Is RuPaul infallible? You would assume so given her deity status on RuPaul’s Drag Race—but the queen is apparently not. The proving point comes by way of this photo, which been yucking it up all over my Tumblr. It features the prominently whored out Ru dolls from Season 7 in-the-make delightfully juxtaposed with WordArt© blasting “YOU BETTER WORK.” Ouch.
So where did this come from? The image can be directed back to an Imgur series that shows behind the scenes details of making the queen’s figurines. The comments I’ve seen on Tumblr have been pretty severe, from ouches to burns to obvious class complaints that these dolls are made out by using and abusing people hoping to get ahead. Is there a better metaphor for reality television than this? Probably not.
The post was shared on the RuPaul Reddit thread roughly two weeks ago. Each of the dolls are hand painted and, while they do cost two hundred dollars, that is fucking insane. The commentary on the subject is like a master class in reading, the ultimate library: one person meme’s it up by starting “COME ON CHEAP CHINESE LABOR!!” and ending with “LET’S GET SICKNIIIIING(LY UNDERPAID!)”; a very powerful, minimalist commenter posted “Queer capitalism”; someone else points wisely “Well at least they aren’t being made by children”; and the best line goest to, “No mam No pam No ham No jam No jelly No peans No peanut butter No cauliflower No nina flowers No other kind of flowers Just NO ! What the hell ? Does RU think his fans are millionairs or something ? A 200 $ for a mini statue and 7 $ for a piece of chocolate ? WTF !”
Yet, the conditions don’t seem that bad in terms of their production. As someone else tries to convert the cause, “It’s not as if that’s anything close to a sweat shop. There’s bottles of tea all over the table, there’s no kids there, there’s no lines of starving workers. They all seem to be dressed rather nice.” That’s true. Yet, something seems so wrong. Figures made for a reality show—one that pushes the creator’s music on you—has involved a group of people who probably have never heard of said show (Or care! Or can even be gay!) seems like the rich taking a shit on shit to form gold for the rich to wear. The show doesn’t seem to be in that great of a position (This season has been floundering, as every fan and critic has voiced…but it’s coming back for another season!) and hoisting an expensive ass not-cool doll onto fans made from a worse place the chocolates came from seems like the definition of thirsty.
Is this the official moment when Ru’s creativity is eclipsed by megalomania that even Tyra cannot compete with? When your spoof of reality becomes so desperate that it becomes your reality, is the act still funny? Is there anything bigger than candy and expensive dolls to capture the attention of eyes looking elsewhere? We’ll see. For now, you better work (in that sweatshop).