Toronto Metropolitan University
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Criticisms of Normalized Marketing Strategies: An In-Depth Analysis of Inherent Racism and Gender Conformity in the World of RuPaul’s Drag Race

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posted on 2022-10-21, 13:40 authored by Jeremy Houston
This paper showcases how inherent racism and gender conformity are enforced by the RuPaul’s Drag Race franchise via promotional material, episode content, types of queens featured and judges’ commentary between the first and ninth season of the television series. The research aims to understand how the shift from a once LGBTQ+ specific market to a mainstream audience has further perpetuated the idealized forms of beauty and femininity. The content analysis of the first and ninth season showcases how RPDR is seeking to fit a pre-constructed stereotype created by the ‘imagined’ heteronormative/cisgender audience since becoming mainstream. Viewers are comfortable with consuming content that exists in their current environment or in which they can relate to, which makes it difficult to celebrate queens that deviate from heteronormativity at the franchise level. With the shift from Logo TV to VH1, LGBTQ+ focused companies are losing opportunities for sponsorship and marketing directly to their intended niche audience. Overall, the television series is supposed to be put in place to celebrate LGBTQ+ culture and to be a progressive step in which minorities are being showcased in mainstream media, but they are not being conveyed in an accurate or justified manner. Queens such as Shea Couleé, Peppermint and Valentina are essentially robbed of their chance to win RPDR due to their race, and in Peppermint’s case specifically, her transness.





  • Master of Professional Communication


  • Professional Communication

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type

  • MRP

Thesis Advisor

Marty Fink