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Drag queens with only half their makeup on [11 pictures]

Aug 11, 2012 By Abraham

Selections from photographer Leland Bobbe’s ongoing series “Half Drag”

(via Archie McPhee)


      1. luke says:

        no it’s pretty gross. the level of attention that is begged by these kind of antics is something that a man has no business desiring. attention is an integral part of a woman’s self esteem but we, as men, should know better.

        1. b says:

          How ignorant of you. Attention to detail is a human attribute not gender. These types of “antics” are harmless and if you don’t like it, don’t dress up like them. Open up your mind a bit, you’ll see it’s quite refreshing and you won’t be so angry and miserable.

          1. luke says:

            Oh i’m neither angry, nor miserable. but don’t piss on my neck and tell me it’s raining. there are TWO genders, and they are determined by our physiology. that’s all there is to it. ifd you want to prance around in ridiculous clothing because that’s all that can get you off, so be it, but don’t try and tell me it’s beautiful, or some kind of altruistic expression of who you are.

          2. J.ro says:

            Luke, I highly recommend that you look up the definition of ‘gender’. I also recommend attending a drag show at least once, because they are fabulously entertaining.

          3. Justin says:

            Luke: actually there are three natural genders and they go as follows.. Male, Female, and neutral.. Neutral meaning they are born with both male and female organs… Nature makes some things interesting doesn’t it? You are so clearly close minded. Drag queens for instance only do this kind of thing for entertainment purposes as impersonation only and make a pretty decent living doing it.. Transgender is someone who believes themselves to be female or male contrary to how they were born. The physical nature is effected dramatically considering someone could be born with a penis and vagina but do you honestly think that that the mental aspects of the personality are limited in the same ways you clearly are denying about gender?

        2. Paperchaser says:

          And yet:

          1. Human femal arousal and oestrus are both visually undetectable

          2. Human males are the only primates whose genitals are shaped so as to be on constant display, whether or not they are required at that moment, and their arousal is certainly attention-grabbing

          3. You’re on the internet signaling your sexual preferences to strangers by passing judgement on how one gender esteems itself and another should present itself without disgusting you, and your name is “Luke”

          1. luke says:

            my name IS luke. you’ve got me there. and no one said anything about male or female arousal. i was talking about the insecurity and need for attention that would cause an adult to paint their face up like a clown in a costume and try and pass it off as a life choice or expression of who they are, or that it’s somehow how they were born. I wasn’t born yesterday, and neither were any drag queens. it’s sad that they are a product of some kind of environment that would mess them up like that, but, although they seem to have fooled you, they’re not fooling me.

          2. Paperchaser says:

            You just keep trying to change those goalposts, “Luke”. Doesn’t come off as a cry for attention at all.

            BTW, what do you think the drag queens are trying to fool you into? If it was revealing your own gender-based insecurities online, they’ve succeeded.

          3. luke says:

            what these drag queens have obviously fooled you into, is… oh god, there really isn’t any point arguing with you is there? blind, ignorant “open-mindedness” is still blind and ignorant, and i can’t see there’d be any reasoning with someone who has managed to convince themselves that there’s beauty in something like this.

            and why do you keep putting my name in quotation marks. are you trying to imply i’m not actually “Luke”? that’s a pretty poor attempt at psyching me out or whatever it is you’re trying to do “paperchaser”. did you steal your name from a jay-z song or something?

          4. Paperchase says:

            The thing is, “Luke”, unlike you, I don’t wear my sexuality on my sleeve. So you really don’t know if I think these people are beautiful or not. Just a little bit more wild extrapolation on your part, exposing a little bit more of the extent to which you feel threatened by the decisions and lifestyle of people who have absolutely nothing to do with you.

            For someone who accuses women and drag queens of a degree of attention-seeking that’s unmanly and unseemly, you’re acting awfully unmanly and unseemly.

        3. JJES says:

          Who are you to say what kind of or how much, attention anyone “should” desire? I think you, as a man, “should know better” . . . apparently, women aren’t expected to “know better”.

          1. luke says:

            women don’t know better. apparently you’re completely oblivious to the fact that women (due to environmental, developmental and societal factors) tend to derive the majority of their self worth from the attention and adulation of others. I know you’ll call me sexist for saying that, but it’s true. I don’t mean it to be sexist, but it’s a fact, one that has been straight-up told to me by many women. the desire to feel like a celebrity, like you’re special, is something that is ok, even healthy, in young children. it’s something men grow out of, but women never do. and apparently these drag queens never did either.

