Maskulinitet i feminismens tjänst. Dragkingande som praktik, politik och begär
Sammanfattning: Masculinity in the service of feminism. Drag kinging as practice, politics, and desire. The aim of the thesis is to explore drag kinging as lived experience at the crossroads of masculinity, the body, and feminist politics. Drag kinging is defined as a conscious performance of masculinity. Theoretically, the study takes a feminist and queer phenomenological perspective as a point of departure. In particular, it draws on Sara Ahmed’s and Iris Marion Young’s work on the gendered and queer body and its orientation in space. Following the work of Nira Yuval-Davis, drag kinging is conceptualized as a feminist epistemic community, a space for knowledge production and belonging for individuals sharing feminist emancipatory values. Methodologically, the study is inspired by feminist critical ethnography. It is based on interviews with individuals that do drag kinging and participatory observations as an observant participant in drag king contexts. My material shows that through the practice of drag kinging the informants experience moments of wonder that expand and deepen their feminist understandings. The emotional regime of drag kinging is oriented around an ethics of care, a feeling of wonder, individual agency, and the hope for the possibility for change – both on a personal and societal level. Drag kings evolve in my analysis as sticky objects saturated with desire from many different others, and also as desiring different others. Public spaces are experienced as powerful venues for doing politics, but are also spaces where drag kings become vulnerable. The drag king workshop is the primary method for expanding the epistemic community of drag kinging and for transversal politics. In workshops in hetero-cultural contexts drag kinging as a queer and feminist practice is under-communicated and drag kinging runs the risk of heterosexualization and depoliticization. The risk of obscuring unequal relations of power, reproducing stereotypes and the problematic need of continuous recognition from the mainstream is highlighted. My material shows that despite its shortcomings, drag kinging provides a serious challenge to gender norms, and creates a space for the subversion and challenge of hegemonic definitions of femininity and masculinity. It also provides a sense of political meaningfulness regarding societal transformations both at the individual and the collective level.
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