Self Expression

When “Self Expression” Does More Harm Than Good

Self is one of the biggest sellers of the marketplace today. There is “Do-it-yourself,” “Self Care,” and “Self expression.” The last two are favorites to slap onto arguments. “You can’t criticize me or what I do because I’m self-expressing,” or ” This is for my self-care, you’re just judgemental.”

Emotions do not care about facts, statistics, or the actual good. They care about the here and now and what feels right at the moment. This would explain Denver’s new art program for tweens and teens.

Drag: The Self Expression Show

Stanley Marketplace in Denver, Colorado is known for giving classes in the arts, theater, and fashion for people of all ages. Recently, they have opened their doors to a Drag Queen class for tweens and teens.

The instructor is Charles Fleming, also known as Diamond Starr, a professional Drag queen in the Denver area. In his interview with the Denverite, he explained how he got into drag and the history of how to become a drag queen.

“Drag has always been passed down. Word of mouth kind of thing,” Fleming said.

You pick up the knowledge over time from people who came before you and from just trying on different wigs, Fleming said, but it can take a while for all of the skills involved — hair, makeup, costume, performance — to click.

Fleming met their drag mom that same year and found a community to support them and teach them the ways of drag.

“It’s so important to have people who support and accept you and just love you for you,” Fleming said. “There’s a lot of people who would fear things and just not do things because of the fear. So it’s very important to have that support of a family.”

The Real Problem

While most can empathize with Flemings sentiments of having people in our lives that love us as who we are, the main concern is do we know who we are as a young tween or teen?

This is a formative age where curiosity doesn’t necessarily mean identity. If the class was for adults who chose to live their lives that way, then there would be no concern over the class and its curriculum, but no it is geared for children.

While the argument is that Drag is for self-expression, it is also a sexualized and sexual lifestyle. You’re teaching children how to think about their genitals, and in most cases hide them for the sake of fashion and a show.

Fleming himself admits he did not get into Drag until he was 18; An age where most are considered adults and capable of making their own decisions. What are we teaching children about their bodies and emotions if we say they have to play with make-up or pretend to be the opposite sex, something they are not, to be “self-expressive?”

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