Being a Diva is one thing but, according to Dvora Meyers, being called a Diva is quite something else, a bad something else. As I read her article, “Being a Confident Badass Does Not Make a Female Athlete a ‘Diva’”, I kept wondering what is so terrible about being called a Diva? And what is a Diva if not a confident badass? Divas trans spaces, reworking them such that  their desires are met and the paradigms within which they operate, shift.  It seems like many, Meyers fails to recognize the potential  in the strategy of  a Diva’s performance.

The Diva is a much maligned figure. Her first English language appearance in an 1883 issue of Harper’s Magazine, according to the OED, reveals her to be a pretty, talentless creature. Few realize that even as she was vilified, she effectively mimicked the behavior of the castrati she successfully supplanted.  

Her performance is a strategy that most fall for. You pay attention to the distraction of her antics while she gains access to spaces traditionally denied her. Delusions of grandeur do not suit the Diva’s needs and thus her performance is rooted in desire and fulfillment. Consider the likes of Naomi Campbell and Kathleen Battle.

Naomi Campbell is known as much for her temper as for her modeling. She is easily dismissed as a ridiculously demanding Diva. Consider, however, that despite her striking looks, she is hardly typical model fare and at 42, she is well passed the average model shelf life. Yet she remains relevant, a cover girl, still. Name another Black model, of any age, who can say that. Diva.

Kathleen Battle former teacher turned Diva Soprano of the Met. Not known for the strength of her voice, she made herself a star in secondary roles. Everyone was so enthralled with her Diva antics that she remained a star there for 17 years before she was dismissed.  How many more can you name? Diva.

Being a Diva, clearly, has its benefits despite the sometimes malicious intent of those who unknowingly attempt to box her in. Nine-time Olympic medalist Svetlana Khorkina says in the same Meyers’ article, “I love being a diva…being a diva is magical. You can’t catch her. She always comes out a winner”. So, the next time you hear someone being a called a Diva, look closely and you are likely to see someone transing the boundaries, spaces and imaginary lines others are too afraid to transgress.