lirazel: ([kpop] fierce)
[personal profile] lirazel

Note: there is a real chance that in the course of this meta that I will betray my lack of gender/queer studies education (I’m so new to this world) and phrase something in a way that’s offensive and/or hurtful.  If that’s the case, I go ahead and completely apologize.  Please feel free to tell me what I’m doing wrong and to correct me in how to be more sensitive with my language.  I’m eager to learn.  (I also don't own any of the images, so I am not claiming credit for them.)


One of the things that’s fascinated me since I first got into kpop is the ubiquity of drag (or at least of males-in-female-costume drag).  It seems like every single male kpop idol has ended up in a dress at some point, dancing (or attempting to dance) to some girl group dance while the audience laughs.  And yet, for all that we see it so often, I rarely get the feeling that there’s anything transgressive about it.  The purpose of it always seems to be humor—and of the broadest, most obvious sort: the idea that there’s something inherently funny about a guy wearing clothes usually designated as female.  There’s rarely anything else going on, so when something else does peep through, it’s all the more amazing for that.


There are some glimpses of some real gender-play in kpop—the last scenes of miss A’s “I Don’t Need a Man” video are drag in the best, sexiest sense of the word and there are times when Key of Shinee is dancing a girl group dance in a self-conscious-less way that isn’t about humor at all but totally about the dance and his relationship to it.   And then there’s the comfort with which Dongwoo struts around in female clothes in WOWman—not only does he look stunning, but he’s so incredibly comfortable with what he’s wearing, breaking into girl group dances and flipping his hair around.  He could pass, if he wanted to.  The other guys on the show all look like masculine men stuffed into female clothes; Dongwoo looks like a woman.  There’s far less of that going on in Sungyeol’s half of the “Trouble Maker” performance; it is supposed to be just pure entertainment.  And it doesn’t seem, looking at it from the outside, that there was much thought going into it being subversive in any way.  Some of that subversion sort of creeps in anyway simply because of Sungyeol’s body shape: unlike Dongwoo, who could easily pass, Sungyeol-in-drag is this strange mixture of verisimilitude (his face under that wig, his pretty hands, even his legs) and cues that keep his transformation from being ‘complete’ (his broad shoulders, his incredibly narrow hips, to a certain extent the definition of his arms, and definitely his undeniable height—things that are assumed to signify masculinity, even if there are women out there every bit as tall as he is, etc.).  There’s something transgressive about that mixture of ‘feminine’ beauty in his face at odds with the masculinity of his body.  But that’s not something that seems intentional; it’s just a result of the body he already lives in, and his discomfort after revealing more of his body (when he rips the top of the dress apart) makes me think that transgression was never the point (not that he isn’t allowed to feel discomfort or that he has to be transgressive, I’m just saying that it isn’t).


But Lee Sungjong is an entirely different case.  I tend mostly to talk (and talk and talk) about the weird and subtle ways in which Woohyun blends different kinds of gender performance, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love Sungjong’s more obvious flouting of gender conventions.  I am endlessly fascinated by and admiring of him, his maturity and poise, his sense of humor and savvy, his fearlessness and fierceness.  Sungjong is a wonder.  And right from the beginning he’s been presented as having a unique relationship with gender.  Pretty much the first time audiences had a chance to ‘meet’ him is in You’re My Oppa, when Tablo and Mithra tease him—“are you sure you’re not a girl?”  “You’re pretty like a girl.”  “You should just debut with a girl group.”  Now there’s no doubt that Sungjong is incredibly pretty, and he seems to have always enjoyed hearing those words, ‘you’re pretty.’  From what his hyungs say, he also consciously contrasted himself/aligned himself with female idols by learning girl group dances, then performing them for his hyungs and demanding they tell him that he’s better at the dances/prettier than the ‘common’ female idols.  It seems that he was the one who wanted to be doing all those girl group dances; if the stories are true, he was even forbidden from doing them by management and would get caught doing them in the bathroom by himself (would love to know what the rationale for ‘don’t do girl group dances anymore!’ was).  He really seemed to relish his ‘feminine’ presentation and the way people reacted to it.


There was always something transgressive about those girl group dances, too.  He commits to them fully but not mockingly—he pops his hips and butt and raises his arms and struts in ‘feminine’ ways, blinking his big pretty eyes and holding the camera’s gaze with his own—the moves may be exaggerated but that’s not to create a sense of ridiculousness or humor, but, perhaps, out of a love for camp and performance.  There’s nothing winking or ironic about what he’s doing (despite the fact that he does love to wink.  I think it’s because he knows just how gorgeous his eyes are and that draws attention to them).  He loves girl group dances and he’s going to perform them.  And just the fact that he seems drawn specifically to dances choreographed for women (as opposed to, say, Hoya and Dongwoo who will totally do girl group dances and do them well when required but don’t seem to seek them out) is transgressive in itself.  He likes those movements, the different ways they show off the body (we’re always hearing about his S-line, a phrase, to my knowledge, that’s used almost exclusively to describe women but which Sungjong seems to have embraced and even flaunted if his style choices are anything to go by.  THIS MAN).  Those dances are mostly supposed to be ‘sexy’ or ‘cute’ but in specifically feminine ways.  And yet Sungjong loves to perform them.  That’s hella amazing.


