Print Сite this

The Drag Queens and Drag Kings


Drag is an art that involves entertaining people by crossing sexes to have the characters perform roles of the opposite sex. Drag shows contain performances of music, dances, skits, and monologues, with either one performer at a time or a group of performers to entertain the audience. Most such performances are designed for theatrical plays. Drag queens and drag kings refer to the characters who impersonate a different gender for performance purposes, which is the art of drag. In particular, drag queens are men who dress up as women to appear like female characters. On the opposite, drag kings are women who take up male roles and dress up like men (Torr & Bottoms, 2010).

We will write a
custom essay
specifically for you

for only $16.05 $11/page
308 certified writers online
Learn More

The goal of setting up both drag queens and drag kings is to make them replicate the opposite sex tactfully to entertain the audience. Grooming drag queens and drag kings include modifying their costumes, hairstyles, and make-up. To bring out convincing characters in the performances, one requires a lot of creativity. Most drag queens and drag kings aim at imitating renowned celebrities and famous personalities comically. At times, drag performances represent politicians and activists in their performance. In addition, drag kings and drag queens often play gay personalities (Torr & Bottoms, 2010).

Drag queens

A drag queen is a man dressed up like a woman portraying feminine behavior through acting to amuse the audience. There are many variations of drag queens, which are based on: the place they perform in, the number of times they perform, the culture they represent, their class, and the purpose of performing (Gonzalez, 2004). For drag queens to display feminine traits, men have to work on their physical features including dressing like women, waxing their body hairs to make it look like feminine skin, shaping their eyebrows, applying make-ups, fixing fake eyelashes to show a feminine look, faking walking styles, sitting positions, and talking manner.

Drag kings

Drag kings are female artists dressed up as men for the sake of entertaining the audience. It should be admitted that they are not as famous as drag queens because, in the past, more reservation was held against female artists performing male roles as compared to the reverse. In most cases, the roles of drag kings are taken up by masculine-bodied females. Many drag kings have also used this position to represent lesbianism. To show a masculine touch, they dress up as men and try to look like men by sticking beards on their faces, adding more hair to their eyebrows, and acting like men. For instance, a drag king will seat in a care-free sitting position. They also dress like women to hide their feminine features like their breasts and female curves. For instance, they may use sports bras or ace bandages around the breasts to make them less visible (Torr & Bottoms, 2010).

Similarities between drag queens and drag kings

Drag queens and drag kings have several things in common. First, they both represent genders of different sexes: drag queens being men and drag kings being female characters. The other similarity is in the purpose of their roles as they play roles of different sexes for entertainment (Gonzalez, 2004). They may take up those acting styles to imitate real people of various professions such as a musician, and great personalities like leaders of a nation. For both drag queens and drag kings, a considerable amount of make-up is used to make them look like their opposite sexes. In addition, they are both known for representing the gay and lesbian communities. This is one reason they have received diverse critics from different societies.

Drag queens and drag kings are also similar in representing heteronormativity. It is unusual for men to be women and women to be men, however, in drag performances, an entirely different society is created, which accepts cross-sexuality. They both show resistance to gender structures. In a normal world, a person born with male features is masculine while another born with the feminine feature is feminine naturally (Gonzalez, 2004). Nevertheless, in drag shows, there is a resistance to this fact, whereby both sexes display a struggle to belong to their opposite sexes. Both drag queens and drag kings impact their audiences. Some of the public are rather critical of how the drag artists play different roles while others have their desires provoked by these performances.


The first difference between drag queens and drag kings is that they represent two different sexes, with drag queens being men and drag kings being women. Drag queens have existed longer than drag kings have. The idea of drag kings took longer to be embraced because female characters played this role. Drag kings and drag queens differ in how they came to drag. Studies show that drag queens are characters who had sexual dilemmas even early in their lives, feeling like women trapped in men’s bodies (Rupp, Taylor, & Shapiro, 2010). Some of the drag queens are said to have wanted to be women from early stages, trying to wear feminine clothes, or even to display feminine traits such as having a sassy talking style. Drag kings majorly do it for performance and do not have a progressive transition that starts earlier in their lives. They assume masculinity only in performance, which is why they drag. This difference suggests that varied positions lead drag queens and drag kings into drag performances.

Get your
100% original paper
on any topic

done in as little as
3 hours
Learn More

Rupp, Taylor, and Shapiro (2010) point out that drag kings and drag queens do not represent binary gender systems similarly. They suggest that drag queens tend to have assumptions in considering the difference between gender identities and sexual identities. Therefore, they are seen as depicting instability between sexuality categories and gender categories. In other words, they present minority sexualities and genders in their performance. Some studies show that drag kings have gender identity as an issue of social construction (Rupp, Taylor, & Shapiro, 2010). For instance, while acting they would have a pre-formed notion that politics is part of life in most men. However, drag queens’ performances are based on particular theories of gender identities. They tend to bring natural reality to their performance. For instance, it would be expected that a woman should feel seduced when touched, and such like traits.


Drag queens and drag kings are characters playing the roles of opposite sexes in drag performances. To appear like opposite sexes, both wear make-ups, dress up, and change voice tones to cover their natural gender identities to fit in the characters they represent. Despite having different drives into drag, they have various theoretical establishments and different gender and sexuality performances. Drag queens and drag kings bear the same similarities like dragging to impact on their audience.


Gonzalez, J. (2004). Kings, Queens Hold Audience at MCC. Daily Nexus, 84(130), 15-34.

Rupp, L. J., Taylor, V., & Shapiro, L. E. (2010). Drag Queens and Drag Kings: The Difference Gender Makes. Sexuality, 13, 275-280.

Torr, D. & Bottoms, S. J. (2010). Sex, Drag, and Male Roles: Investigating Gender asPerformance (Critical Performances). Michigan: University of Michigan Press.

Cite this paper

Select style


StudyCorgi. (2022, March 2). The Drag Queens and Drag Kings. Retrieved from


StudyCorgi. (2022, March 2). The Drag Queens and Drag Kings.

Work Cited

"The Drag Queens and Drag Kings." StudyCorgi, 2 Mar. 2022,

* Hyperlink the URL after pasting it to your document

1. StudyCorgi. "The Drag Queens and Drag Kings." March 2, 2022.


StudyCorgi. "The Drag Queens and Drag Kings." March 2, 2022.


StudyCorgi. 2022. "The Drag Queens and Drag Kings." March 2, 2022.


StudyCorgi. (2022) 'The Drag Queens and Drag Kings'. 2 March.

This paper was written and submitted to our database by a student to assist your with your own studies. You are free to use it to write your own assignment, however you must reference it properly.

If you are the original creator of this paper and no longer wish to have it published on StudyCorgi, request the removal.