Hollywood has a history of suppressing subcultures, and drag queens are no exception. When gays were beginning to be given more positive representations, drag queens came along for the ride. This subculture, however positively portrayed, was still ultimately marginalized by mainstream cinema. In the film Too Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar , drag queens are shown as positive, but still as others through a process of deification. In Connie and Carla , drag queens are still portrayed as okay, but even more marginalized, since the title characters have the power, as women, to inherently outdo them at their own game of cabaret.
Both of these films subvert the subversiveness that originally ran thick through drag acts. In order to oppose this appropriation, drag needs to take a new path in subverting common ideals, specifically gender. The film Hairspray does take drag in a different direction. While the casting of men in women's roles is not new, it is uncommon in modern cinema, but the casting in Hairspray not only subverts gender roles in cinema, it also subverts stereotypes of drag queens. Instead of hyper-glamorous, hyper-effeminate, and hyper-catty, the drag queen in Hairspray is ugly, motherly, and as much an actual woman as she needs to be.
Drag is in danger of complete appropriation in the cinema, but if future films take the same tack as Hairspray, there may yet be hope for the subversive ideals that drag is founded upon.