And yet, the response of most people is to laugh.  Maybe that laughter does have a different tone to it than if more stereotypically ‘masculine’ guys were performing (I lovleovelove the contrast in this performance of an Orange Caramel song where the other two guys look more like guys-in-girs’-costumes where Sungjong looks so incredibly pretty and feminine—if it weren’t for the lack of breasts, he could totally pass), but laughter seems to be the reaction, even if, from what I can tell, what Sungjong was looking for was admiration (Sungjong seems to really relish admiration, and I love how honest he is about that).  The audience’s reactions seem to rob it of a lot of his transgressive abilities, which makes me sad. 


Sungjong’s whole public construction is actually incredibly fascinating when I stop to think about it.  We don’t know as much about Sungjong as maybe any of the other Infinite members—what was his home life like? (We get glimpses into Hoya’s and Dongwoo’s, we’ve met Sungyeol’s brother and mom and Dongwoo and Myungsoo’s mothers.)  He has a younger brother, but unlike all of the other members with brothers, I don’t think we know his name (from what I can tell we don’t know Sunggyu’s sister’s name, either, which I find interesting, but that’s another story).  What do we know?  He’s religious (he prays before every performance).  He loves animals (evidenced by how he takes to the puppies in Birth of a Family, how he’s totally at ease with being locked in a room full of frogs, how he pets cats, etc.).  He likes scary movies.  He reads a lot.  He has close relationships with a lot of other idols and entertainment figures—Luna and Amber from f(x) come to mind, but he’s the one making phone calls in Birth of a Family to call in favors because he seems to know everyone.  Despite being an adult now, he still sleeps with stuffed animals (I love that he seems to feel no shame in this; I think it’s beautiful).  And he likes girl group dances.  That’s…pretty much it.  Sungjong is one of the most private members by far (a fact I totally respect), and unlike the guys whose backstories are important parts of their personaes (Sunggyu and Hoya getting kicked out of their houses and working so hard, etc.) or who talk freely about things they’re interested in (Sungyeol, Myungsoo and Woohyun), Sungjong keeps most of his personal life to himself.  His personae has always been pretty straightforward: cute maknae who’s sassy and fierce and pretty and gets frustrated with his hyungs and beats up his stuffed animals to take out those frustrations.  And who does girl group dances.


And then, somewhere around ‘The Chaser’ or maybe a little bit before, something shifted.  He started being less outwardly sassy and cute.  He started being quiet and calm and dignified in interviews.  He seemed to be hanging back and rolling his eyes at his hyungs a lot (SOMETHING THAT MAKES ME SO HAPPY).   He stopped smiling as much.  And he started doing less girl group dances (in one interview he even said, “I don’t really like to do that anymore, but okay I’ll do one because I’m asked”).  Now, I’m not going to speculate on why all that happened.  I’m sure part of it has to do with growing up and maybe being exhausted from several years of performing in that very specific way.  It really doesn’t matter, of course, because he should present himself however the hell he wants to.  But it is fascinating, especially when his hyungs start saying fairly often in interviews that “Sungjong’s really manly most of the time!”  Saying it often enough that it looks like they really want us to get that message. 


His personae’s shifted.  He’s become, if you listen to his hyungs, the sexy one (they agree unanimously that he’s the sexiest and Hoya DOES NOT WANT YOU TO FORGET IT since he talks about it all the time.  I totally agree with them btw—he’s completely sexy now).  His sassiness has morphed a bit into fierceness (watch him flip his hair in that new haircut he loves and tell me that isn’t one of the fiercest things you’ve ever seen).  He can still beat up stuffed animals nicknamed ‘Sunggyu’ on Weekly Idol, but he just seems to be growing up, and part of that growing up seems to be becoming more ‘masculine’ and having less room for flirting with femininity and dancing ‘like a girl.’


Or at least that’s what I thought until ‘Adult Ceremony’ happened and blew my mind.


