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    Rights statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Celebrity Studies on 20/05/2020, available online: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/19392397.2020.1765101

    Accepted author manuscript, 320 KB, PDF document

    Embargo ends: 20/11/21

    Available under license: CC BY-NC: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

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‘No one is trash, no one is garbage, no one is cancelled’: the cultural politics of trauma, recovery and rage in RuPaul’s Drag Race

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/10/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>Celebrity Studies
Issue number4
Volume11
Number of pages15
Pages (from-to)464-478
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date20/05/20
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Historically, Drag Race has mobilised stories about homophobia, family violence, racism and femmephobia that produce drag as a technology of recovery: a means of rising above trauma, in line with media scholarship on the centrality of personal trauma narratives in reality TV. Queer scholars have argued that this imperative to tell positive stories silences more melancholic, ‘negative’ voices; of the tension between the need to speak of ‘damage’, and a ‘related and contrary desire to affirm queer existence’. Seen as the embodiment of the histrionic, dramatic drag queen villainess and dubbed ‘the whistle-blower of the season’, Season 10 queen The Vixen subverted familiar trauma narratives, engendering an opening up around narratives of trauma, racism and transmisogyny. This paper examines The Vixen’s absence and her re-emergence on social media, reading her viral tweet declaring ‘no-one is cancelled’ as a provocation that unsettles dominant accounts of mental health, survival and trauma. I argue that in speaking up for the ‘trash, garbage and cancelled’ subject, The Vixen speaks to Heather Love’s call for a queer politics that consider injury as something that might be ‘lived with, not necessarily fixed’. In this sense, her flawed star persona resonates with a mad scholarship that constituting a productive mad and queer politics of vulnerability.

Bibliographic note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Celebrity Studies on 20/05/2020, available online: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/19392397.2020.1765101