Abstract

It is common for female-identified individuals to perform feminine acts—what I term “female-femmeing”—at contemporary drag king and queer drag shows. Although some scholarship has acknowledged the presence of these acts, a woman’s onstage (and offstage) femininity is frequently considered nontransgressive, nonqueer, and not gender-bending. This article first interrogates why femininity is often presumed to mean social alignment, and then demonstrates how some femininities actively contest this. Pairing Muñoz’s characterization of disidentification with ethnography from drag shows in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Oakland (2008–2012), I illustrate several ways female-femmeing bends or expands hegemonic femininity. These acts not only add complexity to a queer counterpublic drag space, but also, I suggest, encourage the consideration of all identities, including femininity, as potentially queer. The acceptance of female-femmeing as queer, and the expansion of drag narratives to meet these practices, is an important step toward a queer world ideology.

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