 


I’m still not over this performance, I doubt I ever will be.  There is nothing funny about this performance.  It isn’t supposed to be funny.  It’s supposed to be sexy as hell and it is.  It’s also genius.  No, really, I think it’s absolutely genius.  It’s one of the purest expressions of ‘genderfuck’ I’ve ever seen (my experience is, admittedly, pretty limited, but still).  Gender is both the point and absolutely irrelevant.  He’s blurring the lines and playing with gender while simultaneously throwing it out the window.  I LOVE IT.


image


There’s the outfit, for one thing.  The point of that outfit isn’t to imitate female sexiness (usually in attempt at comedy).  The point of that outfit is to be sexy.  There’s that slinky skirt slit halfway up to his hips.  The midriff bared with just a layer of mesh over it.  The obvious knee-high hose.  The slinky cut of it (I loooooooove the slink) that shows off his S-line.  He doesn’t have on a wig.  There’s minimal makeup.  But his hair is in a headband that creates a sort of more feminine look.  He doesn’t stuff his chest or alter his body shape in any way—the point of the outfit is to show off the body he already has.  So there’s this blend of his male body (flat chest, for instance), his ‘feminine’ attributes (the curves of his outline, his lack of obvious muscular definition) and then this blend of the two (the way his hair is arranged, his beautiful but not-made-up face in the forefront, and the way he moves).  He’s a genderfuck. 


image


Then there’s the dance and music.  Song sung by a famous female idol with a sexy image.  Choreography intended for a sexy woman.  Just like what we’re used to from Sungjong, except, like the title of the song, it seems so much more grownup this time.  The song is defiantly, femininely sexual—I know I’m what you want, I’m not a girl anymore, I become a woman at your kiss, I’ve been waiting for this all along.  In its original form, this isn’t a song that can be sung by either gender and have the same effect—this is a song that is defiantly, explicitly about <i>being a woman</i>.  WOW.  Now he changes the lyrics from woman to man and from girl to boy, and that could be seen as attempting to make it less explicitly female, but I don’t think that’s what’s going on.  For one thing, the rest of the performance belies that, and for another, he’s still asking for ‘feminine’ things—to be given roses, for instance, the request to be ‘taught’ about love, and the fact that the singer is inviting action on the part of the one s/he’s addressing (femininity is usually associated with passivity, masculinity with aggression and agency).  Those things aren’t usually the sorts of things men ask for in the dominate gender narrative.  He doesn’t change those words around, as someone else might.  In fact, with the genders changed (woman->man, girl->boy), the song becomes subversive in a way it isn’t when it’s a woman speaking those words (because they’re what’s expected from a woman, if a confident one who knows what she wants).  Another important element is that of Sungjong’s age—not only is he very young and just transitioning into a more adult look, he’s also the maknae, typically considered the cute baby of the group.  By saying man instead of boy, he’s making a statement about his adulthood and how he wants to be looked at that I think becomes a sort of motto for the transition he’s making from cute little maknae to grown up performer.  He’s upending the status quo of the way that other people view him.  That’s powerful.


Add to all this the backup dancers—Hoya and Dongwoo always have male backup dancers, too, but they’re more to create a mood of swaggering masculinity.  When Sungyeol does ‘Sexy Back,’ they’re for the same reason (shades of ‘my crew’).  With Myungsoo’s solo performance, they’re cute—bowties and cardigans and almost cheesy romanticism (OH GOD MYUNGSOO IS SO CUTE AND AWKWARD.  God forbid he ever try to do a sexy stage, I can’t imagine how terrible it would be).  But that’s not their purpose in Sungjong’s performance.   They’re here to serve.  To literally lift Sungjong when he’s tired of walking and hold him up to the sky.  To grovel and worship at his feet.  They slide their hands on his body the way men do women in most music videos.  Their moves are sexy, sure, and in a lot of ways reflect Sungjong’s, but they’ve got nothing of Sungjong’s sinuous undulating.  They’re typically masculine bodies, dressed in typically masculine ways, and the contrast that creates is potent.   Even when they perform the exact same moves, it looks completely different when Sungjong is doing it—Sungjong’s using the natural curves of his body and the more ‘femininely’ graceful way he typically moves to potent affect.  The backup dancers create a backdrop of stereotypical masculinity against which Sungjong can perform his femininity in an in-your-face way.


image


And on top of that there’s the way he performs the song: flirtatious yet dismissive, confident and unabashedly sexual—he seems both seductive and as though he knows he’s far too good for everyone in the audience.  It’s a culmination of aspects of himself he’s always showcased: his sassiness becomes fierceness, his girliness becomes adult yet still feminine, his prettiness becomes sexiness.  This is, in every imaginable way, all those girl group dances he ever did except all grown up.  And grown up for him, in this performance, isn’t about become more masculine, though it might be offstage.  On stage, he can be ‘feminine’ but still an adult. 


image


It’s amazing.  And sexy.  And strong.  He’s daring you to laugh and at the same time the feeling you get watching him is that if you did laugh, he’d just roll his eyes, sneer, and forget about you.  Your laughter is irrelevant to him, but he’ll totally appreciate your worship.  He’s chosen a completely adult kind of ‘feminine’ sexuality to display instead of the cute-sexy we’re used to.  There’s no diluting what he’s doing: it’s straight-up sexy, and it’s not meant to be anything else.  I still can’t believe he got away with it, that he got permission to do it; either Woollim is a lot more progressive than I’d expect or they are totally missing the transgressive quality of what’s going on or they thought it would turn out to be completely different than it did.  It doesn’t matter—the fact that he did it and pulled it off so beautifully is mindblowing.  And, to my knowledge, pretty unique in the kpop world.  And totally, totally on his terms.  That, actually, is my favorite thing about it.  He’s segued in the least awkward way I can imagine from cute-pretty-girly-boy to grown-up-sexy-man-who-plays-with-gender-when-he-wants-to, and I, for one, am more than willing to offer him the worship he demands.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-02-15 11:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vergoldung.livejournal.com
Oh, Lauren. HOLD ME PLEASE. HOLD ME I NEED HOLDING.

