Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Drag Queens and Lolitas: An Essay

Deep within the realms of the universe lies a world of two cultures - one of a more glitz and glam and the other of a more classic attempts at beauty. Both share similarities that one could not configure through a normal looking glass but when looking deep within can see a world of possibilities. I bring you a luscious "A-ha" moment ladies. Are you ready? Drag Queens and Lolitas are ridiculously similar.

Now that you might have had a gasp and a moment to think, take a deep breath and remember - be calm. No, I'm not saying that we are men dressed to be female impersonators (though we do have Brolita's and gosh do I love them!) but instead that like Drag Queens us girls in frills are of a very similar attitude, mind set and cultural behaviors. We are both of an extreme subculture based around fashion/appearance, and we have an actual system of rules and regulations that keep it in order, excluding it from other subcultures and lifestyles. (You don't see a group of girls that are religiously obsessed with Wal-Mart or reserving prints at Kohls, do you?)

So in honor of the teaser trailer release of Rupaul's Drag Race Season 4, I just had to write this article - the article of my dreams. Now if you are completely stumped on how RuPaul relates to Maki and Asuka, well take a look below at a side by side comparison of somethings that you may find surprising. Trust me, when I had the revelation it definitely took me a back. So let's lip sync for our lives huntee, and check out the relations below.

Let's face it, there is definitely drama in Lolita Fashion. You know it, your friend knows it, hell even your momma probably knows about it too. From the infamous drama communities, cgl (it exists honey, let's embrace it...?) and even just private little spats - it's a drama cliche driven world out there. But guess what? Drag Queens have that all too. Sure they might not have an online forum community like us but there are plenty of cat fights and backstabbing.

Take for instance the drama on RuPaul's Drag Race, specifically Raven versus Tatiana. Raven is a much more professional and older queen from LA, where as Tatiana was younger and newer at the game (think of it as an older Lolita versus an newbie). Raven would basically tease Tatiana to no end, allowing it to end in a catty fight towards the end of the season. As mentioned, there is definitely a dramatic difference between the older Queens versus the newer ones. Maybe it's a age thing or maybe even something of jealousy or envy on both sides, either way it can end in a big ol' mess. But when Queens come together after a battle it sure is a lovely sight of love and harmony, which I believe can be said the same for any relationship patchwork. Speaking of which....

Older Vs. Newbs
(a.k.a Heathers vs. Buggers)
You know how it is when you start out in the scene, everything looks a bit bigger and scarier then it does later on in your frill life (Trust me, I was extreme fail the first go around) and the same goes doubly for our fellow Queens. It's one thing to dress in a poofy dress and call it a day, but to dress as the identity of another gender?

Oh honey please, it ain't easy. But then you've been in the scene for a while, you've evolved from that girl asking the questions about Bodyline on egl to the one answering the questions about Angelic Pretty. We learn and we grow. But as mentioned above, both of these scenes share their drama in the generational gaps.

The best example in this can be that of the two cliches discussed at length in Drag Race Season 3, Heathers vs. Buggers. The Heathers (formed in the show of Manila, Raja, Carmen and Delta) were the beauty queens, the fiercest and the trend setters. They always would win competitions, have the best dresses and lip sync with the most passion. Much of the time the Heathers would be Queens in their "prime" or had been around a decent enough time to know a thing or two. 

Then on the other side we have the Buggers (or to frilly relate, Itas or Newbs) The Queens that maybe aren't as polished as the others because they are newer to the scene or maybe didn't listen to their Drag Mothers as they should have. Sometimes Buggers can be the ones that are more reliant on their wit then say their looks or their sewing skills. Buggers can also be a bit easier to jump into drama then say Heathers, where they like to be in denial of a flaw and attack a Heather to make themselves feel better. (Sound familiar girls?) There are even some Queens that'll give themselves other titles like a Veronica (Raven dubbed herself this in Drag U Season 2) But not all these groups are filled with drama....


Last Friendships
It's true that some of the weirdest of events can gain you the greatest of friends, and I was lucky enough to have been granted the chance to have some of the best friends a girl can ask for because of this Fashion. I honestly think my life would be a lot more duel, sad and just not sparkly enough if it weren't for the beautiful and talented people I've met while wearing the frills. I think the same can be said for the long term friendships made through being a Queen. 

These are both subcultures that you really need to make lasting bonds within to stay current and continue on with it for the long hall. I know I'm never the best dressed in the culture, but I do consider myself to be the Miss Congeniality, and that comes from the friendships I've made and the ones that are far beyond just about dresses - they are about a sisterhood huntee! We can teach one other things within the fashion and within life itself. 

Queens and Lolitas can bond over this. You really can make lifelong friendships with people you otherwise never would have ever thought of to meet, just because we share this similar love for poofy dresses and a time long forgotten. Queens share that similarity of wanting to be fierce, beautiful and creative. Together, friendships like this can rule the world and make it ones that withstand even more then the ones you might have had in high school or in college. The girls I've met I know will be there for me forever, as I will be with them. 



We Are All Fabulous

That's right girl, everyone in these cultures is amazing and fabulous. Even if you are new at this style and just attempting to see if you even want to fully dive into it, you've already made the biggest step of all: Being Yourself. In a world where we are told that everyone should just be the norm and that is what is praised, honey - no normal person ever truly succeeded. As RuPaul says to all the girls, "Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent" are what is gonna get you places and that is exactly what you need in Lolita Fashion and in life in general.

Drag Queens have taught me that confidence is the biggest and most important factor in your entire out look on life. If you don't believe in who you are and what makes you fabulous, then you might as well go home and cry to your picture of Maki and Asuka. Like many that have come before, sitting in a corner and doing nothing doesn't solve any problems or get you anywhere. And if you don't feel fabulous right now, change it so that you feel so! Even if someone says you can't - you can!

From watching the girls on Drag Race and seeing my other friends I've made a commitment this year that I'm going to make myself feel the most fabulous then I ever have. I'm going to take my lessons in treating myself right (and getting rid of those little bits of pounds keeping me away from some brand pieces), getting myself some wigs (you can never have enough of those!) and making me the ultimate version of myself! But aside from the outer stuff, I want to make myself proud of who I am as a person. So trust me, a new La Vida Frills is upon us and it'll be fiercer then ever.

If you are feeling the same way, girl - get yourself to where you need to be and take some advice from those that are incredible. Pick a role model (a Queen works too!) and figure out the things that you like about them, and apply them in a natural and mature way to yourself. What do they do that I can reasonably do that'll make me feel like a true and fabulous Diva? That's what Queens do and trust me, it'll make you feel sparkly all over.

So what have we learned today?
You are amazing, Queens are amazing - and if the world don't see that then they need their overpriced sunglasses checked. So what are you going to do today to make yourself feel amazing?


  1. BRAVO!!! Great article! I agree with everything you said! On top of that, I would add that both Drag Queens and lolitas aspire to portray an idealized femininity. Even though they choose very different ways to portray it(With queens it's hyper sexualized looks, striking makeup, huge lashes, and fabulous couture outfits, and with lolitas it's soft girlishness separate from sexuality), I think that's an interesting angle to examine as well. They both take one side of the female coin and take it to an extreme, in all the right ways!

    Anyway, once again, really nice article Dalin! <3

  2. OMG!!

    Totally great article. I hung on to every word!

    Such an interesting subject matter