Film & TV: Conchita Wurst: A Victory For Drag or a Victory For Beards?

On Saturday evening we settled down to a disappointing array of TV choices. There was only one thing for it – a bit of Eurovision cheese. To be honest, I’m either getting old, or listening to too much Radio 2, but I actually enjoyed some of the songs. Likewise, my love for Radio 2, only made Graham Norton’s on-point sarcastic commentary even more enjoyable. J’adore that man.

And, then.

Wait a minute.

Is that a lady with a beard?

A beautiful lady with a beard?

She’s got a decent voice and a helluva Bond-esque song.

It was, as anyone else who tuned in on Saturday night will know, ultimate winner, Conchita Wurst – the drag artist from Austria. If I’m honest it was a deserved victory.

Also, if I’m honest, I couldn’t help but join in with the beard weirdy tweets. I really hope I didn’t offend anyone, but I simply couldn’t understand why anyone so stunningly beautiful would want to cover half their face with a beard. But, hey, I’m not a big fan of the fuzzy chin at the best of times.

The fact that the Twittersphere was filled with messages about Eurovision, firstly, gave me comfort that I wasn’t the only saddo watching it on a Saturday night, and, secondly, got me to thinking. A lot of them were of the ‘Aren’t we brilliant. We voted for a drag artist to win Eurovision. Look how liberal we are.’ ilk. Erm, I know Dana International was transgender, but that was years ago, so I think we’ve already ticked off the acceptance of all shapes, sizes, colours, creeds, sexual orientations, gender orientations etc… etc… as far as Eurovision is concerned. What was it that made Conchita different? Was it the fact that she was a drag artist as opposed to being transgender? Was it the beard? Was this, in fact, not a victory for drag queens but a victory for beards?!

The other thing I wondered was, who actually votes for Eurovision? I certainly don’t know anyone who picks up the phone. I’m not saying that Conchita’s victory is any less valid, but what I am saying is perhaps we should stop the ‘Isn’t Europe wonderful’ back-slapping when we consider that it was probably people who were already quite liberal in the first place who actually bothered to pick up the phone and vote. I think it would have proven a completely different victor if mass voting were mandatory. Before you boo me, I’m not saying that Conchita shouldn’t have won. I’m saying that we need to be real about this, there’s still a long way to go until someone like Conchita could walk down your local high street without receiving a barrage of abuse from less understanding individuals. Perhaps, this was a bit like asking kids to vote if they like ice cream? It was the right audience, for this result, but doesn’t necessarily show the ‘mood of the nation’. Ice cream was a poor example, I admit.

I think Conchita is fabulous. I do. She’s a classy bird, better than any drag artist I’ve ever seen. She has a grace and persona that most women would be jealous of. And, in interviews, I’ve seen of her, she truly embodies the word fabulous. But she did leave me confused. Of course, there’s no reason why she shouldn’t be a bearded lady. But, as someone who struggles with the odd stray hair, I couldn’t understand why she would want to be a lady and have a beard. My tiny mind couldn’t comprehend it. But then maybe that’s just it. Maybe Conchita is there to make you ask questions, to make you see that although we’ve expanded the neat little tick boxes of male and female to include drag artist, transgender etc…, even that’s not enough. Perhaps we shouldn’t be in such a rush to define people, to categorise them – perhaps we should see everyone as a unique individual. And maybe that’s just it. For every person who did pick up the phone and vote for Conchita, there’s a person who didn’t who, perhaps like me, is now questioning things and looking at things in a different way. If that’s the case then Conchita winning is a victory in more ways than one.

Ho, ho, ho!

A post shared by Samantha Heathcock (@samheathcock) on

In the meantime I may have to jump on the bearded lady bandwagon – if only to hide a corker of a zit that’s appeared on my chin. Best go, I need to dig out my Santa beard. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt this weekend it’s that, Conchita, bearded or not – you’re more of a lady than I’ll ever be!

What did you make of Conchita?

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One thought on “Film & TV: Conchita Wurst: A Victory For Drag or a Victory For Beards?

  1. I personally didn’t mind how Conchita looked, I was more bothered that half the songs, including hers, sounded like Bond theme rejects! I preferred the Iceland entry, strangely beards a plenty too. You’re right though, the target audience and potential voters of Eurovision are not flag waving right wing UKIP supporters and therefore more open to the diversity within the world.

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