Redefining gender and freedom: Why RuPaul’s Drag Race has changed reality TV forever

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The groundbreaking show, RuPaul’s Drag Race is back for its ninth season. In this cutting edge reality show, brought to you by Emmy Award winning host RuPaul Charles, 14 fierce drag queens compete to win $100,000 and the title of America’s next drag superstar.

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h6>Drag Race started off as an underground production but quickly climbed to the top of mainstream TV – it’s now broadcast on VH1 every Friday night.

With its constant way of renovating itself, the competition has become truly iconic not only for the LGBT+ community but for pop culture itself. It’s not simply a TV show, it’s a platform to make drag culture known all over the world. The show helps to redefine the audience’s ideas on many drag-related misconceptions. Drag is an actual art, though surrounded by an aura of misunderstanding that must be dissolved.

The queens who compete on the show are not just people who get to dress up for a living, they are singers, comedians, actors, dancers.

Drag allows for the freedom for everyone to be whatever they want to be, because limits are nonexistent, lines become blurry, boundaries are destroyed. On the show, every kind of drag is embraced, whether it is pageant, campy, avant-garde. The judges’ goal is to push the queens to their limit, in order to get them to the next level as entertainers, while also giving them the opportunity to share personal stories.

Many Ru-Girls have become actual LGBT+ advocates and a symbol of freedom for anyone, not just within their community. In this particular season, the queens discussed extremely relevant happenings such as the shooting that took place in Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida during the summer of 2016. This hate crime is considered to be the deadliest ever committed against LGBT+ people in the history of the United States. The fact that, in this day and age, this kind of violence against minorities is still being perpetrated with such cruelty shows how much we still desperately need change.

The prominent role the media have in promoting certain ideas is undeniable, that’s why shows like Drag Race hold an important place in society. It’s not only about the entertainment factor, the values that this competition promotes are ones of inclusion, freedom of expression, hard work.

With this season becoming more popular than ever, considering the political climate in the U.S, it is impossible not to make some remark. Since November 2016 and Trump’s election, the LGBTQ+ community has empowered itself further, refusing to give in. The ideology brought about by this administration targets minorities, but the attacked communities are standing tall and proud.

Drag Race spreads a message of love and full acceptance, showing the people within and outside of the community how vital it is not to give into blind, hatred-filled ideologies. The discrimination of any kind of minority is what sets the basis to totalitarianism. Refusing to hear different opinions leads to ignorance, intolerance, therefore supporting totalitarian ideologies. We must once again consider the impact of the media in shaping people’s world views, especially when it comes to young individuals.

The representation of minorities in shows with large audiences is vital to press the process of recognition and acceptance. The U.S, despite being a melting pot based population, still struggles with minority-related issues, and that’s why mainstream television and the media, in general, should educate the public on this kind of matter. Drag Race is a symbol of representation, inclusion and liberation that should be extended to any other community.

Given the large number of crimes targeting minorities that happened in the last few years, we’re not quite there yet.

RuPaul’s Drag Race has brought an immense sense of liberation to mainstream TV, leaving a decisive mark on pop culture, and it looks like it has no intention to stop.