Fulfilling and defying the established gender norms: the experience of five Swedish drag artists

University essay from Lunds universitet/Genusvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: Both in the media and academic circles there have been a proliferation of interest in drag queens. While the female impersonator has a long recorded history, our contemporary society’s quite public and sustained preoccupation about the subject seems to be unprecedented. Even though drag can be considered part of the Swedish pop culture, to see a man dressed in clothes that are typically attributed to female/feminine expression may not always be free from controversy, depending on the space and context. For this thesis, I have interviewed five people in Sweden that identify as men who are female impersonators, drag queens or drag artists. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to try to understand the social phenomena from the actors' own perspective and describe the world as it is experienced by them. The material was analysed according to drag as reproduction and subversion of gender, the drag scene in Sweden and drag queens historical role, as a way to answer the research questions related to masculinities, bodies and mainstreaming. The study aims to add up to a broader comprehension of the practice of drag as an important part of gender expression.

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