It started with the Princess last spring. We caught a marathon of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” on Logo leading up to the premier of the 9th season. The Princess and I were both transfixed, but I knew there was someone in our house who would love the show even more than the Princess and I did.
From Littlebit’s perspective, what was there to NOT love. Big hair. Big makeup. Glitter. Sparkles. Sequins. Over the top theatrics. If anything is in Littlebit’s wheelhouse, it’s drag queens. It was like they were meant to be. But, in watching the show with Littlebit, I’ve come to the conclusion that Drag Race should be required viewing for girls.
I want to start with a caveat here. There are jokes and innuendo that aren’t always appropriate which are sexual in nature and the Pit Crew is pretty scantily clad, but even acknowledging that, I still think Drag Race is a great show for tween and teen girls.
- They’re body positive. All Queens are seen as beautiful and desirable. Are there some fat jokes? Sure. But, at the end of the show, no queen is singled out because of her size. Each queen still gets a camera close up of her booty as she walks the run way, no matter the size of her booty. Being a plus sized queen isn’t a determent. Girls get a lot of media information about what sort of body they should have, and a show that celebrates people of all sizes is pretty damn empowering.
- It’s seriously diverse. I mean, of course all of the contestants are members of the LGBTQ+ community. That kind of goes without saying, but beyond that Queens come from a wide variety ethnic groups, so your kiddos can turn on the show and see a Queen who looks like them! It’s a good thing for kids to see themselves represented in media and Drag Race is definitely a sparkly melting pot. One winning Queen was even narcoleptic. (Yes, I know narcoleptic isn’t an ethnic group or something that’s been missing from a very white washed media, but the greater point is Queens all abilities, sizes and colors have a place at the table).
- It peels away the facade of what women in the media actually look like. It’s tough to be a girl/woman with perfectly airbrushed and photoshopped faces and bodies screaming off the screens and pages at you. Seeing the Queen transform themselves with makeup, hair pieces, tape and padding, opens an opportunity for you to talk with your girls about how things on the TV (and internet and magazines) aren’t always what they seem.
- Creativity and Uniqueness is revered. Every season, there is always some Queen looking a little sheepish as she admits she can’t sew. Part of the competition is being able to design and create your own look based on the theme. More than that, though, is how much being unique and different from the pack is rewarded. The tween and teen years can be rough if you march to the beat of a different drum and while Drag Race isn’t going to fix your experience at school, but it is comforting to know that there are people and opportunities out there for creative, unique kids
- Find and Be Yourself. Over and over again, the recurring theme is to find your thing and be it because that’s where you’ll find happiness and success. As the season progresses, you get to see Queens who have managed to come out of the shell and find their thing be rewarded and Queens who cant find their way get sent home. It sends a great message about not just loving yourself (because how the hell are you going to love somebody else, right?)the messages are powerful and comforting and just right for teens and tweens growing up in a social media heavy, life lived on-line world.
Watch with your girls. Have some good discussions. Die over how beautiful RuPaul is.