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Wednesday, April 26 • 10:55am - 11:15am
“You’re Born Naked And The Rest Is Drag”: An Analysis Of Performance And Gender In The Asheville Drag Community

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Gender and performance have been linked in many discussions in the academic community, but the frame of this research is not to link these two areas but to illustrate how they do not exist together, and by linking the gender and performance it erases what drag really is. This research includes an exploration into the intersection of gender and performance using articles from the books Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity by Mattilda, and Gender Outlaw by Kate Bornstein. This research was conducted for over a year in Asheville at a local gay bar, using participant observation and interviews to explore how gender and performance in the Drag community exist under limitations and compulsory heteronormative ideals. Applying theories of emotional labor and gender theory to my population to demonstrate the social and systematic dynamics of the drag community in Asheville. The population for this research includes five performers, one being myself, from the Asheville area. All were attendees at the main field site at one point in their drag career. By placing each performer on a spectrum to show how each of the performers existed within the institutional limitations or challenged those limitations that were placed on their performance at different venues. This ethnography’s purpose is to bring the narrative of Asheville’s Drag community into the discussion of gender and performance, showing how limitations effect performance and the ways in which heteronormative ideals portrayed in Rupaul’s Drag Race reinforce compulsory ideas of performance. This research aims to answer the following questions: What is drag? How does drag differ from everyday performance? How does drag exist within different systems or how does is not? To what extent is gender even performance? How has Rupaul’s Drag Race effected the drag community?

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Wednesday April 26, 2017 10:55am - 11:15am
237 Zageir Hall

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