Who dresses up in a fabulous costume to step into a fearless alter ego capable of extraordinary feats? Whose hidden, secret self is maybe more true than the face they present to the workaday world?

Drag queens.

Also, Superman.

“When I was younger, I wanted to be Superman,” sings Katie Pruitt on her new song, “Jealous of the Boys.” In addition to the ways they thwart gender expectations, superheroes are useful as role models for queer people because they have a secret. The secret self, the masked alter ego, is in many ways their true self, through whom their power can be fully expressed.

The character in Pruitt’s song is a young girl who envies Superman’s maleness (and maleness in general) in both positive and negative aspects.

The way he saved the world
And got all the attention of every pretty girl

But she also envies his careless swagger:

The way he walked through the world
Breaking all the fragile hearts of every pretty girl

In the prior verse, she assures us that “If I was her man, I swear I would have treated her right,” but it’s the male archetype of the heartbreaker she envies in the chorus.

The final chorus complicates the protagonist’s masculinity even further, turning away from the protagonist’s relationships with others to her relationship with her own body. Superman “makes it look so easy, having power in this world / And he’s never had to hold his keys or keep his knuckles curled.”

This chorus follows a verse in which the protagonist wanted to fly to the defense of a girl being catcalled, in proper superheroic style, only to have the girl talk her out of it for the sake of their safety. The protagonist wants to walk without fear, in a society where that’s a privilege restricted to men.

From her headquarters in Nashville, Pruitt performs a kind of superhero maneuver with this song. Consider Wonder Woman, who appears in 1941, a fantastically strong woman in a costume inspired by the American flag. She thwarts gender expectations, but wrapped around her body is the emblem of God and country.

In Pruitt’s case, the costume is the Nashville sound of her music. To call it a costume is not to say it’s false. Pruitt’s being queer makes her no less country.

But it is unusual to hear queerness explored with this musical palette.

Unusual also is the way Pruitt engages with religion. There’s a cliché, “God doesn’t make mistakes,” which people use as a way of denying the legitimacy of transgendered people’s sense of self. In this song, the character doesn’t deny that she’s made in the image of her Creator – rather, she suggests that God made her with a certain amount of gender discontent.

I would have a different body if only God gave me the choice

By her logic, God indeed doesn’t make mistakes. He made both her body and her sense that it should be different. The book of Genesis is on her side: “in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (1:27).

To which the character in this song seems to answer, yes; male and female, here I am.