All American Boy an inside look at drag culture and gender identity

a brief history of genderbending

In the past few years mainstream media has picked up stories on varying identities pertaining to gender which are new (and probably baffling) to the “average “ person. Popularized by Youtubers in drag and the television show, Ru Paul's Drag Race, gender bending and drag culture has become a more normalized topic of conversation in the United States. Although the mainstreaming of these topics and identities are new to society as a whole, gender bending has been prominent since the early days of Greek plays. Men dressing as women began as a way to keep women out of roles but then transitioned into men and women playing roles opposite their gender.Gender bending didn't stop in Ancient Greece, however; Other forms of entertainment such as Shakespearean plays, Kabuki, and Opera have had men dressing up as women as part of their art.

Gender bending has been prominent since the early days of Greek plays.

Defining Drag

"A drag queen is a person, usually male, who dresses in drag and often acts with exaggerated femininity and in feminine gender roles for the purpose of entertainment or fashion. Often, they will exaggerate certain characteristics such as make-up and eyelashes for comic, dramatic, or satirical effect. While drag is very much associated with gay men and gay culture, there are drag artists of all sexualities and gender identities. There are many kinds of drag artists and they vary greatly in dedication, from professionals who have starred in films to people who just try it once."

how did drag become Taboo?

It was once a mainstream form of entertainment for men to impersonate women, but in the early 1900's, gender bending became synonymous with the LGBTQ community which was was considered criminal at the time. This genderbending art form was forced to move to the San Francisco nightclub scene. Outliers and the LGBT community uses these nightclubs as a safe space to push the boundaries of gender and sexuality.

In the early 1900's, gender bending became synonymous with the LGBTQ community

Taboo and distaste for gender bending goes deeper than homophobia. Some Americans tend to associate femininity and masculinity with a person's anatomy. And those who think this way tend to have a black and white view on what is considered masculine and feminine.

Why stand out?

People may be surprised by the abundant amount of reasons people dress in drag. For some it is an intrinsic part of being in the LGBT community a form of self exploration. For others it is a creative or spiritual outlet, a source of comfort, and a way to make other's happy as an entertainer.

a drag queen in the flesh

Drag queen culture might seem distance and other for many who dress and act according to gender norms, but often the people underneath the drag are unnoticeable folks going about their day.

Vince is passionate about his hobbies, school, friends, and his career

On the surface, Vince Ivan Kovac appears as the All-American 22-year-old boy. He grew up in rural Pennsylvania in a Christian household, running cross-country and track in high school, singing in the choir and studying hard. At his college, American University he sings in the choir, studies International Relations and interns almost full time.

Unobvious to the average observer, Vince occasionally uses his free time to go out in full drag attire. This means he uses (from his fishing box makeup organizer): primer (spackle for the face) foundation (skin-colored paint to even out skin), concealer (extra coverage for blemishes and dark circles), lipstick, eyeshadow, eyeliner, blush, and mascara for his face, eyes, and lips; he then wears his red-head wig of synthetic hair and sometimes a dress.

Fishing Box Makeup Organizer

Makeup means more than a flawless face

Although Vince was excited to explain the application of "drag" makeup as a person with masculine features, he like others who do drag, has deeper reasons for wearing makeup. It's more than just being "prettier." A huge reason for his part in drag culture is because of his part of the LGBT community.

Outside of the queer community people tend to not even consider gender norms until someone brings it to their attention. "Being part of the LGBT community," Vince said, "There exists this gender based fluidity that happens a little bit more easily than it does in the straight community – just by the very nature that we’re different than other people, we are challenging other norms."

"When you’re a queer person it becomes mandatory to question gender roles- both biologically and in terms of gender." - Vince

Starting Out

Even though Vince had always considered doing drag from his influences within the queer community, Halloween was the final deciding factor that pushed him to dress in drag for the first time. "Halloween is often described as a time when the lines between spiritual world and the physical world are synthesized, when the demon spirits run free among us .During Halloween you have an excuse get gender bendy. In a similar way a lot of drag queens, myself included decide to mess around with drag on Halloween."


A confident person in his own skin, even Vince was hesitant to tell his parents about his love of and participation in drag culture.. "It's always such a hard dynamic to explain to anyone outside the community." Vince said. His

Vince had posted pictures of himself in drag before but his parents never brought it up. One day at his home, Vince put on his makeup and went downstairs but his parents had a hard time understanding. His dad first thought that Vince was transgender and then could not wrap his head around the idea of a drag show. His dad equated gay men going tto a drag show was similar to going to a strip club. He did not understand why a gay guy would want to "lust over" drag queens. For Vince and the majority of others that enjoy drag culture, it is not about being attracted to drag queens.

"We don’t lust after drag queens as someone would lust for with a stripper. They're empowering figures They are very vocal, very outspoken points of intersection, whether you’re black whether you’re trans, whether you’re gay – if you look at how the movement has progressed- drag queens have always played such an integral role."

Sandra O' Slay

A catchy play off of Sandra Day O' Connor, Sandra O' Slay is Vince's altar ego drag queen persona. "When I'm Vince I just feel like an unassuming person. There is something that happens when you put on a face, and when you start to make our facial appearance change. Your eyes become elegant, you decorate yourself; you get the sense...a little part of your essence changes by the time you have a full face on." Vince said, "It's a common experience with cis (when sex and gender match) gender girls-- powerful, fierce, ready to go out to the club and take on the night."

It has that kind of dangerous, I'm not supposed to do this bitchy persona. Drag queens are all in your face and defiant for reason.

Males and Makeup now

The combination of men and makeup is finally becoming more accepted by society as a whole. Beauty gurus on Youtube such as Jeffree Star and Manny are beloved by millions of subscribers combined prominent news sites such as The New York Times, the Huffington Post have written articles on the increase of gender neutrality.

the influence of vince and people alike

Ms. Andre is a makeup brand that prides itself on progressiveness and inclusivity. Vince and people alike have inspired the brand to look out for all makeup lovers no matter the gender, sexuality, or race. Vince's story is beautiful and one that is relatable but also unique. Our users are unicorns and we cannot wait to hear the next person's amazing story.

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