MY CHEST ACTUALLY FEELS TO SMALL FOR THE INTENSITY OF MY EMOTING. Like, usually I would scream-sob or something, but right now I am sharing a room with my sister and I just cannot howl the way I need to.

This boy band will be the death of me.

LEE SUNGJONG, THE WORLD KNEELS BEFORE YOU.

God, I need a minute.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-02-16 02:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vergoldung.livejournal.com
I haz returned to cry some more!

There are some glimpses of some real gender-play in kpop—the last scenes of miss A’s “I Don’t Need a Man” video are drag in the best, sexiest sense of the word and there are times when Key of Shinee is dancing a girl group dance in a self-conscious-less way that isn’t about humor at all but totally about the dance and his relationship to it.
MY CREYS YES

There’s far less of that going on in Sungyeol’s half of the “Trouble Maker” performance; it is supposed to be just pure entertainment.
Agreed. This performance has to be one of the first Infinite vids I ever saw (I think because you linked it somewhere?) and guh one of my favorite things to have happened in kpop. I have so many feelings about it, I don't think I will ever get over it. (It's not like it made me fall in irrevocable love with Yeol or anything. Nope, absolutely not.) But yes, it's definitely still riding the entertainment line. Which I think is also why it was so easy for Yeollie to get "lost" in the performance? He is acting and he likes to be professional, so he commits a hundert percent to incorporating Yeolna. And the whole over-the-topness of the dress-rip is absolutely coherent with that, because I don't think babe even realized how ~professional and focussed he appeared until then (and ofc that completely changes the message of the gesture, that should have been a wink/joke and ended up being awkwardly sexual in a way that confused everybody--I think). But with Dongwoo, it's way past acting. He is just himself in women's attire. And his comfort and confidence makes him so sexy and believable. But mostly he is natural! (Ughhh and now I just had a million thoughts about Infinite and body!presence, because I think this is why Sungyeol's performance worked so well too : he might not be particularly touchy, but he is so there in his body (unlike pudding <3) that he can be there in the performance as well. He controls his body in a completely different way than say Sunggyu (or even Namu!) who has so much taught control but seems completely at a loss whenever he has to be in charge of that well-trained body. Okay, okay, stopping this tangent now. But, all the feels about Troublemaker, always always always. Especially where Sungjongie is concerned!)

He commits to them fully but not mockingly—he pops his hips and butt and raises his arms and struts in ‘feminine’ ways, blinking his big pretty eyes and holding the camera’s gaze with his own—the moves may be exaggerated but that’s not to create a sense of ridiculousness or humor, but, perhaps, out of a love for camp and performance.
This! I absolutely agree about the campiness, because he does exagerate and bring it over-the-top. And I think that's (mostly) conscious. But there's also the part where he often goes for the unapologetic sexual undertones of those girl group dances. And he does so without humour. Like, he isn't trying to caricature the sexual aspect of the dance. He actually gets off on making the audience uncomfortable (be in a good or bad way, I can't tell, but I feel like there's definitely the desire to affect people in a more pregnant way than clowning around offers). I'm always mouth-agape at the unashamed way he's banking on the sex factor in this video :



For a lot of reasons, it's not actually working here. The clothes are lacking and Sungyeol is distracting. Plus, the whole mood is against his seduction plan. But still. He does not care. He is working it. Hard. For the camera and with full awareness of that camera. I don't know but in that particular instance I can't imagine that part of him isn't holding back an evil laughter at making everybody watching uncomfortable and unsettled. (And FUCK now I have YeolJong feelings, because both really really want to be remembered for their performance, always working hard to leave an impression... Oh boys.)


(no subject)

Date: 2013-02-23 05:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] penny-lane-42.livejournal.com
(It's not like it made me fall in irrevocable love with Yeol or anything. Nope, absolutely not.)

THIS IS SO DELIGHTFUL TO HEAR OMG.

He is acting and he likes to be professional, so he commits a hundert percent to incorporating Yeolna. And the whole over-the-topness of the dress-rip is absolutely coherent with that, because I don't think babe even realized how ~professional and focussed he appeared until then (and ofc that completely changes the message of the gesture, that should have been a wink/joke and ended up being awkwardly sexual in a way that confused everybody--I think)

YES YES YES. I haven't seen anyone articulate this before, but I absolutely agree. He looked so beautiful and immersed in the performance that that gesture was SO SHOCKING and just really, really weird. I don't like to watch that part and I've never been able to put a finger on why (other than knowing that it bothered Yeol). But I think this is a lot of it--it was supposed to be funny but the performance wasn't really that kind of humor at all (it really wasn't very humorous at all, but that's another topic).

