Any ranking is bound to touch a nerve, but Vulture’s new ranking of “The Most Powerful Drag Queens in America,” which also appeared in New York Magazine, seems especially shady. Online, backlash to the ranking has been swift and fierce, with RuPaul’s Drag Race queens — including many on the list — reading the editors for filth.
For starters, many of the drag queen bios contained inaccuracies, with Vulture later adding a footnote attributing the “incorrect” bio blurbs to a “production issue.”
Alaska on Season 6? Fame on Season 2? Aja on All Stars 4? Laqueer on Season 10?
Did anyone fact check this? pic.twitter.com/PZF4OCJBsB
— ?van Ross Katz (@evanrosskatz) June 10, 2019
Even more egregious, perhaps, is that the ranking categorizes any queens who didn’t make the “Top 20” into four progressively shady “power peer groups”: The Tops, The Upper Tier, The Mid-Tier, and The Bottoms. That irritated All Stars 2 queen Phi Phi O’Hara — who, incidentally, also saw that her bio was incorrect.
I havent lived in Chicago for 8 years……I'm not even from there.
I literally rebuilt roofs in Puerto Rico but am just left as villain. @vulture not only doesnt do their research, but have the nerve to RANK queens!? You fucking rank them and then called some THE BOTTOMS? Rude! pic.twitter.com/7dC6cYOrfJ
— Jaremi Carey (@PhiPhiOhara) June 10, 2019
Meanwhile, Season 7 winner Violet Chachki — #16 on the list — took issue with the aesthetic choices.
these publications that think photographing drag queens in poor lighting with no retouching is somehow interesting or avant- grade is literally homophobia.
— Violet Chachki (@VioletChachki) June 10, 2019
Shangela took the middle ground. “I don’t really get into rankings,” she wrote on Instagram. “I think that just by being a Drag Queen we’re all pretty powerful. But THANK YOU @vulture for this cool write up in ur “Most Powerful Drag Queens in America.” I told y’all … i Came to WERQ.
To hear Season 4 contestant Willam tell it, the queens who were photographed for the feature didn’t realize they would be ranked, meaning the so-called “Bottoms” probably had no idea they’d be labeled as such — with, you know, their sexual roles notwithstanding.
No one told us they were gonna be ranking us but hey press is press. @vulture
— Willam (@willam) June 10, 2019
And though Vulture’s preamble makes it clear the judges were ranking only Drag Race contestants, the headline called these 100 honorees the “Most Powerful Drag Queens in America,” which made for some glaring omissions, as All Stars 4 co-winner Monét X Change pointed out.
Also I’m just seeing this goddamn list! Fuck @vulture and their rankings. If you’re gunna rank “the most powerful Drag Queens in America”…where are the Sherry Vine’s, the Jackie Beat’s, the Coco Peru’s, Bunny, Peaches!? Our successes are birthed on the backs of their pains.
— Monét X Change (@monetxchange) June 10, 2019
Season 8 fan fave Kim Chi, meanwhile, thinks turnabout should be fair play.
Hey everyone! As someone who has never written a news article or even have any experience in journalism, I decided to rank all the writers over at @vulture. The ranks will be arbitrary and it too shall be poorly written. All I ask is someone to take awful photos these writers?
— Kim Chi (@KimChi_Chic) June 11, 2019
And with that, the library is closed.