Continuing to go where no drag queen has gone before, RuPaul is treading new ground with her very own Build-A-Bear.
The new collaboration sees the iconic drag queen rendered as an adorable teddy bear, complete with a blond wig, gold sequin dress, matching heels, an embroidered mug beat for the stuffed gods and the RuPaul's Drag Race logo on the bear's paw. The collectible bear comes as both a standalone bear and as part of a "glamazon gift set," which retail for $56 and $64 respectively on Build-A-Bear's website.
“Two iconic pop culture institutions join forces for this one-of-a-kind collector’s item made in tribute to the world’s most famous drag queen,” Build-A-Bear's listing says. “Start your engines – RuPaul Bear is ready to sashay into your collection! Mama Ru makes her debut on the Build-a-Bear mainstage in the form of the first-ever RuPaul Bear!”
What's discouraging is that the online exclusive comes with a warning that their collab is only intended for people that are 18 and over. Visitors to Build-A-Bear's website are met with a message that they "are about to enter The Bear Cave," which it goes on to describe as being "filled with unexpected collabs and unique plush gifts, intended for shoppers 18 and older."
As an isolated incident, the framing of the RuPaul Bear collection as intended for an adult audience might easily be dismissed as catering towards Drag Race's fan base, but it might be due to the recent wave of legislation targeting drag queens and the trans community. While the attempt to put a level of separation from Build-A-Bear brand from the RuPaul Bear can be seen as a diplomatic approach, conservative pundits have already latched on to the collab as further evidence of the "gay agenda" bogeyman trying to indoctrinate children.
As objectively ridiculous as the notion is that a teddy bear is somehow "grooming" kids to be more tolerant of people freely expressing themselves, it's worth calling out not only the absurdity of the backlash but brands bending the knee to reactionary rhetoric as perpetuating a cycle of discrimination towards the LGBTQ+ community.
Photo courtesy of Build-A-Bear
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