The Real Feminist Drag

For those involved in the queer community, it is no secret that Mado’s has somewhat of a monopoly on the drag market here in Montreal (and drag is very much a thriving commercial industry and heralded as an inherent part of Montreal and Quebecois culture).

If you’re a queen, you either try to get into the “girly-boys club” at Mado’s, or work for some branch of the Greek Mafia at one of the other big box clubs in the Village.

The reality is that there really isn’t much difference between the two. The racism, sexism and other forms of prejudice are rampant and accepted as the norm in these places.

Where is the female presence in the Village? I have only seen drag kings advertised a couple of times at Mado’s since moving here two years ago. Other than at Le Drugstore, I rarely see a welcoming presence for women in what Google Maps now calls “Le Village Gai.”

When you watch drag shows in the Village, they are perpetrating the image of sexualized and idolized women like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Madonna, etc… but what about presenting women as real people?

Is a man with a gorgeous, chiseled body in a skimpy outfit doing justice to positive female body image? Do audiences want to see reality in drag performances or do they want to see the tried, tested and true formula of gender stereotypes? Is a woman dressed up like a drag queen still in drag?

If you want the real skinny on what feminist drag looks like, you’ll need to step out of the very commercial, franco-phalo-centric Village and explore Radical Queer Semaine, Meow Mix, Faggity Ass Fridays and Up Yours—to name a few events.

There is much more to the Montreal drag scene when it comes to feminism, but it seems it’s easier to call up Mado’s than do some in-depth research as to what actual feminist representation in drag looks like.

—Antonio Bavaro,
Theatre & Development