Female Masculinity - Drag Kings: Masculinity and Performance Summary & Analysis

Halberstam, Jack
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Summary

Halberstam begins this chapter with an explanatory section entitled “What Is a Drag King?” In this section, Halberstam considers possible explanations as to why drag king culture is not as widespread as drag queen culture. Halberstam emphasizes that a butch’s “ability to pass as male in certain situations” may predicate her survival, such that the “camp” of drag is “a luxury that the passing butch cannot afford” (234). He also notes that the “mainstream definitions of male masculinity as nonperformative” also make drag king performances difficult to create; “if masculinity adheres ‘naturally’ and inevitably to men, then masculinity cannot be impersonated” (234, 235). Halberstam then shifts to argue that the “camp” of drag queen performances is specific to the performance of femininity; he proposes the term “kinging” for the humor and performance of drag masculinity, marked by “reluctant and withholding” qualities (238, 239).

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This section contains 1,299 words
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Buy the Female Masculinity Study Guide
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