Wednesday, February 10, 2016

RuPaul: The Image

I chose to do my presentation on the illustrious, colorful, and ever-gorgeous RuPaul Andre Charles. My presentation focused on the breakdown stages of symbols, signs, and simulacra that Baudrillard discusses on page eleven.  Here it goes:

“ This would be the successive phases of the image:
            - it is the reflection of a basic reality
            - it masks and perverts a basic reality
            - it masks the absence of a basic reality

            - it bears no relation to any reality whatever: it is its own pure simulacrum”

I had a really difficult time understanding this text until I found a breakdown of this breakdown on the wonderful internet.  I'll do a little bit of an explanation stage by stage with the corresponding "version" of Ru.

[Basic Reality Ruflection]

"The first stage is a faithful image/copy, where we believe, and it may even be correct, that a sign is a "reflection of a profound reality" (pg 6), this is a good appearance."

This is RuPaul at his organic, natural state.  The Ru that was born in San Diego, grew up in Atlanta, made the move to NYC during his early adult years, and that is now living in California with a farmer/cowboy husband in Wyoming.  This is the Ru that people admire, love, look up to, and receive guidance from.  

Some "Ru names" I have for this stage are: Mother Ru, Spiritual Guru Ru, Enlightened Ru, and quite simply, Ru.

[Rebel Punk Genderfuck Ru]

"The second stage is perversion of reality, this is where we come to believe the sign to be an unfaithful copy."

This is the wild, carefree, genderfuck adolescent, early adult Ru that thrived in the clubs of NYC in the late 80s, early 90s.  This Ru was a perverted, dirty, rebel version of the queen that we know today.  Many of Ru's fans have absolutely no idea that Ru was a genderfuck punk androgynous queen that would walk the streets of NYC with a dreadlock ponytail, shaved sides, wearing football gear with plastic bags as his shoes.

Some Ru names are: Drag Queen Ru, Rebel Ru, Punk Ru, 

[Supermodel Ru]

"The third stage masks the absence of a profound reality, where the sign pretends to be a faithful copy, but it is a copy with no original. Signs and images claim to represent something real, but no representation is taking place and arbitrary images are merely suggested as things which they have no relationship to."

Oh RuPaul, how I love you in your supermodel stage!  This is the Ru that really took gay and straight America by storm.  Music videos, songs, tv appearances, even her own television show!! Ru ate the spotlight and really amped up her presence during this time period.  1990s in NYC to be specific. Ru finally created her ultimate drag persona, the glamazon that we know today as RuPaul, the world's FIRST drag superstar.

Some Ru names: Pop Culture Ru, Diva Ru, Supermodel Ru, Queen Ru, Singer Ru, Performer Ru, Entertainer Ru

[Supreme Mother Ru]

"The fourth stage is pure simulation, in which the simulacrum has no relationship to any reality whatsoever. Here, signs merely reflect other signs and any claim to reality on the part of images or signs is only of the order of other such claims. Cultural products need no longer even pretend to be real in a naïve sense, because the experiences of consumers' lives are so predominantly artificial that even claims to reality are expected to be phrased in artificial, "hyperreal" terms. Any naïve pretension to reality as such is perceived as bereft of critical self-awareness, and thus as over sentimental."

This is the most current version of RuPaul, the Supreme Mother and Queen RuPaul.  The ever-giving, ever-talented, ever-gorgeous Ru that runs the fucking show.  She is all-knowing, all-seeing, and all-being Ru.  She bears no resemblance to that of her natural organic state, yet they are still one and the same.  She has finally achieved her hyperreal persona of the Goddess that millions of Americans pant and drool for as she glides down the runway in her custom made wigs, custom made gowns, and custom painted faces. She is immaculate.  She is beauty.  She is grace. She is Miss Drag Superstar of the fucking United States. And the goddamn galaxy, baby.

Names you may regard her as: Mother Ru, Supreme Ru, Enlightened Ru, Commercial Ru


  1. I learned so much about Mother Ru from this presentation... before this, I was only familiar with her in the context of Ru Paul's Drag Race. How well known are these different phases? I really like Rebel Punk Genderfuck Ru. She owns her deviance! It seems like all of the phases are important steps for her current Supreme stage.

  2. Love Love Love! Learning so much more about the drag community and Mother ru in particular. I love the supreme mother ru, she looks like the goddess we all imagine.


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