It’s no secret that queer men admire Cher, and now, increasingly more people admire queer men who dress up as Cher.Image source: Chad Michaels
As LGBT Pride Month comes to a close, I’d like to shine a spotlight on the only T.V. show that I follow consistently: RuPaul’s Drag Race.
I am not affiliated with the show in any way, unfortunately, I’m simply spreading the word about it as a fan.
For those who haven’t heard of it, imagine America’s Next Top Model with drag queens as the contestants, handmade masterpieces as the outfits, and an extra dose of sass- and this is only part of the picture!
It’s IMPOSSIBLE to summarize the extravagance of this show in one sentence, but you can see it for yourself here.
When my friends first introduced me to this show, I was a little confused about this world of glitter, lip syncing, and weird lingo- I still don’t know what “feeling your oats” means- but after watching one episode, I was hooked. It seems like queer men are the target audience of the show, but the more I watched the show, the more I began to feel that everyone can learn a thing or two from the judges, the contestants, and the characters that the contestants portray. I know I did.
So, what makes this show inspirational?
1. Every queen is a strong character
Image source: Kim Chi
Each queen has a specific talent and some may be more well-rounded than others, but all of them exude a high degree of self-esteem and independent spirit. They do have insecurities, just like every other human being, but they are able to battle them by maintaining a positive outlook and recognizing that they have many unique qualities that make them the fabulous individuals that they are. This mindset allows them to face any obstacles and achieve success, whether that means winning a challenge or going home with dignity after lip syncing for their life. People are often plagued by insecurities that make them feel as though they are not good enough to do certain things, especially insecurities about appearance or career progression, and even though these particular insecurities may differ from those that the queens experience, anyone can make themselves feel royal by facing them the way that the queens do.
2. Criticism is mostly constructiveImage source: Rebloggy
They criticize, they compete, and they fight, but they learn from each other and evolve as a result. The queens are definitely not shy about pointing out each others’ weaknesses and they are happy to do so (they are in a competition, after all), but most of their criticism is constructive. Sometimes harsh words are said and tears are shed, but the queens often use the criticism that they receive from their peers and the judges to improve. They are able to recognize when people genuinely need help and they share their expertise or resources, instead of bringing them down even more, like when Naysha Lopez left a few of her garments for Chi Chi Devayne while she was packing up. This is a reminder that no matter how caught up we might get with trying to achieve our own goals, we are all human beings and must treat each other as such; there is always time to lend a helping hand to those who need it.
3. RuPaul acts as a mentor, not just as a judge
Image source: Pinterest
The queen bee, RuPaul, definitely has high standards when judging the performance of the contestants, but she always finds something positive to say to encourage them and recognizes their unique talents. She monitors all of the challenges, making sure to ask the queens how they are doing, and she always listens when they need to vent. She also meets individually with the top 3 contestants to get to know them better. In these ways, RuPaul acts as a mother who wants to see her children become stronger and better, instead of just flaunting her success.
4. All body types and styles are celebrated
Image source: newnownext
Some queens are big, like Darienne Lake, and some queens look like they could fit in your pocket, like Cynthia. Some are short, like Ginger Minj, and some have legs that stretch for miles, like Naomi Smalls. Some queens love high fashion, like Violet Chachki, while others focus more on performing, like Bob the Drag Queen. All of the winners of the past 8 seasons look different from one another and nearly anyone can find a queen to relate to in every season. The queens recognize what their best assets are and flaunt them, regardless of their size or shape, which is exactly what the judges expect of them.
5. RuPaul encourages self-loveImage source: wifflegif
One of Ru's famous catch phrases is "if you can't love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love somebody else?" By repeating this in every episode, she reminds the contestants that it's important to learn to be confident and happy in their own skin. She doesn't mean that they should be selfish and conceited- on the contrary, she means that when people are able to love themselves, they end up with enough love to share with others. When people don't love themselves, they focus all of their energy on either trying to become happier or making others feel as insecure as they do. This is evident on the show- more often than not, when a queen is very critical of others, it becomes “Ru-vealed” that she’s actually just projecting her insecurity.