          2. JJES says:

            Luke – I think your being an idiot trumps your sexism. Being told something by many people, whether men or women, doesn’t make it a fact .

          3. JJES says:

            Luke – Yes . . . I’ve met women. I am a woman (which you will probably take as the reason I don’t agree with you). I’ve also met men and, although this doesn’t make it a fact, the men and women I know wouldn’t agree with you.
            Also, you say I have an undue sense of superiority. Because I didn’t agree with you, you wrote: “you’re completely oblivious to the fact that women (due to environmental, developmental and societal factors) tend to derive the majority of their self worth from the attention and adulation of others.” . . . I’m the one with the undue sense of superiority?

        4. Moop says:

          I see what you’ve done there. It made you uncomfortable (so be it). Then you had to come up with a reason… you thought, “makeup is bad… oh no wait, women wear makeup… I don’t hate makeup on women… so if I’m not offended by that then it must be normal….but….only for women…ok great, I’m getting somewhere. Why do women wear makeup? Attention? Self esteem? Let’s put them together. Okay now that’s a woman thing and not a manly man thing and men should know more than women…obviously so… this…is…gross. Phew avoided questioning feeling uncomfortable by justifying my response rationally…like a real man should…”
          So congrats on that.

          1. Anna says:

            Luke probably thinks these ladies are super fabulous, and is insecure with his own sexuality and must trumpet his own preferences on the internet to reassure himself that he does not think these ladies are sexy and sassy. Well, sorry Luke.

            These ladies are fabulous. Keep rockin’ it.

            PS, I’m a girl, and I think you are totally full of shit.

        5. J says:

          Sometimes it’s not about attention, sometimes it’s about spreading the art of makeup and fashion.Also, wearing makeup isn’t always about art. Maybe the person wearing the makeup likes it, or it makes them feel good about themselves.

          It’s not always about what //you// want to see. They’re begging for attention? Well, you paid attention to them, so I guess it worked. Makeup and drag is not for you. Usually, it’s for the person themself.

          Also you’re an ignorant little prick.

        6. Karen says:

          Men don’t seek attention in all kinds of ways, just women? Every time you turn on the tv or jst walk down the street, or best yet, watch the boys/men at college functions of any kind… the preening, strutting around, way they dress, compete to see who can be the modt obnoxiously loud – but they don’t want attention. Right.

          All the sports demonstrations are men craving attention. We all (people with healthy egos) want attention, and is it so bad? It is not at all tied to gender. And BTW, there are not just two clearly definable genders or sexes. You’ve never heard of hermaphrodites? Transgender people? Crossdressers? There are so many different kinds of people, and they don’t need you to define them in your neat little boxes. Life is wondrously complicated.

    1. James says:

      Not only is it digusting, it’s also a perversion of God given identity and gender. Sametoyou! is either a troll or in need of the Gospel, or both.

      1. b says:

        There is no god. what is a real perversion is the amount of people out there killing in “god’s” name, robbing, raping, torturing and killing. does your so called god not condone those acts? but a little bit of make up is blasphemous… you religious nuts are what i’m really scared of.

      2. Corrie says:

        Just what I was thinking, James. God made men and he made women. He made us all different, but men were made to be men and women were made to women. But our society is so corrupt we think we can define what God inteaded. I pray God has mercy on our messed up country.

          1. LoveAngel says:

            Baby, Jesus doesn’t hate anyone. Not even you and your secret fantasies, whatever they are­. Jesus loves you too.

        1. cody says:

          Doing drag has nothing to do with wanting to be a woman, it is an art form, once you get that through your thick undeveloped skull maybe you will understand life a little bit more.

      3. Tracey says:

        It’s a perversion of God? Are you suggesting that God made make up? And wigs? And curling irons? And dresses?
        Did this God of yours actually create all of these things, or did mankind? These men haven’t done anything to challenge gender, EXCEPT to challenge the roles we have CREATED for gender. We have created gender roles. We have created the idea that women get dressed up pretty, grow their hair long and men do not. “God” created genitalia.

