Talk:Drag (clothing)

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Comment 1[edit]

This page was created both because "drag" needed an article and as an attempt to clarify, improve and make more inclusive the articles on drag queens and drag kings. I have not redirected either of those articles yet, but that's what I hope to do. Please leave your comments below. Exploding Boy 08:55, Apr 12, 2004 (UTC)

The Drag article itself isn't bad. There is no need to throw in Drag King and Drag Queen, though. -- AlexR 19:15, 12 Apr 2004 (UTC)

This page is really where we should have been having this discussion about the drag article, but we're obviously never going to agree on this topic. I still disagree with some of your definitions and I think this article is better than three small and incomplete ones, but I'm going to remove some of what you object to from here. Exploding Boy 22:20, Apr 12, 2004 (UTC)
Too late. I see you unilaterally made that decision already. Exploding Boy 22:22, Apr 12, 2004 (UTC)

What is the origin of the word Drag? Did it derive by combing fag with some other word?

See article. But, alas, see also the statement in the aricle "Another theory (or usage) is that "drag" would be an abbreviation of "dressed as girl" in description of male-to-female transvestism, sometimes used together with the opposite "drab" for "dressed as boy"...", or "drat!" for "dressed as turkey?" Wetman 01:45, 17 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Could the origins of the term lie in Polari? I know the article says it's from the 1950s and 60s, but if you look at the talk page that's disputed, and the origins for some Polari words like drag can be traced back much farther.
"The term "drag" may have been given a wider circulation in Polari, a gay street argot in England in the early part of the last century."
If the origin is from Polari, then I would guess that it's a backwards spelling of "gard", being short for the French "garde-robe" (meaning warddrobe), since both backslang and borrowings from French/Italian/Romani are common in Polari, especially for theatre terms. I have no evidence of this, though. Scientivore 02:02, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
The current version of the derivation, dating from some unsigned edits on 8 May 2010, says that "the term may have originated in Athens, Greece in the fourth century BCE, when it was common practice for gender-nonconforming people to be dragged through the streets as punishment." How can this possibly be true, and why has it remained virtually unedited for so long? What Greek word would it be derived from? Or does the person who inserted this think they spoke modern English in Ancient Greece? "Drag" meaning to pull or be pulled along with force, derives from Old English dragan = draw (pull) related to Swedish dragga (Collins English Dictionary, Millennium Edition). The so-called "folk etymology" is far more credible than this "Ancient Greek" nonsense! The original edit also deleted some factual material about travesti/travesty. SiGarb | (Talk) 13:10, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

Remove LGBT Table.[edit]

Wearing drag is not only a LGBT thing,it implies that people who wear drag are gay or bi,when many drag wearers are not. Dudtz 6/10/06 6:27 PM EST

Nonsense - how does the table imply that? It just implies that it is also an article relevant to LGBT subject, not that it is only relevant in an LGBT context. -- John Smythe 13:42, 11 June 2006 (UTC)

it does imply that

the articles for "male" and "female" are relevant to LGBT, clearly, and yet no table there. the table in this article is indicating a deep relationship between LGBT and drag, which doesn't exist. As many people *coughhomophobescough* make the connection mistakenly, the table should be removed for clarification. LGBT is specifically about sexual orientation, which has no connection to drag whatsoever. Makuta Bookworm 17:04, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

Id like to take issue with a number of descriptions and statements in this article. However, the main objection I have is the use of the word 'straight' to describe those going to see the Rocky Horror show 'mostly straight men'... this term 'striaght' I feel is insulting and derrogatory because the opposite of straight is bent, meaning malformed, dysfunctional, deviant, wrongful. Please stop using this word 'straight' to describe hetero men (or women) or issues. They are simply 'hetero'. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:04, 14 October 2007 (UTC)

I disagree. "Straight" is too well entrenched in English to be considered derogatory (even when it isn't intended that way), and besides, it's more meaningful than "hetero" (which is only a prefix: "-sexual" is implied); it means "not unusual" in a broad sense. A heterosexual cross-dresser might consider non-cross-dressers "straight", but when referring to people unlike him wouldn't refer to them as "heterosexuals". Unfree (talk) 20:26, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

To do drag[edit]

The article says, "The verb is to 'do drag.'" But there's no evidence cited. I've never heard "to do drag", but I've often heard "to go in drag".

