Drag kings in Cape Town: space and the performance of gendered subjectivities
The last few decades have seen the development of a large body of scholarly work on drag queens and performances of femininity by men (see Barrett 1995, 1999). However, performances of masculinity by women have largely been overlooked. Research by scholars like Judith Halberstam (see Halberstam 1997, 1998) on female masculinity and the drag king performer has attempted to address this imbalance, but the phenomenon has yet to receive any attention from sociolinguists. This study aims to bring attention to performances of masculinity by women in the South African context through a multi-sited ethnography of the country’s first known drag king troupe, Bros B4 Ho's. The study will examine not only the group's stage performances, but also their activity on the online social networking platform of Facebook, using multimodal critical discourse analysis. The internet has revolutionised the way we communicate and share information, and has provided interesting new arenas for individuals to explore identity performance. In extending the investigation to include the group's online activity, the study will give a more complete picture of the negotiation of drag king subjectivities across different spaces.