Hello and welcome to the Design Life Blog! It's been a minute since I last posted and I guess it was because Hanco and I have been focused on video content in the last couple of weeks. I decided to write this blog, however, as an extension of the Design Life video that was posted today.
My videos are very conversational and therefore tend to get quite long! I realize that some people prefer to read a summarized text, rather than listen to me chat for X amount of time. This blog is for those who are interested in the topics that stemmed from my video, but would prefer to read about them.
A Little Background
Hanco and I posted a video to our main channel in which I gave him a drag makeover. We decided to record and post this video for the following reasons:
1. There was a challenge going around on YouTube in which many female YouTubers did a makeup look for their respective boyfriends. We thought their videos were hilarious and wanted to try it out too.
2. Many of our viewers had asked us to do this challenge.
3. We wanted to poke fun at stereotypical gender roles, which we believe is nothing but a social construct.
You see, there is so much hate crime going on in the world. Boys are being bullied, physically and emotionally, for wanting to wear a piece of material that is not cut and put together in a way that is "normal" to some parts of society. But it's fine for Scottish boys to wear kilts, right? In some parts of the world, girls are raised to believe that their only purpose is to bear children for her husband. This belief used to be apparent in many more parts of the world, but beliefs have changed and now women find themselves in high-ranking, high-paying positions, too. Still, it isn't the norm (yet).
Transgender people are being murdered for wanting to change a part of their body that makes them feel uncomfortable, and yet a trophy wife gets to alter more than just one part of her body, without anyone questioning her validity as a human being. Breast implants, a nose job, botox, a forehead lift, liposuction, laser hair removal, permanent makeup, brachioplasty and the list goes on! Believe me, I have no prejudice against any woman who chooses to get plastic surgery as much as she wants! I am merely trying to point out the double standards that some people have. Sure, they can argue that women who do all those things are bot changing their gender, but what is gender really other than a social construct? Who decided the sky was to be called blue? Who decided that cows were allowed to be eaten but not dogs? Who decided that you can surgically change your entire body as long as you still conform to the gender you were born into?
These occurrences, in our eyes, are absolutely ridiculous and there are so many "grey areas". In most cases, people don't even realise that they have drastic double standards when it comes to what people are allowed to and not allowed to do. And we're wondering, who on earth has the right to cast judgement onto another person and dictate who they are allowed to love, what they are allowed to wear and which gender they identify with. If it doesn't affect *you*, be quiet and go about your own life.
Saying that another person can't wear something that YOU are uncomfortable with, is like saying nobody is allowed to eat donuts, because YOU are on a diet. Really, queen?
People have used art, in the form of movies, series, paintings, blogs, books, dance and so much more, to question society's standards, rules and beliefs. It's very dangerous to accept, blindly, the rules and especially the beliefs of others, without judging for yourself whether it serves everyone equally, or only a specific group of people. This is (partly) why we love making videos reacting to drag and also why we didn't just make a makeover video, but a DRAG makeover video, because it raises awareness for something so inspiring and promotes it. The more people who do so, the more it will become part of everyone's norm.
Drag Queens push boundaries and break stereotypes. They inspire body positivity and rising above the odds. Just as any culture took root and developed over time, Drag is a culture that has a beautiful, yet raw, history (you can watch Paris is Burning on Netflix to gain some understanding thereof). It's about expressing yourself, getting in touch with yourself and embarking on a journey to become more of who you were born to be! As opposed to how society tries to mould us into what it would like us to be.
"If you wanna join the revolution
Innovate, that's my solution
Wear a crown, fuck with gender
Bend the rules, don't surrender
A thinking queen speaks to the heart
She's stranger than fiction, better than art."
- Sasha Velour, Category Is
Just because someone is in a position of power, chooses to make rules and manipulate people into thinking those rules are "righteous" (e.g. Hitler), does not mean that their beliefs or way of doing things are right. Asking questions is important, not because we want to "rebel" for the sake of rebelling, but because things should not be accepted as "right" or "wrong", even if the majority of people believe it! At one point, most people believed the earth was flat. Anyone who believed differently was thought to be crazy. And yet, what do we believe about the earth today?
So when Hanco was scolded for doing the drag makeover video with me, since he was wearing makeup in the video, I immediately felt angry. Not (specifically) at those who looked down on him for "dishonouring his family name" and for "doing something gay", rather I felt angry at that ridiculous mentality.
First of all, Hanco and most guys in school have cross-dressed before as initiation (obviously meant to make them feel silly, but also because it's what builds a team, because doing it together is fun and builds character). So why was doing a makeup challenge any different?
I asked the person who confronted Hanco and his response was to try to tear down my confidence by calling me a dumbass, and justifying their reason for cross-dressing. Isn't that convenient? He is allowed to justify his way out of why it is "wrong" to cross-dress, but he would not accept our justification for doing a makeup challenge.
I could go on and on about how the rest of this conversation went, but let's just leave it at that.
Secondly, as far as "disgracing a family name" goes, let's dissect that claim a little more. Hanco and I are Afrikaans and we are white-skinned. The legacy our South-African forefathers left for us (that we apparently are expected to be proud of and live up to) is a legacy that essentially believe women belong in the kitchen and oh, they implemented a little something called Apartheid. Didn't our forefathers disgrace themselves by implementing such a ridiculous ideology?
Apartheid made laws that forced different racial groups to live separately and develop separately, and unequally. It tried to stop all inter-marriage and social integration between racial groups. More than this, apartheid was a social system which severely disadvantaged the majority of the population, simply because they did not share the skin colour of the rulers. Many were kept just above destitution because they were 'non-white'.
Does that sound familiar? Prejudice against a group of people based on their race, their gender, their gender identity or their sexuality is wrong. If you believe otherwise, please feel free to comment and I would like to hear your explanation. However, take into account that you cannot base your argument on religion, as religion is not factual - there are more than 2000 different Gods that people believe in. So you can't claim your "rightness" based on what your holy book says.
Of course, I didn't write this blog post to claim that I am free of all mistakes. I myself am learning and growing, which is why I create videos and write - to open discussion, learn from others and grow together. Truthfully, laws are arbitrary.
We come to a consensus on them to create order and progress as a community. With the rise of the internet, we are not seperate communities anymore and cannot remain ignorant of the fact that in other countries there are laws different than ours. Who is right? Who is wrong? Is there really an ultimate right and wrong at all, or just what works best at that time and that place?
I want to leave you with the following quote and I hope that you grasp its meaning within this narrative.
"ADAPT or perish, now as ever, is nature's inexorable imperative."
- H G Wells