While the trend of men dressing as women has been around since the beginning of theatre (since women were not allowed to act so men had to play their parts), the art of drag is not that old by comparison.
Granted, the word was first used in the late 1800’s in reference to men dressed as women. It has since been believed to be an acronym of the phrase "Dressed Resembling A Girl" or “Dressed as Girls.”
The reasons behind the addition of the word ‘queen’ is not as clear cut though. One thing is for sure however, the Emmy-award-winning reality competition RuPaul’s Drag Race catapulted drag culture into the mainstream and as a result, gave us a ton of things to be thankful for.
Now don't be mistaken, I'm not saying that the show invented drag culture (which eventually found a home in the New York nightclubs of the 80's), instead, it acted as a vehicle that took it into homes around the world.
Here is a list of things you can thank them for:
Make up techniques
Yup! Even though you need talent to be a prime female impersonator, part of that talent lies in your ability to transform your face and hide the masculine traits under layers of make-up. As a result, drag queen have developed useful make-up techniques that many women around the world rely on today.
Techniques such as contouring and baking have origins in the drag world.
If the words ‘tea’, ‘shade’, ‘kween’ and yasss have a prominent place in your everyday vocabulary then you might as well be a drag queen honey because those terms are rooted deeply in drag.
They also use phrases such as ‘read for filth’ and drag, not to refer to a man dressed as a woman but to refer to the act of putting someone in their place using a carefully crafted string of words.
If you thought the Real Housewives of Atlanta are the reason you know all this, think again.
Lace front wigs
Wigs have also been around for as long as theatre has been but we owe their popularity and subsequent mainstream availability to drag queens who need an obscene amount of wigs for their art.
In the words of RuPaul "I brought the lace front to the forefront!"
You call them “the Matshidiso” when you should be calling them “the RuPaul.” As mentioned above, female impersonators need a lot of tools to make them look female and padding is one of those things.
Padded tights have since been made widely available to help ladies who need a little boost on the booty every now and then.
Main image credit: instagram.com/somizi