Breaking Free Is A Drag (Or, Drag Queens Part 1)

Glowing Doll Danielle says she was “totally gob smacked” watching Freddie Mercury’s “sexy mustachioed housewife” in Queen’s I Want To Break Free.

In her post, Danielle also wrote:

I love drag queens because they can dress like women but without all of the pressure to look pretty or be sexy. I know there are plenty of women who dress like drag queens but they are few and far between and they tend to be Pop stars.

Umm, I could be wrong here, but I’m pretty sure the sole point of being a drag queen is to look pretty and be the (supposed) feminine ideal of sexy.

I think part of Danielle’s confusion here — and there’s plenty to be confused about traversing those fine, slinky, and slippery lines between drag queens, female impersonators, transgendered folk, cross dressers, fetishists, etc. (note: no mention of gay folk here) — is mistaking Mercury’s artistic gender-bender performance for Mercury being a drag queen.

Freddie Mercury in drag is not Freddie Mercury, Drag Queen.

The simple & pure existence of a mustache sort of illustrates that point — and my point about a boundary pushing performance.

Danielle gets close to those distinctions when she writes the following (exactly as typed at her blog):

To me anyway, Drag culture is as much about attitude as it is about aesthetic. It seems to exude a sort of ‘Don’t give a fuck’ attitude which I think everyone could benefit from. Ultimately there is a humour born from sadness underlying the aesthetic. The theatricality used as a kind of armour against a world that is so un accepting of others.

If I could be a part of either world I just feel that I would be freer some how. I find myself, inpsite of a vast collection of clothes and accessories, dressing drably from day to day. I guess I fear judegement by small minded people and on a deeper level just want to dissapear sometimes (hard to do with electric coloured clothes, spiked accesories and gigantic hats).

The mythical non-mustached Drag Queen Mercury, like other Drag Queens, probably would have had a female name and completely distinct female persona to go with it. And none would have seen drag as an armor but as flamboyant exhibitionist expression — that people would still sling arrows at.

Mercury in drag wasn’t exactly like Travolta in Hairspray; Mercury’s dress was a theatrical application, use of imagery to make a point. Or at least a slightly different point.   And the whole point of Freddie Mercury et al and their obvious appearance as men in women’s clothing (along with other things in this video and aspects of Mercury’s life) was to expose absurdity, especially the norms of “normal,” to break free of everything — everything except that vacuum, that is. *wink*


  1. Hi, I’m the idiot Danielle who you so lovingly tore a new asshole for.

    I don’t recall being asked permission for you to cut and paste sections of my text into your own article.

    You obviously missed the point of what I was saying, my mistake obviously for trying to be honest in my blog posts.

    Taking my words out of context and using them without my permission, however, is not OK.

  2. Dear Danielle,

    Sorry for the delay in approving your comment & responding to you. We’ve moved and that process has kept me too-too busy. Anyway…

    I didn’t intend to tear you a new anything in my post; in fact, I did state there was much to be confused about. I could continue to discuss what I wrote & how I supposedly treated you, but I don’t believe that would satisfy you in any way.

    However, I do think you would benefit from reading about the legalities of intellectual property and fair use. The simple version is this: Neither I nor anyone else needs to get your permission in order to “cut and paste sections” of your text (i.e. quote from your blog or any other written/published work) as long as they A) do not republish the entire work, B) properly give credit, and C) are continuing to the discussion or topic. I have complied with all three.

    And, from an ethical standpoint, I did not “take your words out of context.” Far from it. In fact, by complying with fair use, I left an easy trail back to your complete work and the context.

    I’m sorry you are not pleased by my post &/or opinions, and, very likely, my response to your comment. But these things happen when participating in public discourse, in self-publishing. It is my sincere hope that you continue your honest blogging, and that you become more aware of the rights, responsibilities, and risks of same.

  3. You comment header should read ‘Speak your mind, unless of course you directly oppose me’

    You can’t delete my comments and ignore my email forever. Just take my writing out of the above post that is all I ask.

  4. It seems I didn’t notice your comment above or that you had in fact printed my original comment, bravo for you!!!

    Continue blogging I will but please don’t take the moral high ground with me.

    I thought about my original post the day I found this and I came up with a long list of responses to some of the opinions that you expressed in your article but would it matter at all to you if you heard any of them?

    It’s obvious to me that you missed the point of what I was saying and more importantly how I was trying to saying it.

    And for the record you did take my writing out of context which portrayed me in an unfair light. Saying that you didn’t doesn’t change the fact that you did. I am not asking you to retract your opinions, not at all, just to remove the sections of my text that you cut and paste into your own article.

    Fairly generous considering you portrayed me as being some sort of ignorant bigot.Which I am not but hey who cares right?

    As for the legalities of the matter I will look into myself.

  5. Danielle, your anger and upset over this honestly astounds me. I personally considered the matter over. However…

    I do not have any email from you; it may have ended up in spam and, as I was not looking for/expecting it, was deleted. If you wish to resend, I’m happy to read it. However, please note, that as the publisher of my own blog, I reserve the right to quote from or use anything sent to me, just as any publication/reporter can. I’m not saying I will; just letting you know in case you’d like to consider that possibility, as you don’t seem to appreciate your words being published — other than as comments.

    If you’d like to respond to my post, as you mentioned in one of your comments, feel free to do so. You may do it here as another comment. Or, if you’d prefer, you may post your response at your blog and post the link here so that myself and others can find it.

    I have no desire to keep you from looking “too human,” whatever that means, nor do I feel I’ve portrayed you as an “ignorant bigot”; but I’m also going to stand behind my post as it is.

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