I have really been getting into drag queen culture, lately. So much to the point where I constantly wonder if I would have a successful career as a drag queen (which is highly debatable.) However, before I really knew what drag was, I would have just described it very similarly to how one would describe crossdressing. Which, well, is somewhat true, but the two are way more different than they are similar. Though both include the element of a man wearing women’s clothing, the two worlds aren't exactly aligned.
The biggest difference between drag and cross dressing is the performance aspect. Drag queens are typically gay men who dress up like women, as well as use makeup to construct a face that looks much more like a woman, which is all put into a show of some sort, whether it’s comedy, singing, lip-syncing, or whatever is in their repertoire. It becomes a job as opposed to a hobby, depending on the level of dedication they have to it. A job they may enjoy, but a job, nonetheless. However, with cross-dressing, it’s way more about the enjoyment of dressing as a woman. Not to say that drag queens don’t enjoy what they do, but it’s quite a process just to get all of that make-up on, learn a style of drag that works for you, branding yourself, creating a persona…it’s a lot to think about! Crossdressing is just about finding the clothes you love and enjoying the feel of feminine clothing on your body.
As it was mentioned before, the alternate-persona aspect of becoming a drag queen is another way it differs from crossdressing. When the guys get into drag, they’re usually an exaggerated version of themselves, or have a completely different personality overall. I imagine this is to help gain charisma with their performance bits, since just “being themselves” wouldn’t have the same effect after getting into drag. With crossdressing, I notice that they’re still themselves. People might have a different name for themselves when they crossdress, but their personalities stay the same. Which makes sense to me, because it's about enjoying the women's clothing, as opposed to making an identity out of it.
The last big difference between drag queens and crossdressers is the type of men who partake in these. Drag queens are typically members of the gay community, whereas most crossdressers are straight men/men who are attracted to women (at least from what I've noticed). You tend to see a lot more of drag queens and their culture surrounding LGBT related events, such as Pride festivals and gay bars, whereas most crossdressers seem to be straight (or maybe even bi) men who enjoy wearing women’s clothing, simply for the sake of wearing it and enjoying it. It’s not to say that someone of a different sexual orientation could enjoy it, but from what I’ve noticed among the crossdressing community, this is what seems to be the case.
However, despite these major differences, the fact that both drag queens and crossdressers are men in women's clothing is what I think could make the biggest impact on society. Though the intentions of each are quite different, the mere presence of both challenges our society’s strict set of gender norms, showing that feminine expression among men is normal, and enjoyable to more than just the drag queen or the crossdresser. I think, in the long run, the presence of both of these communities would challenge gender norms enough to where we can express our gender identity however we want, which, personally, is a world I would like to live in.
What other differences do you notice between drag queens and crossdressers? Are there any other similarities? Let us know in the comments!
Agree 100% Amy. Although it took more than a year to respond to you! Just be you! Not matter how you dress!
I personally disagree with your definition of a cross dresser if, only because it is so limiting, really crossdresser is a blanket term. It is a blanket term in that that the reasons people do it and to the degree they crossdress vary wildly. For some crossdressers, it is just a matter of enjoying female clothing, for others its purely a sexual fetish, and for others like Kenneth its a way of connecting with a more feminine side of their personality (when society tells them they cant have one). Personally for me its a mixture of all three though I know others who don’t care for the sexual side of it at all. And sorry many crossdressers often put just as much effort into looking feminine as any drag queen, just in different ways.I think typically, the difference between drag and crossdressing as you allude to, is drag is more of a performance art where crossdressers do it for more personal reasons. Additionally drag takes typical everyday femininity and bumps it up to 11. Their clothing is ultra flamboyant and feminine. Their makeup is used to give them exaggerated feminine features. Their movements, vocal inflections, and mannerisms are all done in a exaggerated ways when compared to women. Personally I admire the skill it takes to do what they do. And yes, for some crossdressers, it is as simple putting on some lingerie and/or clothing and calling it a day(to be clear I find that perfectly acceptable). For other crossdressers the goal to go for a more natural feminine look and natural mannerisms when compared to drag, with the ultimate goal of passing as much as possible. That often means shaving, wig, body shaping, clothing, makeup ect ect…. Personally it takes me hours to go from my masculine self to Amy.
I will say one last thing though, at the end of the day none of that matters. As long as a person is able to express themselves in the manner they find most comfortable(with in reason) its all good. You do you, I’ll do me, and we can both be friends.
I feel Drag Queen are less inhibited, more open with what they do. Many dress to entertain and make money. Whereas me, as a crossdresser, I’m shy, closeted and dress to be I touch with my feminity. I work in a masculine world, and to keep myself centered by crossdressing in lingerie in the comfort of my home. I don’t use crossdressing as a way of sexually pleasuring myself, but as a way to connect with the self ( masculine/ feminine) that I am.