Oberlin Blogs

Dress in drag and do the hula

April 7, 2008

Alice Ollstein ’10

First of all, anyone who gets my Lion King reference in the title of this post is automatically cool.

Second of all, here's my costume: an Argentine tango dancer hunting for a partner.

View image

But moving on...This past weekend was Oberlin's annual Drag Ball--a huge dance in the student union where you can come dressed as any gender you want or anywhere in between. This year's Ball was incredible: Famous drag performers were hired for the night, members of the band Le Tigre deejayed the dance room and there was a chocolate fountain! The night included an amazing student costume contest that awarded cash prizes to the best King, Queen and "who knows!" contestants. There's even a category for the person whose costume and general appearance can't be placed in either gender, but instead, messes with our preconceived notions of manhood and womanhood. As that sentence demonstrates (I hope), the night is a crazy mix of education and fun. There were also workshops the week leading up to the night about what it means to be drag and/or transgender. We have an organization called the Multicultural Resource Center that trains students to do lots of presentations and events throughout the year, and they've been involved with Drag Ball since its inception.

Drag Ball always impresses me because it's almost entirely organized and funded by students. We have a group called the Student Finance Committee where members (who are elected by the student body) vote on which organizations and events to fund. I've been told that the group was very disorganized and problematic in the past, but the current members have worked hard to reinvent the whole system and it functions much better now. It's great knowing that any student can start a club or organization, write a budget, and get funding. The Student Finance Committee helped fund my Spring Break trip to New Orleans as well as my Winter Term trip to Nicaragua and a weekend-long protest I attended in Georgia against the School of the Americas. They also decide my salary at the newspaper! All in all, it's great to have students making these decisions for students and not the administration.

For a great article on Drag Ball, click here.

Let me know if you want me to blog any more about anything I mentioned!


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