Last week, Mary Cheney, the lesbian and married daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, took to Facebook and asked what the difference between drag and blackface was:
“Why is it socially acceptable — as a form of entertainment — for men to put on dresses, make up and high heels and act out every offensive stereotype of women (bitchy, catty, dumb, slutty, etc.) — but it is not socially acceptable — as a form of entertainment — for a white person to put on blackface and act out offensive stereotypes of African Americans?”
Cheney’s made some interesting points – drag and blackface are both exaggerated stereotypes reinforcing a number of negative images associated with either gender or race – and she’s not alone in the fight against drag performer’s representation of women, but making the comparison to blackface might be a bit of a jump.
To help break this down, Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights (and a number of other production and writer circles) made this pretty solid and informative video.