RuPaul's Drag Race

Common Sense Media says

Drag queen contest is campy and carries a message.

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Amid the sassy, sexualized content are well-intentiond messages about self-acceptance and having the courage to be true to yourself.

Positive role models

Despite the contestants' sometimes catty behavior, they also display courage and self-acceptance.

Violence

A contestant is shown being slapped in the face as part of an acting session.

Sex

Strong sexual innuendo, including references to various sex acts. The contestants are referred to as “ladies” when dressed as women. They are shown dressing provocatively, dancing suggestively, pole dancing, and imitating various sexual positions. They're also shown getting undressed and wearing various devices to enhance their chests and hide their genitalia, but nudity is blurred.

Language

RuPaul and the contestants continuously use the terms “queen” and “bitch” to describe themselves. Curses like “s--t” and “f--k” are bleeped.

Consumerism

The winner of the competition will be featured in product campaigns for NYX Cosmetics and L.A. Eyeworks. Interior Illusions Co. and Absolut Vodka are also show sponsors. The logo for Out of the Closet secondhand store is frequently visible.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Visible alcohol consumption (cocktails, mixed drinks). Absolut Vodka is a show sponsor.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this reality series -- in which gay male drag performers compete for a title, money, and commercial opportunities -- includes lots of sexual innuendo (including references to various sex acts and blurred nudity) and a fair bit of strong language (the term “bitch” is used continuously, while curses like “f--k” and “s--t” are bleeped). The show supports the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered community, while simultaneously sending the message that drag queens must be overly sexualized in order to succeed. It also promotes self-acceptance.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE is a reality competition designed to find America’s next drag superstar. Hosted by actor/model/drag queen RuPaul, the series follows 12 male performers as they compete in a variety of designing, modeling, dancing, and acting challenges to show off their drag queen personalities and style. To move to the next round, they must electrify a panel of judges made up of RuPaul, journalist Merle Ginsberg, Project Runway finalist Santino Rice, and weekly guest celebrity judges like Kathy Griffin and Kim Coles. The two contestants who least impress the judges must face-off in a lip-synching performance to remain in the competition. The winner receives $25,000, a lifetime supply of makeup, a public relations contract, and the opportunity to be featured in various advertising campaigns.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

RuPaul's Drag Race combines the fashion design drama of Project Runway with the modeling excitement of America’s Next Top Model to create an entertainingly voyeuristic glimpse into the performance art world of drag queens. There's plenty of over-the-top stuff, but rather than simply treating drag performers as people to be laughed at and/or scorned, the show also focuses on the hard work and talent that goes into drag performances.

This gender-bending show isn’t for everyone, and there's enough strong language, sexual innuendo, and over-the-top catty and diva-like behavior to make it an iffy choice for younger viewers. But it does offer some positive messages about overcoming adversity and about self-acceptance. In the end, the series' goal is to celebrate men who are willing to follow their passions and be true to themselves.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about stereotypes. Do the contestants in this show reinforce or undermine stereotypes typically associated with the LGBTQ community? How are other communities stereotyped, both in the media and out of it?

  • Over the years, notable actors like Milton Berle, Tony Curtis, Tom Hanks, and Robin Williams have famously performed in drag in films and on TV. Do you think their characters and performances are looked at differently than the ones given by the contestants here? If so, why? 

TV details

Cast:Merle Ginsberg, RuPaul Charles, Santino Rice
Networks:Logo, VH1
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:Streaming

This review of RuPaul's Drag Race was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 15 years old Written bymaggiesanch November 29, 2014
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

Simply Beautiful.

Drag Race is an inspirational spin on competition reality shows. Shows like 'America's Next Top Model' are not particularly great influences on young girls, seeing as they're purely beauty competitions. RuPaul only gives the queens four guidelines: charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent. I feel that kids of 11 or 12 won't really get the sex humor, it'll probably fly over their heads. The series contains heart-to-hearts between the queens and Ru, and overall the show contains a lot of feel-good moments. Even though it's a competition, each contestant is made to feel like a winner. The camp and humor is awesome, the fashion is great, and the queens are unbelievable. I started watching this show when I was twelve, and it opened my eyes to individuality and inner beauty. Basically, this is the best show ever. And you should watch it.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent Written byjhalisha April 29, 2012
AGE
18
QUALITY
 

No Kids Allowed!

Really people. Enjoy it by yourself, but this is definitely not for your kids. Maybe a few of your high school age kids might appreciate it, but not for middle school or younger at all! Its a fun show for adults however.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent Written bymatthager July 20, 2012
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

What kind of rating system is used here?!

How could this show not get a full rating for positive role models?! What demographic better teaches the rest of us how to love ourselves and accept others more than the drag community? Am I missing something???? And no, there is NO sex on this show. ever.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing

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