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Why Drag Kings don’t need toxic masculinity

drag king gender kings of joy the king coach Mar 10, 2023

Are you sick of experiences of toxic masculinity, where masculine expression comes out sideways in impactful and harmful ways? 

Yeah, me too. That's why, at Kings of Joy, we don't do representations of toxic masculinity onstage. It could be really easy to invent a Drag King character who is an egotistical, obnoxious, asshole as there are plenty of archetypes on the screen or caricatures in the media. But given we have had to deal with those behaviours in real life, seeing them represented on stage is completely unnecessary and lacks innovation and creativity. 

What is toxic masculinity?

Toxic masculinity refers to a set of beliefs and behaviors associated with a traditional, narrow definition of masculinity that are harmful to all humans. This includes traits such as aggression, emotional suppression, dominance, and a disregard for the needs and feelings of others. Toxic masculinity can manifest in various forms, including bullying, sexual harassment, and violence. Not all masculinity is toxic, and healthy expressions of masculinity should be encouraged and celebrated. All humans can have masculine traits regardless of the gender or sex assigned at birth.

Here are some ways to overcome toxic masculinity:

1. Acknowledge and challenge its existence: Toxic masculinity is deeply ingrained in our culture, and acknowledging its harmful effects on individuals and society is the first step in addressing it.

2. Educate yourself and others: Learn about healthy masculinity and engage in conversations with others about the harmful effects of toxic masculinity.

3. Challenge gender stereotypes: Recognize that gender roles are socially constructed and in drag, use parody to challenge these stereotypes. Just don't fall for acting out that stereotype on stage.

4. Encourage emotional expression: Explore the entire spectrum of human emotions to express your Drag persona openly and demonstrate this can be done without fear of judgment or shame.

5. Promote respect and consent: Teach and model positive communication, respect, and consent in all relationships, including romantic, platonic, and professional - including on and off stage.

It is essential to recognise that overcoming toxic masculinity is a process that requires ongoing effort and commitment. By challenging harmful attitudes and behaviors and promoting healthy masculinity, we can create a more inclusive and supportive society for all genders.

Having coached 78 first-time Drag Kings to date, my approach to masculinity is to guide people to create a persona that comes from within, to lean into their own masculine expression, and to allow themselves to become bigger than everyday life. The result has been many endearing, loveable Drag Kings who can be anything from sexy to comedic to other-worldly and always highly entertaining.

Expressing toxic masculinity on stage might seem like a quick win but it's a loss in the long run for Drag Kings and audience members alike. Let's not stoop low, but raise each other up. A real King fixes another's crown.



The King Coach

P.S. Wanna be a Drag King? Sign up to the waiting list for Kings of Joy here

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