Great Britain

Former Olympian Sharron Davies criticised for comparing drag shows to blackface

Sharron Davies has been criticised for calling drag shows a “parody of what a real woman is” and comparing them to blackface.

On Saturday, the former Olympic swimmer tweeted that she was “fed up” of drag shows.

“Am I the only person fed up of drag shows?” Davies began.

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“A parody of what a real woman is, like blackface. Woman are juggling kids, rushing out a wholesome dinner, doing the laundry and cleaning, holding down a job all with period pains and leaky boobs if breast feeding. Enough of the stereotypes.”

“Sharron Davies complaining about drag shows stereotyping women and then all she does is roll out every stereotype about women going,” wrote one person.

Another added: “Wow Sharon, I know which version of womanhood I’d prefer, the one which celebrates them, not entrenches them in the patriarchy.

“Also have you ever been to a drag show? They are the most inclusive, loving and creative spaces and the drag queens I’ve met are kind and respectful.”

Many users took offence to the comparison between drag shows and blackface, which commonly refers to when someone – typically with white skin – paints their face darker to resemble a black person.

“Drag is really not ok, it ridicules women, no doubt. But blackface led to direct violence against black ppl [sic],” wrote one person.

“Many black women have now explained that we could question drag without comparing with blackface bc they feel it diminishes the fight against racism [sic].”

Davies responded by clarifying that her comment was not intended to be understood as racist.

“I’m not reducing anyone else’s struggle just saying promoting ridiculous stereotypes is dangerous, as is racism.”

It’s not the first time that Davies has been embroiled in controversy. In March, the Olympic medallist was criticised for saying that allowing transgender athletes to enter female competitions “has the potential to ruin women’s sport”.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Davies argued that transgender athletes who were born male had a physical advantage over cisgendered women.​

The Independent has contacted Davies for comment.

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