But with Dongwoo, it's way past acting. He is just himself in women's attire. And his comfort and confidence makes him so sexy and believable. But mostly he is natural! (Ughhh and now I just had a million thoughts about Infinite and body!presence, because I think this is why Sungyeol's performance worked so well too : he might not be particularly touchy, but he is so there in his body (unlike pudding <3) that he can be there in the performance as well. He controls his body in a completely different way than say Sunggyu (or even Namu!) who has so much taught control but seems completely at a loss whenever he has to be in charge of that well-trained body.

I love you let's get married.

I absolutely agree about the campiness, because he does exagerate and bring it over-the-top. And I think that's (mostly) conscious. But there's also the part where he often goes for the unapologetic sexual undertones of those girl group dances. And he does so without humour. Like, he isn't trying to caricature the sexual aspect of the dance. He actually gets off on making the audience uncomfortable (be in a good or bad way, I can't tell, but I feel like there's definitely the desire to affect people in a more pregnant way than clowning around offers). I'm always mouth-agape at the unashamed way he's banking on the sex factor in this video :

Yessssssssssssssssssss.

For a lot of reasons, it's not actually working here. The clothes are lacking and Sungyeol is distracting. Plus, the whole mood is against his seduction plan. But still. He does not care. He is working it. Hard. For the camera and with full awareness of that camera. I don't know but in that particular instance I can't imagine that part of him isn't holding back an evil laughter at making everybody watching uncomfortable and unsettled. (And FUCK now I have YeolJong feelings, because both really really want to be remembered for their performance, always working hard to leave an impression... Oh boys.)


I could not agree more with every bith of this. (Also it gives me Myungyeoljong feelings because of how Myungsoo is ON THE FLOOR laughing. ON HIS KNEES BEHIND THE BOYS HE LOVES. It just gives me so many feelings: Yeoljong as performance artists--for lack of a better word--and body awareness, Myungsoo as the opposite of those things but so worshipful of them in Yeoljong. MAKNAE LINE OT3.)

(no subject)

Date: 2013-02-16 02:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vergoldung.livejournal.com
(in one interview he even said, “I don’t really like to do that anymore, but okay I’ll do one because I’m asked”)
Amsdjlsdlkzhdkdh never over how EFFORTLESSLY he is a perfect idol. All his hyungs should take notes, because maknae knows how to play the game. HE IS A NATURAL.

they agree unanimously that he’s the sexiest and Hoya DOES NOT WANT YOU TO FORGET IT since he talks about it all the time
STILL CRYING OVER HOWON'S EXISTENCE

There’s the outfit, for one thing.
YES. THE OUTFIT. Props to whomever designed this. It's actually hypnotizing. Even more so in my case because it's the kind of wear that appeals to me like whoa. The androgyny merging with the boldness, the hardness and the softness. And how much do I love the lack of wig and ott make-up? Ughhh my feels. It's not about slipping into another character (like i.e. Yeolna), it's all about enhancing. HEAR ME ROAR.

Those things aren’t usually the sorts of things men ask for in the dominate gender narrative.
Except when you're Adam Levine ;)

In fact, with the genders changed (woman->man, girl->boy), the song becomes subversive in a way it isn’t when it’s a woman speaking those words (because they’re what’s expected from a woman, if a confident one who knows what she wants).
I didn't know a thing about the lyrics. AND I THOUGHT I COULDN'T LOVE THIS PERFORMANCE MORE.

God forbid he ever try to do a sexy stage, I can’t imagine how terrible it would be
LOLOL I DIE AT THE THOUGHT

But that’s not their purpose in Sungjong’s performance. They’re here to serve. To literally lift Sungjong when he’s tired of walking and hold him up to the sky. To grovel and worship at his feet.
Oh, fuck. Fuck. Way to go, Lauren. NOW I NEED FIC FOR THIS. Wow, you have no mercy.

I still can’t believe he got away with it, that he got permission to do it; either Woollim is a lot more progressive than I’d expect or they are totally missing the transgressive quality of what’s going on or they thought it would turn out to be completely different than it did.
IDEK it's a mystery/miracle


GUH. STILL WEEPING. WE ARE NOT WORTHY.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-02-23 05:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] penny-lane-42.livejournal.com
Amsdjlsdlkzhdkdh never over how EFFORTLESSLY he is a perfect idol. All his hyungs should take notes, because maknae knows how to play the game. HE IS A NATURAL.

I KNOW I KNOW I KNOW. He and Woohyun are the idols, but in completely different (almost opposite) ways. FEELINGS. With Woohyun, everything is performance and pleasing the audience and turning himself into what they want him to be: everything is right there in front of our eyes, we see his effort and his decisions. With Sungjong, as you say, everything is SO NATURAL. He's so savvy and the master of the game. THESE KIDS.

