"“I Look Too Good Not to Be Seen”:
In this article, the pilot of the 2018 show Pose, which explores the ballroom scene of the 1980s in New York, will be analyzed. In the show, the life and struggles of transgender, poor, Black, Latinx, or generally marginalized characters are narrated as they navigate their own colorful world but also deal with AIDS, heartbreak and discrimination. As a basis for my reading, I will connect the theory of ‘bodily capital,’ which is an adaptation of Pierre Bourdieu’s work, to the concept of ‘realness,’ which plays an important role in the ballroom scene and LGBTQ culture in general but can also be employed as a theoretical concept. The latter describes the practice of performing gender and racial norms, stemming from the desire to belong, to fit in. Ultimately, I argue that in this episode of Pose, the pictured field of 1980s ballroom culture is structured by bodily capital and that realness is depicted as being unavailable to those not possessing the ‘right’ kind of bodily capital.