I chose to look up phantasmal because Butler uses the word frequently throughout her chapter. The OED defines phantasmal as:
"Of the nature of a phantasm; spectral, ghostly; having no material existence, unreal, imaginary."
The idea that something is phantasmal parallels the idea of a drag queen. A drag queen is a man pretending to be a woman, because he imagines he feels a close connection to wearing woman's clothing and a close connection to being a woman. What I find interesting is that in the defintion of phantasmal, it is defined as "having no material existence." Much of what is perceived about a drag queen is that they focus a lot on the material. Their image as a woman depends on relying on the material things, like dresses, jewelry, and wigs. Though some men can actually look exactly like a woman, where someone walking by them would never know the woman was a man, the woman is still a representation of what a woman is. The man has to exaggerate feminine qualities to make himself appear more real as a woman.
2 years ago