball Culture in New York City Essay

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Glamorous, fabulous, revolutionary, drag!
There is a general accord about things our society labels as extrinsic. The subjects looked down upon are subcultures that have proven that if anything interrupts the conventions of society they are to be shunned. Jennie Livingston’s documentary, Paris is Burning, shows how a group of individuals bound by this common rejection, construct a subculture that has its own rules and standards. The documentary chronicles the lives of African American gay, and transgender within the drag ball culture in New York City in the mid – to – late eighties; a culture where they can create their own real identity and be themselves or anyone they want to be; a culture that is a part of our civilization and yet completely boycotted from it. The film gives this queer community a voice that has hardly ever been heard by the dominant audiences. Livingston provides us with exclusive interview clips and shots of the competitions of the ball culture, which expose the struggles and burdens that is the result of disregarding the “norms” of the constitutional society.

Gender identity is crucial in this society, it declares your sexuality and provides power, influence, and acknowledgement in the mainstream culture. When the gender criterion is not followed it causes ruckus as well as fascination amongst humanity. Drag performance is all about bending these expectations regarding gender. Drag is not just a style of living but also an aid for survival for these people. It provides them with a family, a family that will not abandon them or limit their sexuality.
The people in Paris is Burning do not identify as traditional male or female, they explain their gender by the absence of language and presence of peculiar for...


... middle of paper ...


... they were provided with when they are born. We are what we do, and that only works once one is involved and influenced by a culture. “Masculinity” and “Femininity” are constructed by the way our body performs. Gender does not decide our behavior; our behaviors decide our gender.
As drag queen Meth said, “Drag has nothing to do with what is between your legs, it is a performance of gender, and idea of “femininity” or “female”.






Works Cited

Mary Bucholtz, A. C. Liang, et al., Reinventing Identities: The Gendered Self in Discourse (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999)

Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (New York: Routledge, 1990)

David Matsumoto and Linda Juang, Culture and Psychology (California: Wadsworth, 2000)
Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (New York: Routledge, 1990)

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