Drag shows have risen in popularity in the media within the last decade due to the popularization of shows such as “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and even those who had never heard of the phrase “drag queen” were starting to take interest; and what’s not to like? Drag shows encompass so many of Americans’ favorite things: singing, dancing, fashion, artistic expression and drama. Television shows such as this expose a world that used to belong to a much smaller group within the American public, and drag culture is beginning to influence many facets of American life, such as the boom in popularity of contouring one’s makeup. This now popular trend was first attributed to a technique that drag queens use while doing their makeup for performances.
With the boom in popularity and normalization of drag shows and culture, one would assume that those who participate in drag shows and the act itself would now be less ostracized.
This, however, is not necessarily the case. On April 24, The Dayton Daily News reported that an Ohio lawmaker introduced a bill which would ban the involvement of children in drag shows under the claims that they are too innately sexually lucrative and inappropriate for children. Drag shows usually contain the expected elements of a fashion show, showcasing the performer’s outfit, makeup and hair, along with singing and dancing, none of which need to be excessively sexualized. These elements are also similar to those that can be found in children’s beauty pageants, something that is also still legal in Ohio.
By participating in drag shows and culture, children are exposed to a world of artistry and expression and are given a chance to learn new things about themselves as well as new skills. Children are given the opportunity to learn dances and express themselves through song, as well as take part in exploring fashion and makeup, which benefit them creatively while even opening doors to what may someday be a serious interest or profession. Ohio is taking a step in the wrong direction by demonizing something that has brought happiness and community to so many. We instead should be supporting the children of America in their expression and interests, and encourage them to try new hobbies so that they can find things they truly enjoy without fear of stigmatization and retribution.