        1. Lewis says:

          Tracey, you have proven to have an impeccable understanding of the world of drags. These men do not put on make up, and wigs, and heels to look like women. Drag queens strictly transform themselves for the purpose of entertaining, challenging the notion of “gender roles” that society has forced down people’s throats (who know nothing but what they have been taught). Some men find comfort, confidence, and their “selves” through make up and accessories, just like some (a lot of) women choose to wear pants and shirts instead of skirts or dresses. Why is it that people are more tolerant towards women being “tomboyish” but the word “sissy” has such a negative connotation to it?
          P.S: also, don’t give me craps about how men should always “act” like or play the “roles” of men because it was the social norm (and law) in 16th century or so to ban women from singing on stage and instead have castrati (widely celebrated) playing the female roles. God (if he even existed) did not tell men and women how they should be; it’s society that makes people conform. And we all know how social perceptions change over time so get on with it too and stop living in the past!

          1. Luke says:

            oh yes. definitely. there’s no more poignant social commentary than men dressing up as whoreish women. every one of these drag queens who parade themselves around for attention and then, more often than not, end up going home with a japanese businessman, are not doing it because they crave the attention. they’re doing it as a form of altruistic nonviolent protest. geeeeennnnniiiiuuusssss

          2. JJES says:

            Luke – The fact that you’re a japanese businessman might explain why you know what japanese businessmen do, but all this really tells me is, you’re a japanese idiot who probably goes home with drag queens.

          3. luke says:

            jjes – i see you’ve changed the subject because you are unable to provide a convincing argument for your side.

          4. JJES says:

            Luke – I think the reason I didn’t come up with a convincing argument for my side is because I don’t think it matters “why” men dress up as drag queens or why some of them go home with japanese businessmen . . . who cares “why”? If it’s because they crave attention . . . so what? I, unlike you, think that people should be able to act/dress/wear makeup/go home with . . . who(whom?)ever and however they they want to, as long as they’re not hurting anyone by doing it. And being offended by what they do doesn’t count.

        2. Lewis says:

          And of course you know that 90% of my response are directed towards closed minded idiots on here and not thy wonderful self right? :)

  1. Patty says:

    I’m sure there’s a reason but I can’t understand why a bunch of attractive men would choose to look like a bunch of unattractive women.

        1. Sadie Awesome says:

          Women put on makeup to look unattractive?

          Nah, dude(tte) i’m just joshin’ with ya. That was a straight line I couldn’t resist. :D

    1. Areeba says:

      Exactly! Some of these guys are pretty good-looking, the women though? Not so much. Somebody give an explanation on why they do this……….

      1. Theron says:

        Ok, so people wonder why these men are turning themselves into “ugly” women, well honestly this is by far impressive. So help me out people, why do beautiful women put makeup on to make them look like clowns?

        1. Areeba says:

          look I think the make up part is pretty creative, and I dislike ANYONE who puts loads of makeup on. I guess the question would be
          Why do they transform themselves?
          Do they feel prettier?
          Do they feel more comfortable when they look like women?

          1. Paul says:

            It’s just for fun or for performance. There’s a major difference between a drag queen–which is a costume and an exaggerated portrayal of a woman–and a transgender person who is living life as a women. All the drag queens I know–and there’s a lot of them–just do it for fun.

    2. JFG says:

      I’m sure some do it because they want to entertain (just as many other entertainers put on make up, so does this type of entertainer). However, I’m sure some may feel more attractive that way. Opinions of attractiveness are more wide and varied than what society would have us believe. Some may do it just because it’s fun! (Ummm, hello, Powderpuff Football games in high schools and dressing up for Halloween.) I think the best way to get the answer to those questions is to actually ask a female impersonator.

    1. Mary says:

      ew, I hope not… putting aside stage makeup (which this is), makeup shouldn’t hide a woman’s natural beauty.

      1. Gabby says:

        come on, you can’t be telling me that women with giant circles under their eyes and uneven skin tones and zits covering their faces is more attractive to you then a woman with well applied makeup? Yes some women have natural beauty, but some don’t. Yes some women overdo their makeup and don’t know how to apply it correctly, but some do, and its not erasing their beauty, its enhancing it, and making them feel confident.

    2. SuzieQ1967 says:

      Though I’m already a girl, I tried going to Halloween as a drag queen (tried the Victor Victoria thing). I could NOT get my eyebrows covered up no matter how long or how hard I tried. I even used the Youtube tutorials and spent time practicing. Having tried to do this and seeing how difficult it is, I appreciate the artistic talent that it takes even more than I did before. I know I could learn a thing or two from these guys for sure!

  2. Duska says:

    This just makes me feel sadness. It is all ‘smoke and mirrors’….covering up a lot of discontentment and emptiness.

