It’s week five of Dragula, the search for a Drag Super-Monster who is equally gifted in the areas of glamour, horror, and filth.
This week’s episode went totally girly and campy by challenging the queens to be in a horror movie. They weren’t starring as a scary monster, but as the typical slutty girl who makes for an obvious first victim.
While a few of Dragula’s Exterminations have been hard to watch, this episode marked the first time I was unsettled by the main challenge of an episode – and I think that might have been part of the point.
There was something particularly shocking in watching a man act out these purposefully-exaggerated, somewhat sexualized acts of violence against someone doing her best to present as a woman but who we know to be a man.
Seeing the violence play-acted by two men really drove home the amount of degradation we put female characters through just for having the temerity to walk alone at night or dress provocatively.
With that realization comes the ultimate chicken-or-egg question: is this violence in our movies because being a woman is an inherently dangerous act, or do we expect and accept violence against women because the media normalizes it constantly in trope after trope, from the slutty girl dying first to the love interest getting fridged?
So far this season we have seen drag as torture and death, been reminded that rock’n’roll is simple socially-acceptable drag, and seen the queens in their most outlandish outfits while giving birth. The Boulet Brothers have unquestionably amped up the unspoken commentary in their challenges compared to the zombies and sea monsters of the first Season. I think that’s a big part of why the show is so much more compelling this time around.
Clever commentary aside, it’s shocking to see all six of the remaining queens deliver straight-up feminine performances for the first time this season. It emphasizes just how strong the remaining half of these girls are. This week’s weakest queens are weak for choices rather than faults.
Enough talk – watch Dragula’s fifth episode, and then see if you agree with how I’ve ranked the queens below.