STILL CRYING OVER HOWON'S EXISTENCE

HOWON YOU RIDICULOUS BOY SO IN LOVE I LOVE YOU.

YES. THE OUTFIT. Props to whomever designed this. It's actually hypnotizing. Even more so in my case because it's the kind of wear that appeals to me like whoa. The androgyny merging with the boldness, the hardness and the softness. And how much do I love the lack of wig and ott make-up? Ughhh my feels. It's not about slipping into another character (like i.e. Yeolna), it's all about enhancing. HEAR ME ROAR.

YES YES YES YES. I would pay big money to hear the story behind that outfit. BIG MONEY.

I didn't know a thing about the lyrics. AND I THOUGHT I COULDN'T LOVE THIS PERFORMANCE MORE.

RIGHT???

Oh, fuck. Fuck. Way to go, Lauren. NOW I NEED FIC FOR THIS. Wow, you have no mercy.

FIIIIIIC!

All hail Lee Sungjong, high priest/ess of the new world order.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-02-23 04:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] penny-lane-42.livejournal.com
*HOLDS YOU FOREVER*

Like, usually I would scream-sob or something, but right now I am sharing a room with my sister and I just cannot howl the way I need to.


I love you so hard. I can't even say.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-02-23 05:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vergoldung.livejournal.com
I LOVE YOU MORE SORRY

Ugh, I hate you for giving me even more thoughts and feelings. I will have to be back. You ruin my life so good.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-02-16 01:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] queenhinata.livejournal.com
omg i saw this on tumblr and all i can say you have articulated my feels/thoughts on Lee Sungjong perfectly. this is just AMAZING ;___; <3

(no subject)

Date: 2013-02-23 04:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] penny-lane-42.livejournal.com
Thank you thank you! That's so lovely to hear! And I absolutely love your icon--I have tons of Wookey bff feelings.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-02-16 05:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shelly-cure.livejournal.com
Thank you so much for sharing this perspective of Sungjong with us. I couldn't have say it better than you. I have so much Sungjong's feels right now.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-02-23 04:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] penny-lane-42.livejournal.com
You're so welcome! Sungjong isn't the member I spend the most time thinking about image-construction with, but when the feelings attack, they attack SO HARD. I'm really glad this spoke to you.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-02-16 06:01 am (UTC)
snickfic: (Coffee Prince)
From: [personal profile] snickfic
As we know, I don't even go here, but that performance (and accompanying gifs) are absolutely mesmerizing. And, as you say, very sexy. Thanks for writing this up! You will educate me yet. :D

(no subject)

Date: 2013-02-23 04:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] penny-lane-42.livejournal.com
Just so you know, this comment delighted me, both that you looked at the performance despite not going here and that it spoke to you! Yay!

(no subject)

Date: 2013-02-16 11:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ladyofthelog.livejournal.com
This meta is incredible and so is that performance! WOW. <3

(no subject)

Date: 2013-02-23 04:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] penny-lane-42.livejournal.com
Thank you thank you! And yeah, he's amazing!

(no subject)

Date: 2013-02-17 02:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jetpacking.livejournal.com
oh my GOD I'M LITERALLY ON THE VERGE OF TEARS I KID YOU NOT. THIS IS SO AMAZING AND SUNGJONG IS SO AMAZING AND I KIND OF ALWAYS KNEW THAT BUT YOU PUT IT ALL INTO WORDS AND SOMEHOW THAT JUST MADE IT EVEN MORE AMAZING AND NOW I'M FULL OF FEELINGS

JUST YELLS EVERYWHERE

THANK YOU FOR WRITING THIS /goes to cry into pillow

(no subject)

Date: 2013-02-23 04:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] penny-lane-42.livejournal.com
HAHA YOU I'M SO VERY VERY GLAD YOU LIKED IT. FEELINGS EVERYWHERE!!!!

(no subject)

Date: 2013-02-23 05:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] queen-eddie.livejournal.com
I really agree with what you have said here. I think that he totally embraces this part of himselr, but doesn't let it define him.

As to the comment wondering if Woollim is more open with what they allow the boys to do...... I think that they are willing to let the boys express themselves artistically. The guys and the company have done things that other companies would never allow...... sungyeol played a high school boy who gets his girlfriend pregnant (this is not the image most want their idols to have). And then there is Hoya playing a gay character. there have been very few gay characters on korea tv, and to have an idol play one and be so loved was amazing. (I was in Korea when this show was on and Junhee was a real favorite.) Musically they have input too. Sunggyu was able to recored the kind of music he wanted with Nell even if rock is not that popular in korea. Also Infinite H chose their title track. this is usually picked by the company. An example that many may not know is that Woollim let new group Tasty choreograph their debut song.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-02-23 04:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] penny-lane-42.livejournal.com
. I think that he totally embraces this part of himselr, but doesn't let it define him.

