Article Title

Drag = Blackface


Kelly Kleiman


Performance in drag is indistinguishable conceptually from performance in blackface, yet the former is embraced while the latter is shunned. This Essay argues that the analogy is powerful enough to justify making drag performance anathema. It outlines the parallel features of the two modes of performance and then rebuts the com- mon defenses of drag performance-that drag subverts gender stereotypes, that it is a matter of private sexual compulsion, that it is a privileged activity of gay men, and that it's just a joke.

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