Creating “the mess” from my previous post has helped me to locate some shifts in time and mind which drew me to faux queens and drag.
Now I have decided to embark on the task of reviewing all of my blog entries since I first started in November of 2012. This is something I have been avoiding, thinking for sure that it would be tedious, boring and embarrassing. Instead, to my surprise, I find that reading through my thoughts and musings, my recalled memories and my pertinent experiences, has been actually fun. Yes…FUN!
Yesterday I slowly read through November 2012 to February 2013 and surveyed for shifts in my thinking and writing focus.
You know… to be honest I never actually thought that this word vomit blog was going to be of any use at all. But, as I filter through it and read what I wrote I have begun to see the value. There are some noticeable moments where I’ve put on makeup and felt a change in my thinking about how femininity and masculinity can be experienced. Or I’ve talked to another faux queen, and suddenly I’m thinking more about gender or about queerness.
Here is a look at my notes as I begin to review my blog:
And some observations:
November and December of 2012 were fraught with anxieties. First, I was a very green PhD student who had all the same concerns as any other. Second, a nagging question would not go away, “Are you sure you can do drag when you’re not gay?” That persistent nag would ultimately form a large element of my research, but it concerned me so much in 2012 that I attempted to ignore it and focus on notions of play and the problematized categories of private and public.
“Dressing in drag is something I’ve previously only done in private” (November 2012).
“I want to create a context for play in my life that might also encourage you to think about yours” (December 2012).
Play, although initially an exciting research prospect for me; did not seem to have the drive I had originally hoped for. I think the problem was that I was becoming too nostalgic and too inwardly focused on private fantasies and pretending. At some point, Agorafauxbia had to become real. Not just real to me in the context of my home and imagination, but real to other people.
In January and February of 2013, anxiety still ruled, but my first interviews with Fauxnique and Brandi Amara Skyy offer respite and relief.
My stories of imagining, pretending and escaping into fantasy worlds as a child and teenager seem to set me up as a “weird” kid who had some different ideas about the world. I think, to some extent this begins to align me with a community of faux queens who often report that they have felt outcast, weird, unaccepted, or queer to mainstream society and that this seems to contribute to why they were drawn to drag and why they find they fit in with many people in the drag community.
It is February of 2013 that I notice the first significant shift of the mind…
I start to consider notions of gender, gender bending, and the construction of gender for the first time. I believe that this may also coincide with my reading of Judith Butler. I have written:
“This post flips us all forward out of school girl play and into my current faux-play fun!” (February 2013)
“When I applied the lip-liner and lip-stick something changed… a new self appears like a mask on top…if we take our makeup a little further our appearance might begin to represent something new” (February 2013).
In addition to this, both Fauxnique and Brandi put me more at ease with my tentative entrances into drag. Their advice: be respectful, understand the history, and seek out the people who will support you.
This advice, brief yet powerful, was enough to push me forward with my project and allowed what are now the key research questions to emerge.