Absolutely. From glimpses we get of who he is when he's not performing, he seems to have lots of different things going on, and I really appreciate that.

I think that they are willing to let the boys express themselves artistically. The guys and the company have done things that other companies would never allow......

This is the impression I've gotten, yes. And I love hearing that Junhee was as loved in Korea as he was in my heart (never over that boy).

An example that many may not know is that Woollim let new group Tasty choreograph their debut song.

I did not know that! That's so cool to know!

(no subject)

Date: 2013-02-23 05:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vergoldung.livejournal.com
(I was in Korea when this show was on and Junhee was a real favorite.)
c r y i n g

sometimes the world is beautiful

(no subject)

Date: 2013-02-23 01:06 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
you do realize that his image, along with the image of every idol, is controlled by their company. the level of control you think they have is simply not there.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-02-23 04:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] penny-lane-42.livejournal.com
I actually have lots and lots and lots of thoughts on this topic as it relates to Sungjong (and to star studies in general), but I'm not going to talk about them with someone who's anon. If you really want to have this discussion, please either log in or, if you don't have an lj account, sign your post, preferrably with a link to another website where you do have an account. Then I will be more than willing to engage.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-02-23 05:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vergoldung.livejournal.com
I lol-ed so hard at your choice of icon. Be more flawless, I dare you. (Because one word : UGHHH) Also, I wish for us to have an extensive conversation about idols all over the world because it's actually fascinating how The Industry is an enhanced microcosm of what's going on in the rest of the world (especially regarding the correlation objectifying and slut-shaming, privilege and norms). Let's do that, yes? Just not right now, because I have people coming over and real life to cater to, but someday soon! Because the way the industry positions itself (and positions the idols/stars) is both terrifying and fascinating. The mixture between whole role model and dream-person (and sometimes wet dream) is so very disturbing for the position it puts these kids in (and by extension, us fans, who were told to aspire to that our whole life) as far as oppression, agency and self-realization goes. UGH I JUST HAVE A LOT OF FEELLINGS ABOUT THIS, WHY MUST I BE GOING!!! WOE.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-03-04 06:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] penny-lane-42.livejournal.com
HAHAHA I'm glad you enjoyed it! I'm not often a bitch but I can be sometimes!

YES. LET'S HAVE THIS TALK.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-09-01 08:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] airanimechiic.livejournal.com
*note: i am not that anon*

anyways *Q* I love this meta and i tend to rec it to people because there aren't enough out there about Sungjong!
but in any case- I've surfed through your other /tagged/thinky_thoughts entries (I'm assuming thats where you put your other metas/essays?) and haven't seen this topic yet. so i'm also really curious to hear your opinions about kpop idol image control, and if possible, esp since woollim got involved into SM ent.
Edited Date: 2014-09-01 08:42 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2013-03-15 01:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chanyeolanda.livejournal.com
I just read this (and ignored the gifs (I didn't (I saved every one)) but I pretended they weren't there bc I've been banned from gifs or anything that can use up a lot of data by my dad so yeah I'm just pretending they magically appeared on my harddrive and this is a text only post) and just.

Tbh not sure why I'm commenting bc I can't add anything of use or interest I'm just sitting here -I just saw one of the gifs is called sungjongisagod and yes he is but I digress- like internally flailing at the perfection of this post and just. Yes. Everything. Yes. I have a lot of Sungjong feels now. And Sunggyu feels but 41 Days has been on repeat for a while now and I was thinking intently about his voice earlier BUT THAT IS UNRELATED SO.

The whole way Korea- or at least the idol scene- often plays with androgyny and the gender bending idea is something that I find really fascinating, and why people find guys in dresses so amusing or weird or sickening in some cases was actually something I was thinking about the other day, because while it is the common mentality that dresses and skirts and excessive makeup are exclusively female (and yeah, it is something that is ingrained into my consciousness as well, I will admit) I was wondering why. I mean, at the end of the day, it's not necessarily because guys think pants are more comfortable (kaftans are pretty damn comfortable)- my dad had a friend who was given a dress and he'd wear it around and about, and even aside from that- like, I can't tell the difference between a female hanbok and a male hanbok (haven't really looked, I will admit) and in Arabic/Muslim countries (i may be completely wrong with my terms here idk please forgive me I do not know) those long white outfits are basically kaftans and it's not only females who wear them and I mean, kilts as well. Yes, the cuts are different and such but... I mean, even in the western culture, like, couple centuries ago (maybe a bit longer, idk, my fashion history isn't strong or existent really) a woman wearing pants would have been absolutely scandalous so who's to say that in a hundred years or so, maybe sooner, guys wearing dresses would just be completely socially acceptable?

I feel like. That was a complete non-sequitur so I apologise for that, but once again, thumbs up for this like majorly it was just so good and fascinating and yessss.