Also, "A folk etymology whose acronym basis reveals the late 20th-century bias..." Which bias?

"Drag is practiced by people of all sexual orientations and gender identities." Is that verifiable? What about homophobia? There must be somebody who doesn't "do drag"! Unfree (talk) 20:00, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

I completely agree; a lot of this article isn't written very well. To "do drag" is not a verb I've heard, but I've heard "dressed in drag" and referring to someone/some people "[being/is/are] in drag." Your third comment about dressing in drag being practiced by all sexual orientations is a little off; I've heard it said that the majority of men who dress in drag are, in fact, heterosexual. But, I agree that it should be cited. » ɧʒЖχ (ταικκоŋτяљ) 12:42, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

The expression 'to drag up' is certainly common in the United Kingdom, however if someone said they were going to 'do drag' I would be in no doubt as to what they meant Whitenoiseuk (talk) 12:53, 18 July 2010 (UTC)

Social History of the Theater[edit]

I was reading the section on Drag in the performing arts and it says "One is cross-dressing in the performance, which is part of the social history of theatre." I would like to point out that dressing in as a gender not one's own has been a part of the practice of the theater as far back as the middle ages, and perhaps even further. I think it should be noted in the article. » ɧʒЖχ (ταικκоŋτяљ) 12:47, 1 July 2010 (UTC)


“The term originated in Athens, Greece in the fourth century B.C.E. when it was common practice for gender-noncomforming people to be dragged through the streets as punishment”

This sounds very dubious to me, especially since the basic verb 'to drag' is from Old English origins, not Greek. It is a pity the contributor has not cited a page reference for Professor Don Kulick’s book Travesti which appears to focus on transvestitism among Brazilian prostitutes.

The Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper suggests that

[Drag in the] sense of "women's clothing worn by a man" is said to be 1870 theatre slang, from the sensation of long skirts trailing on the floor (another guess is Yiddish trogn "to wear," from Ger. tragen)

Any thoughts? Whitenoiseuk (talk) 12:54, 18 July 2010 (UTC)

I share Whitenoiseuk's concern. A great deal of time would have gone by between Ancient Athens and the modern usage causing me to question whether that usage could have continued that long. Beyond that, as Whitenoiseuk notes, the term would have had to somehow been translated from Ancient Greek to English. So the usage wouldn't have just persisted for a long time. It would have had to make enough sense for people to translate it into another language. I'm not saying it cannot be true but that it seems likely that there would have had to at least been other factors that caused the term "drag" to make sense to English speaking people. I like the Online Etymology Dictionary explanation Whitenoiseuk offers. It makes more sense in terms of date and language of origin. My personal suspicion is that it may not have simply been long skirts or simply used in connection with cross-dressing. I've always suspected that, at some point, any costume was referred to as one's "drag". But that is just my suspicion. That would relate, however, to the speculation Whitenoiseuk has offered about Yiddish or German and the fact that "drag" is not always used in reference to cross-dressing.. OdilonRedon (talk) 20:47, 1 October 2010 (UTC)OdilonRedon

I checked the Oxford English Dictionary. All they have with regard to the term as used in the context of cross-dressing was an 1870 reference to someone saying "We shall come in drag" or something similar. (I talked to a reference librarian on the phone which is why I don't have the exact quote.) This is simply the earliest use of the term in that context that the OED has on record. The OED did not offer any annotations that the librarian could find with regard to how the usage developed. I did ask about that specifically. A second librarian was also checking the reference. OdilonRedon (talk) 22:18, 1 October 2010 (UTC)OdilonRedon

I have always understood the term to originate from Victorian cross dressers wearing the long skirts of the period in London. The rather exaggerated length dragged on the ground as they walked about. Unfortunately I don't have a reference for this. --Ef80 (talk) 13:52, 9 November 2010 (UTC)

The folk etymology is supposed to be: "dressed resembling a girl"; I have no reference for this. The article on Polari gives the origin as a Hindi word, entering English through Romany. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:12, 27 December 2013 (UTC)


The theatre section really could do with a bit about pantomime dames. I don't know enough myself about the history of pantomime to write this, but someone surely does. TRiG (talk) 16:41, 30 November 2011 (UTC)