Above gender : doing drag, performing authentically, and defying the norms of gender through performance in Cape Town

Prince, Lindy-Lee
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The thesis that is to be presented discusses the performance of drag and gender in Cape Town – namely Bubbles Bar. I argue that the performance of gender on stage through the performance of drag challenges the norms and ideas of gender in South Africa. Through the act of non-normative staged gendered performance, the participants of this study also challenge stereotypes and stigma around this in relation to the social norms and regulations that are asserted on the individual presentation and performance of gender and sexuality. I argue that the performance of gender in relation to the stage asserts the situational character of gender performance through the staged performance of drag. I assert that the staged performance of gender is made authentic by the audience who views and understands the performance as a performance of drag, and a performance of gender. The performance of drag is considered an act of transgression. Transgression in South African society is policed through acts of oppression, social and sometimes physical violence. This act of transgression is performed through drag which is viewed as an act of nonnormative gender performance. The perception of transgression places those who perform gender in a non-normative fashion upon the margins. However, that the performers are acting above gender places the performance on a higher plain. The theatrical methods, and inclusion of the audience in the performance that are used as a form of entertainment allows the participants in this research project to humanize the gendered performance of non-normativity by education through the art of their performance.
AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die tesis wat aangebied word bespreek die vertoning van “drag” en geslag in Kaapstad - naamlik in Bubbles Bar. Ek voer aan dat die opvoering van geslag deur “drag” op die verhoog normes en idees van geslag in Suid-Afrika uitdaag. Deur hierdie nie-normatiewe geslagsopvoering daag die deelnemers van hierdie studie ook stereotipes en stigma rondom geslag uit, met spesifieke betrekking tot die sosiale normes en regulasies wat op die individuele aanbieding en vertoning van geslag en seksualiteit geplaas word. Ek argumenteer dat die uitbeelding van geslag in verhouding tot die verhoog die situasionele karakter van geslag deur die opgevoerde vertoning van “drag” handhaaf. Ek voer aan dat die verhoogvertoning van geslag eg gemaak word deur die gehoor wat die vertoning aanskou en verstaan as 'n vertoning van “drag”, en ook 'n vertoning van geslag. Die opvoering van “drag” word beskou as 'n daad van oortreding. Oortreding in die Suid- Afrikaanse samelewing word gepolisieër deur dade van onderdrukking, sosiale en soms fisiese geweld. Hierdie daad van oortreding wat opgevoer word deur middel van “drag” word beskou word as 'n daad van nie-normatiewe geslagsgedrag. Die persepsie van oortreding plaas diegene wat geslag opvoer op 'n nie-normatiewe wyse, op die kantlyn. Deurdat die deelnemers/kunstenaars optree buite die normatiewe idee van geslag, plaas dit die vertoning op 'n hoër vlak. Die teatriese metodes, en die insluiting van die gehoor in die opvoering wat gebruik word as 'n vorm van vermaak, laat die deelnemers aan hierdie navorsingsprojek toe om die geslagtelike vertoning van nie-normatiwiteit te vermenslik met opvoeding deur middel van die kuns van hul vertoning.
Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.
Dissertations -- Sociology and social anthropology, Theses -- Sociology and social anthropology, Gender expression -- South Africa -- Cape Town, Female impersonators -- South Africa -- Cape Town, Gender identity in the theater -- South Africa -- Cape Town