(as well as pretending this was a text only post I'm also going to be pretending I wasn't just stalking your journal so yeah kay cool)

(no subject)

Date: 2013-03-15 02:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chanyeolanda.livejournal.com
just read over this and yeah idk why i talk sometimes because i say something then read over it and i'm like 'i left out some pretty important points and i think a lot of that can be easily refuted' and i just don't have the motivation to elaborate bc i'm like why do i talk. kay cool. still an awesome meta post.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-03-29 02:05 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Hi. I am a huge fan of Infinite and Sungjong is my bias and your analysis here I think is the cat's pajamas. From the get go, I have felt that Sungjong has masked a lot of his pure intelligence under the cute maknae persona. He is, imo, by far one of the smartest if not the smartest of the 7 infinite boys and I think he is always thinking about how to get what he wants while also trying to help infinite and so on. I mean, just look at the fact that he got the best room in the new dorm. Tell me that is not getting what he wants. And moreover, everyone else in the group seems to adore him. *smiles* This article is a treasure for the Sungjong fan. You go girl. :)

(no subject)

Date: 2013-03-29 02:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] penny-lane-42.livejournal.com
Oh, thank you! I'm really glad you enjoyed it! Sungjong is a wonder, and I agree that he's one of the smartest in the group--and definitely the most given to fostering that intelligence, if the fact that he reads widely is anything to go by.

I think he is always thinking about how to get what he wants while also trying to help infinite and so on

I agree. He's INCREDIBLY savvy, but not in a ruthless way--he balances getting what he wants with also being good to those around him. It's really admirable. And I can't imagine anyone not adoring him!

Thanks for the comment!

(no subject)

Date: 2013-06-24 02:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] phaedresgarden.livejournal.com
I've read this a dozen times. It's probably the thing that brought me to your door in the first place because I adore it so so much. I know nothing about gender studies and whatnot. But what I do know is that Sungjong's performance and everything about how he presents himself recently underscores pretty much everything you said. He accommodates fans by being cute and winking and throwing hearts and all that stuff, that is pure and clear fanservice and he doesn't mind doing it, you can tell by the way he does it so seamlessly and in a way guilelessly. There's a purity about it in the same way that Woohyun's playing to fans is, in my eyes. In both cases, it's an idol doing his best to pay back the fans who allow him to do the thing he loves most in the world by offering his best fanservice.

I believe you are totally right, Sungjong loves to be told he's pretty and beautiful and lovely and fierce. He sucks up praise like a sponge and will work his ass off to get it. But, if someone doesn't give him that praise, he's come to a point to be able to shrug it off whereas perhaps earlier in his life that might have been something he took more personally. I think also you're right that he actually dares you to laugh in this performance and some of the other things he's done.

We know he went with Sungyeol and Hoya to see SNSD and he's friends with Seohyun from SNSD, so I think he's genuinely a fan of that group. Which is probably why the last few girl group dances I've seen him do are from that group. Twinkle, We Bring The Boys Out and I Gotta Boy. I think he is a fan of that group and just like a FEMALE fan of the group would learn the dances, he does too. It's actually dumb if you think about it that enjoyment of a group or of a song or of a particular dance routine should be separated by gender and I think that's what Sungjong thinks too.

Also, I think that Sungjong's movements are all just a bit more flamboyant and showy than someone else's might be, especially when he dances. I am thinking back to a comment that Hoya made about Man in Love and how the choreography wasn't as tight and synchronized because they were trying something new. (hence the New Challenge of the title to the album) He then went on to say something about "if Sungjong wanted to make bigger movements that was okay and if he wanted to be more precise that was okay" and so on, leading me to believe that Sungjong is a bit more big with his movements. He has so much natural grace and I think dance for him is something he can just go with, to an extent. (Why is it okay for girls to love dance but not boys? Isn't that how Sungjong was found in the first place from doing girl group dances?)

I also think that Sungjong has accepted in his own mind that he's never going to be tall and muscular which would be "normal" masculinity. He doesn't like to sweat that much, lol. And he's just not built like that. He will probably get wider in the shoulders, get a bit more muscle tone etc, but he's just got a slim and rather petite (Though he's the same height as Myungsoo) body type. (I also read somewhere that early on he got a lot of pressure about his weight and eating, he had baby fat really, he was only fifteen or sixteen when he became a trainee) So, he has to think to himself, this is my body, this is who I am, how can I make that work for me. I'm not tall like Sungyeol so I can't really work the modeling angle (though I think he does make a beautiful model) And I think the whole idea of taking a "feminine" thing and making it about a man, an adult, an in your face sexual being in his own way, is part of how he deals with that. He's taking the idea of being a man making it his own rather than trying to fit into a mold he just will never fit in. I think what I love so much about Sungjong is that I think he's so himself and even in his life and career and whatnot, he's still himself.

Being comfortable with yourself is always so attractive, don't you think?

(was writing this when i got your comment about pimping or whatnot and now i'm falling asleep... i have weird sleep issues)

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