Last month was intense. At the end of the month I had both my final project for the last class I’ll ever need to take and the first draft of my book chapter. I wasn’t sure either would get done on time, but I managed to get them both done. It was taking up my brain way too much.
So I’ve been spending these last few days relaxing, decompressing, and working on getting the class I’m going to be teaching starting next week ready to go. But, the biggest thing I’ve been doing is going down an Adam-Lambert-sized rabbit hole on YouTube.
I have been a fan of Queen since I was in high school – the mid-nineties. My way in was Highlander: The Series. Because it is based off of the movie that they provided the soundtrack for, “Princes of the Universe” is the theme song. I was dating a guy who had a couple of Queen CDs that we’d throw in when we were in the car after I found “Princes” on one of the albums. When I got to college, it was the early and freeing days of file sharing, and I compiled every album they put out. I became as obsessed as I could just off of their music.
Since then, I’ve watched every documentary, every music video, multiple concerts, and become a complete Queen fan. I got pissed off when they toured with Paul Rodgers because it just didn’t feel right to me. So back in the early 2000’s when they started touring with Adam Lambert, I wasn’t interested. Not only was he not Freddie, he was on American Idol. Ugh.
At some point, I can’t remember if it was when it aired or I found it on YouTube, but I saw Adam and Queen on The Late Late Show with James Corden. That changed my mind. I understood why he was the current front man.
This past week, the documentary The Show Must Go On: The Queen +Adam Lambert Story started streaming on Netflix. I went, “Queen documentary!” and watch it. And I watched it again. And again. And again. They do a wonderful job of talking about both Queen and Adam and their work together. It inspired me to go onto YouTube to find them in concert.
I found “Queen + Adam Lambert – Live in Japan.” I think it’s one from a couple of years ago, but it’s awesome! It got me wanting to find more of them, both concerts and interviews, and then I got into Adam on his own. His music, his videos, his interviews. I have watched him perform on Idol! I never thought I’d look up American Idol clips. I probably won’t ever again. But he has me hooked.
Watching him be so open and freely himself got me thinking about myself. There have been times where I think about trying to do some makeup work but then I recoil from that thought because it might make me look feminine. But looking at the beautiful work that Adam does got me really thinking about that statement.
Yes, wearing makeup is one of the big parts of how society has constructed femininity. But makeup is not all that defines femininity. I can wear my camo pants, a tank top, with my haircut and have a completely glam face without being feminine. In fact, it adds to the “fuck you” that I love to give to gender constructs in our society. It’s why I never thought twice about cosplaying a male character as a male. I really hate – a strong word for my strong feelings – the ways that gender is defined in our society. Why can’t men wear makeup? Why can’t women have short hair? That realization has made me feel more free to have fun and take my genderfuck attitude further.
So, thank you, Adam Lambert (if you ever read this, which is probably not going to happen) for helping me realize that I can wear full-on glam makeup without being seen as feminine. I can wear makeup in a way that makes me more myself.