What is it about?

Because of the success of the TV program RuPaul’s Drag Race, drag performance has entered the mainstream. However, it is still generally thought of as related to gender alone: male bodies performing ideal female ones. And yet, this approach is too reductive because several more elements contribute to drag, even though they are at times invisible, like the crew involved in the filming of each episode. If some of these are human, many more are non-human. For instance, some “characters” performed are animals or aliens, some objects and props are essential to the end result, and the whole concept of the TV show itself is possible only because of how much money sponsors and customers make available to its production. All these non-human “actors” indeed act because, in concert with the human performers, they fundamentally influence the performance of drag. In this article I make all these actors more visible by looking at the first fourteen seasons of Drag Race.

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Why is it important?

It is important to expand our awareness of the networks activated by performance, which go well beyond what we are used to include in our vision.


This article itself is the result of many converging actors: studies in posthuman theory for my book Actor-Network Dramaturgies: The Argentines of Paris (Palgrave Macmillan), the journal editors Kai Prins and Florian Zitzelsberger who had the idea of "posthuman drag" for the journal issue, and even the Covid-19 pandemic, which kept me at home to watch a lot of TV. Needless to say, Drag Race kept me good company.

Stefano Boselli
University of Nevada Las Vegas

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: ‘And may the best…thing win!’: Posthuman actor–networks in RuPaul’s Drag Race, Queer Studies in Media & Popular Culture, April 2023, Intellect,
DOI: 10.1386/qsmpc_00085_1.
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