S1E3: "Drag Me" | "The Category Is... Mexico City" (2020)
“Mi personaje Overkill nació como un juego. Para mostrarme. Para mostrar mi rebeldía, mi pasión por el arte, mi felicidad, mi deseo de superarme.”
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Drag is transformation. Drag is an alchemical process that combines body, personality, and passion to create an artistic expression of one’s new or improved self.
Episode three “Drag Me” of The Category Is… Mexico City characterizes the value of drag and the personas born from the transformation of tearing gender into a re-definable, wearable art.
“Drag Me” opens with a shot of three House of Mamis members readying themselves using the same mirror. The soundtrack’s opening chord and blending of a shaker and snapping compliment the establishing shot, spotlighting the familial ties as each member works toward crafting themselves.
In an earlier episode, Mother Mendoza mentions the impact of seeing their dreams become reality. That dream, being able to make money from performing. From experience, I see a lot of artists feeling validation once their art becomes profitable, and Mother Mendoza seems to express the same sentiment when being able to perform in clubs as a drag queen and voguer. I see that a negative mindset of Capitalism is that if an art form is not profitable, then it is not valid or worth exploring.
My point in mentioning Capitalism’s negative impact on people’s art, is to consider drag’s history. Although drag is moving further into the mainstream, drag still arrives from queer nightlife, where performances are created out of opposition for society’s rigid understanding of gender. For someone to make a living from drag in a city where being a performer, who is opposing the structures of both gender and recognized forms of labor, is to undercut the understanding of what valid forms of work and labor are.
I won’t go as far as to say drag performance is a form of anti-work, but I will say, considering the marginalization and the elimination of options for financial stability for queer people, it is beautiful to see House of Mamis members make a living off performing in Mexico City, a city that does not fully welcome the queer community.
Drag is an alchemical process that combines body, personality, and passion to create a spell of rebellion and opposition against forces that seek to eliminate queer communities. Episode three “Drag Me” of The Category Is… Mexico City explores the passion individuals hold for their art, displaying the power of opposition that each person is capable of.