The Jungianism in RuPaul’s drag race

RuPaul’s Drag Race has been one of my favorite series (yes, I’m a bit late, I know…) It’s a rather hilarious way of showing how one can evolve in their individuation processes, in the finest Jungian tradition. Indeed, amidst so many colours and mannerisms, the implicit goal of the show is to lead each of the contenders to become who they actually are.

A drag queen is a character by definition. Comedy queens, pageant queens, postmodern queens. As much as in a Mexican soap opera, the characters are farfetched. Even more so when the race begins, as the competitors tend to highlight their traits: no one wants to go unnoticed. However, what the show gradually reveals is that all this exaggeration is but a magnifying glass on each and every personality behind the ornamentation.

For whoever attains their individuation, being America’s next drag superstar is but a detail.

Personalities need to evolve. Relying on a few punch lines or on the same grimaces ends up being boring. And the judges will never allow that a drag queen’s repeating looks go unread.

On the other hand, it also becomes clear that trying out something different just for the sake of doing it doesn’t work either. The queens need to be comfortable in their versatility (excuse the pun). Therefore, only those who succeed in adding their identity to every variation will thrive. It’s something like “get out of your comfort zone, but stay comfortable”. Better yet: “broaden your comfort zone”. How? By being true to yourself.

Every time a candidate does well in a challenge, the judges recommend taking that nice performance to the next stages. What configures a good performance? The spontaneity, Nietzsche’s grand style, the pleasure with being oneself. How do they get it? By accepting who they are, making peace with their limitations (in other words, discharging who they are not).

Simple in theory, a lifetime task in practice: only one queen makes it to the end. For whoever attains their individuation, being America’s next drag superstar is but a detail.

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