    1. b says:

      Sad? hardly. this is an expression of oneself unlike what women do to themselves, trying to look like plastic photoshopped models that don’t exist. that is what is really sad.

      1. Andy says:

        Wait, so when men put on makeup, it’s an expression of themselves, but when women put on makeup, it’s not?

        Cognitive dissonance.

    2. SuzieQ1967 says:

      Oh please. This is just plain FUN! The only discontentment and emptiness that these guys ever feel is probably from being judged by people who have no idea what they’re talking about. Someone acts differently than we expect them to be (based on our own gender conditioning) and all of a sudden everyone is a psychologist. I thnk that people who see discontentment and emptiness everywhere need to spend more time looking at their own hearts.

  3. medusa says:

    1,7, 11 don’t look at all ugly, as women or men, they are extremely handsome and beautiful. still have my doubs on 2 and 4 as women, as men they are gorgeus!!! especialy number 4 yuummm yuummmm yummmmyyy

  4. Tracey says:

    Absolutely beautiful, each and every one of them. I love anything that challenges our socially created gender roles. And by that, I mean the idea that women wear dresses & make up & grow their hair long and that men do not. To all of the people posting that this is gross or strange… should perhaps boggle at the notion of dresses and make up at all. Can you imagine if you saw a baboon or an elephant wearing makeup and a dress? It isn’t “natural”. The roles we have created for men and women, are not “natural”, and I LOVE anything, such as this, that attempts to blot out the lines between those man-imposed gender roles.

  5. Michelle says:

    It’s amazing what make-up can do, and I applaud them for having the patience to put that much on. I give up after putting on some eyeliner, lol.

  6. anon says:

    Wow, this comments section started off really grimly, but it’s getting better. This is beautiful juxtaposition. As far as drag goes, it’s all about amped up stereotypes and bitchy humor, it’s playing a character as a way to express themselves and entertain. They don’t want to be women, they’re not transgender. They like performing, and these are some seriously talented makeup artists, and a good photographer. I don’t know why people are so hung up on gender separation. I fit into my gender role, and don’t have a desire to play with it, but that doesn’t mean everyone else has to feel the same way. How boring would that be? And how stifling for people who are uncomfortable with the norm. I find drag very amusing and impressive when it’s done well. Whatever, people who think it’s gross should probably lighten up. It’s rough on a person, being so judgmental.

  7. Terra says:

    I think this has been asked already, but I’ll ask again:
    Why would a bunch of hot guys want to dress up like women like this? They don’t look particularly good as females, and they’re hotter than a lot of guys I know when they lose the makeup. They should just stay guys.
    Not that I have any problem with this kind of stuff, I just think it’s a little weird, and some of it defies logic.

    1. JJES says:

      “Why” they do this is really nobody else’s business. You say “Not that I have any problem with this kind of stuff”. That’s very open minded of you. That’ sounds to me like religious people who say that something is wrong (because they think some book says so), but it’s not up to them to judge, god will do that. Sounds pretty hypocritical and judging to me

  8. Cindy says:

    When I see these pictures, I see it as an art form. These men take HOURS in applying their hair and make up and they take a lot of pride in showing off their art. These men as women are more beautiful than some women I know and way hotter than most guys I know! Gay or straight, more power to them. I have no problem with their “drag queen” status and obviously neither do they. If they choose to live their lives like this and are okay with dealing with religious zealots who choose to use their “Christian” beliefs to JUDGE them, then so be it. That is their lot in life. They are hurting no one by putting on some make-up — after all some of us ladies do it every day.

  9. Joyce Hawkinson says:

    Women whose confidence comes from within don’t need to wear extreme makeup to feel beautiful. The other difference here is that these people with male bodies are wearing a costume — not dressing for every day.

    t’s confusing to me that they feel more attractive imitating the opposite gender, but when you think about what the women’s movement started out to do (take women to the same status as men), it’s not surprising. Maybe someday society will recognize that we are different as to our roles in life, but should be treated with equal respect.

