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Scholars Day 2007, Wednesday, April 11

Hip Pads, Lip Gloss, and Chest Hair: An Exploration of the Embodiment of Femininity

Drag icons like RuPaul and Divine have made a career of it, but what does it mean to “perform female”? Can one simply don high heels and red lipstick, or is a greater sense of embodiment required? What are the societal effects of gender bending? Can spectacle entertainment serve a different purpose? If so, what other purpose can drag queening serve? Through an investigation of drag queen culture, this presentation will explore the function drag serves within the gay community, as well as its effects on society in general. This investigation will shed light on the artistry, symbolism, and social commentary inherent in these works, rather than depict such performances solely as deviant spectacles. Movement analysis, gaze theory, gender construction/performance theories, and feminist theories will be used to uncover the ways drag queens challenge the patterns of expected gendered behavior and inform a definition and classification of what is female.

Presenter: Kristi Faulkner (Graduate Student)
Topic: Dance
Location: Hartwell Strasser Dance Studio
Time: 10 am (Session I)