Last night Eurovision was won by Austria’s act Conchita Wurst. And it was a ruddy good song that deserved to win. But the second she won my facebook and twitter were alight with comments saying ‘Equality has won’. Why? Oh, because for the last few weeks any story about Eurovision would mention the bearded lady or the Austrian drag queen. Because apparently, by highlighting the differences between Conchita and the other acts and by emphasising she was a drag queen, and for the announcer from one country saying it was time for her to shave, and the constant jokes and comments made in her direction, it means that equality is the champion.
It’s a lovely idea. But it sits uncomfortably in my stomach.
I took to twitter this morning, and was instantly berated for my opinion. Here are the tweets I originally sent typed into one statement:
Slightly uncomfortable by the calls of equality winning due to Conchita winning #Eurovision last night – surely equality winning would be if Conchita had been treated the same as everyone else and not made an ‘example’ of and had the pee taken out of her by many. If she won cos people were voting because she’s a [very good] drag artist and not because of the [very good] song, then they’re not doing anything good for equality but making an example of someone’s who different. Equality is treating everyone equal. Hence why it’s called equality.
I was told by someone that Equality won because 20 years ago a man in a dress would never have been allowed to be on the Eurovision stage. Erm… 1998, Dana International the Israel entrant – otherwise known as the transexual from Israel who was a feature on Eurotrash and won. Like with Conchita, is it the song or the differences the performer has that makes them win.
I’m not against Conchita winning by the way, my word it’s a great song, but if it’d been performed by someone else equally talented who wasn’t a drag queen…. would it have still won? Quite possibly, and great. But if not then we have to ask, is it equality if we vote for the person who’s different? Is it equality if we highlight our differences? We can happily argue it’s acceptance and that’s a great step but acceptance and equality are different. Acceptance is the first step to equality, and when we reach equality the world will be a very different place – but we know that we’re not there yet, no matter what we want to believe. A drag queen winning Eurovision 16 years after a transexual is nothing to celebrate. The right song winning for once, and that political voting wasn’t such a massive issue this year, that’s what Eurovision fans should be celebrating.
I’m not an expert on equality and I’ll never claim to be. But in my mind equality will only exist when we don’t need to think about it.