“Drag Race”: Reality TV feminism

 “Drag Race”: Reality TV feminism

AFTER THE JUDGMENT comes the performance. Each week on RuPaul’s Drag Race, one of the two lowest scoring drag queen contestants is eliminated from the competition. In a last-ditch shot at redemption, RuPaul commands these queens to “lip-sync for your life!” What follows is a collaborative performance, improvised to a predetermined song, in which the “bottom two” queens fight a nonverbal battle for the judges’ attention. All contestants lip-sync, but many also dance — a few perform gymnastics, some shed wigs or clothes. A sorry few crack under the pressure. In these moments, any humor in the imperative to “lip-sync for your life” evaporates, as the audience becomes acutely aware of the high stakes binding glam and gloom.

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“Drag Race”: Reality TV feminism

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