Oh honey

Former Olympic athlete slams drag shows and compares them to blackface

A former Olympic athlete has sparked debate on social media with a tweet she posted Saturday in which she spoke out against drag.

Sharron Davies, who competed for Great Britain in the 1976 and 1980 Olympics (where she took a silver medal), has in recent years become an outspoken critic of allowing trans women to compete in female sports. Over the weekend, she broadened her criticism to also include drag queens.

“Am I the only person fed up of drag shows? A parody of what a real woman is, like black face. Woman are juggling kids, rushing out a wholesome dinner, doing the laundry & cleaning, holding down a job all with period pains & leaky boobs if breast feeding. Enough of the stereotypes.”

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The tweet has had over 12.5k likes and prompted 7k comments. Some of her followers have agreed with her. However, many others have criticized her comparison to blackface, and her own – some would argue stereotypical – definition of womanhood.

Among the high-profile names to speak out against the tweet were RuPaul’s Drag Race’s Michelle Visage.

“OR…you can see it for what drag actually IS, which is a celebration and homage of all things feminine, giving power to those who need it!” said Visage. “Strong women aren’t threatened by drag queens, but rather empowered by their chutzpah. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!”

Sharron Davies
Sharron Davies (Photo: Twitter)

Several DragRace queens were also quick to comment.

“STOP ALL DRAG SHOWS!! ⁦‪@sharrond62‬⁩ is fed up and is suffering from Drag Fatigue!” chipped in Vinegar Strokes. “My love, have you never thought that a majority of Drag Queens are celebrating woman and the fantastic achievements woman have made to shape the world. YOU do nothing but shape a stereotype! TRASH!”

High-profile breakfast TV host Lorraine Kelly was also having none of it.

“Oh Sharon. You can’t underestimate the power of drag and how it empowers people who often feel like outsiders – they can find their family, grow in confidence, learn to love themselves and be who they really are. It can literally save lives. And it’s such a lot of FUN!”

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Neither was singer and broadcaster, Myleene Klass.

Others said they weren’t fans of drag, but comparing it to blackface was wrong.

“Drag is really not OK, it ridicules women, no doubt,” agreed Andreia Nobre. “But blackface led to direct violence against black ppl. Many black women have now explained that we could question drag without comparing with blackface bc they feel it diminishes the fight against racism.”

Davies, 57, – who was previously married to black athlete Derek Redmond – did not accept the criticism.

“With mixed race kids & loads of wonderful friends from all over the world don’t think I can be accused of racism,” she said. “I’m not reducing anyone else’s struggle just saying promoting ridiculous stereotypes is dangerous, as is racism.”

Others just ridiculed her specific view of womanhood.