  10. BReal says:

    Ok ok. I read everything and I want to say that there are gender roles in society. Women are ment to be beautiful and loving and men are suppose to be strong and smart. So think about this: men are visual creatures and women are known for paying attention to detail. So art in general if usually focused on the female body. This form of art can be interpreted in many ways: 1. It is a costume for entertaining, just like a clown or mime. 2. It is an outlet for expression: a. Express how they truly feel inside weather that be self confidence gaining or they actually feel like women. b. They are using time as a medium to over the top drammaticaly demonstrate how society sees women.
    Separate thoughts: the paradox of drag is that it is an over the top depiction of a woman that you know is a man. So when “she” speaks you listen. That comanding presence of a man is still there however brushed off as comically entertaining because it’s a clownish woman.
    Also if women were to dress as men as exaggerated as drag queens do women. What would be the result? Besides Arnold Schwarzenegger body builder (and we know women can not be that buff AND if they do become so there is negative talk of transformation through steroid use… but I digress) it is hard to picture isn’t it, because the image of man in art is usually not depicted or boring or drab.
    Also if this about giving such said individual self confidence or attention, why can men not crave such things. Women make it permanent with breast augmentation. Instead of drag should they have a p**** enlargement? What would that say then? They are too insecure? So maybe drag is an extension of their self security and security in their man hood.

  11. Raphaloujo says:

    Why do people need to dissect everything. There are various reasons why men dress up in drag. To sit around debating it only shows how truly interested in it we are. Usually when someone is truly disgusted, turned-off by, opposed to, or disproves something, they rarely give an opinion of the matter. Men who are truly straight, could care less about the lifestyles, habits and choices of the Gay community, because it is not a reflection on them. And straight, Beautiful women tend not to feel threatened by a man in drag. its ALWAYS the insecure who are hateful, overly opinionated, critical, judgmental, and ignorant in their commenting to cover up their own misery.

  12. Piper says:

    Isn’t drag just really art?

    It’s not gender.
    It’s not sex.
    It’s not orientation.
    It’s not sexual ambiguity or confusion.
    It’s not transsexuality or transgenderism.
    It’s not deviance or illness.
    It’s not much more than putting on a costume and performing.

    People should just appreciate it for what it is: art!

  13. Kevin says:

    Rupaul’s Drag race season 5 starts end of January on LOGO! Take a look at the trailers on YOUTUBE to get a quick general lesson in the different forms of D.R.A.G (derived from shakespeare as shorthand for DRessed As Girl.)
    Some amazing transformations and this series is fun entertainment T.V but when you delve a little deeper you get an amazing understanding of the art form! Check out famous Drag artist from the show such as Chad Michaels, Raven, Jujubee, Willam Belli, Shannel, Shangela, Sharon Needles and Nina Flowers. Too many to mention just take the time to watch what these guys do. Pretty amazing!!!!!

  14. Girl says:

    Luke, you’re an idiot and know not the true value or either woman nor man- each letter that you type offends and disgusts me. You need to put some elbow grease into your soul-searching before you try to sow any more self-righteous misery into the world.

  15. kimberly says:

    “sexual theatre” as an acting-out of intrapsychic sexual forces in a symbolic attempt to resolve an identity conflict

    Please visit NARTH to educate yourselves before making a sweeping statement that this is “art” when it is indeed much more.
    This site makes me sad anymore, just seems sold out

  16. Arya says:

    Okay this debate stuff is getting pretty ridiculous. So these guys want to dress up like women. Why do any of you give a crap? Seriously. It’s their life, not yours. Their decision, not yours. And even if you think it’s bizarre, or a perversion of your religious beliefs–THEY ARE NOT FORCING YOU TO DO THIS. They are doing it themselves, by their own choice, and the fact that people feel the need to complain about it is ridiculous. You have your opinions, they have theirs. Neither of you is wrong. Neither of you is right. Now shut up, and tell me–how the heck do you do makeup like that? Seriously, that takes some skill.

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  18. WillB says:

    Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, really can’t wait ’till you’re all gone.
    Religion, bit self righteous isn’t it……

  19. BrandyH says:

    I don’t understand the hate towards this art. If you have a problem why did you look? Do you search the Internet looking to find things that offend you and spread your hateful words? Take your insecure self and go hang with Westboro church and the rest of the ignorant fools. I for one love art and those that express it in such a beautiful way!

  20. Joseph Ryner says:

    @ Luke – To say their are only two genders, either man or woman, shows a gross ignorance of both the physiology and psychology of human sexuality and gender development. Because the hormonal environment in the womb responsible for development can vary so much, children are born at every point across the spectrum of human physiology (both mentally and physically) with the most rugged, manly men at one extreme to the most delicate feminine flower at the other, with everything you can imagine in between.

  21. Billy J. says:

    What pretty men. There’s no shame in dressing like a woman unless you think women are something to be ashamed of.
    Lovely guys :)
    Ps if you don’t like something, why look at it on the Internet? These articles are easily avoidable.

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