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Drag as a Form of Empowerment and Self-Acceptance

BY Pixie Aventura / Cesar Villavicencio

Beauty is one of those words that is immediately connected to the female gender. It makes sense because it’s usually side by side with makeup, hair, perfumes, or fashion. It was an unspoken rule that, as a boy, I had to remain with masculine things, but luckily it was never really enforced directly by my parents, it was more of an internal thing. It wasn’t until I started entering into my queerness that I started to question the status quo. However, the walls didn’t come crashing down until Drag entered my life – all bets were off!

Entering my queerness was about embracing my sexuality and understanding my emotions towards other men was completely normal. On the other hand, Drag allowed me to question everything exterior about myself as well as how I wanted to be perceived. It’s so messed up that society has made us gender pieces of clothing. Beauty is attached to prettiness and delicate things but I see it as something powerful and controlled. I always joke that when I turn into a Drag Queen I become a superhero. I mean, the number of layers I have on would protect me from many things if I’m being honest.

Another interesting aspect of Drag is the person behind the mask. I have made it a point to allow the world to see both sides. In the past, it was always very common that very few people would see who the man behind the wig was. Social Media, TV, and film have changed that, but some still choose to have a separation between both. Drag is an extension of who I am as a gay, Latin man. Interestingly, Drag has also allowed me to embrace feminine qualities in my everyday life.

As much as I feel beautiful in Drag, it has also been my goal to feel beautiful as a man. It obviously includes body positivity and embracing my natural features, but feeling beautiful also goes hand in hand with what you choose to wear, whether it be clothing, makeup, or hair. I love wearing all the colors and playing with all the fabrics. That actually reminds me of one of the statements I make during my shows, “As queer people, we have the power of creating our own path and using all the colors in the crayon box. Don’t be a beige!”

One of the frustrating things about experimenting with clothes as a boy is the lack of options. Shopping is so hard if you want anything besides white, black, navy, or grey, as well as denim or cotton. And if you try to shop in the women’s department, it can be very limiting when it comes to size and fit. My experience with drag, and making it my own, has allowed me to create things for my boy-self as well.

Then there’s the matter of makeup. I HAVE SO MUCH MAKEUP! Drag has always been about playing with everything and sometimes using things for what they’re not intended for. My comfort in makeup has also brought focus to an interesting trend. I’ve seen makeup lines created specifically intended for men, one called “War Paint”. Now as much as I agree that Drag feels like getting suited for battle, a brand name like that is obviously pandering to male fragility. You know what they say, “Real men wear pink!”, and that is very true. The more the beauty industry is open with gender fluidity the more the world can become more beautiful. I guess we must start somewhere.

Overall, I’m very happy and proud during a time when the status quo is being demolished and people have an opportunity to live their authentic life with more ease. Drag gave me the freedom to enjoy life. And if there’s anything that it can teach someone else, it’s probably: “JUST HAVE FUN, IF YOU’RE HAPPY, LET THE HATERS HATE!”