“It costs a lot of money to look this cheap” is an oft-used maxim drag performers use to express the enormous difficulties inherent to their craft. To assemble one complete look for female impersonation — which includes at least 10 makeup products, a wig, jewelry, earrings, a dress, corset, fake breasts, hip pads, pantyhose, and heels — costs well over $100, even when executed simply. As an amateur drag performer, I’ve become more aware of certain contradictions in my attitudes as my skills as a queen have improved. Derek, a wannabe bohemian with far-left views, lives with great thrift and scrutinizes his possessions and spending obsessively. Yet as the chanteuse Antigone Spade, he has amassed a large collection of lavish clothes, professional makeup products, and illusion-forming accessories. It’s tempting to claim that performers are afforded a certain ethical leeway that accounts for the disparity. But can that be true, when the dollars Derek saves are the same ones that Antigone spends? Some may be ruffled by my following conclusions about the manifold connections between drag with consumer capitalism, but be aware that this essay is an indictment of myself first and foremost. Continue reading →
Motherhood is a major theme in Plath's work. She was profoundly ambivalent about this prescribed role for women, writing in "Metaphors" about how she felt insignificant as a pregnant woman, a mere "means" to an end. She lamented how grotesque she looked, and expressed her resignation over a perceived lack of options. However, in " Child ," she delights in her child's perception of and engagement with the world. Of course, "Child" ends with the suggestions that she knows her child will someday see the harsh reality of life. Plath did not want her children to be contaminated by her own despair. This fear may also have manifested itself in her last poem, "Edge," in which some critics have discerned a desire to kill her children and take them with her far from the terrors of life. Other poems in her oeuvre express the same tension. Overall, Plath clearly loved her children, but was not completely content in either pregnancy or motherhood.