Fans, Sashes, and Jesus : Evagelical activism and anti-LGBTQ performance in South Korea

Soo Ryon YOON

Research output: Book Chapters | Papers in Conference ProceedingsBook ChapterResearchpeer-review


Women are dancing. It is a humid and sultry June afternoon. The women’s bangs, although their hair is neatly made into buns, keep sticking to their sweaty foreheads. With both hands, they each hold two large, half-circle fans adorned with artificial neon-pink feathers along the outer edges and printed with flowers painted a similar pink hue. They make quick steps in one direction in a single line, but then shift swiftly from the row to make five rings of six dancers each. In unison, each group forms a shape that is supposed to resemble a fully blossomed mugunghwa 무궁화 (rose of Sharon), the national flower of South Korea. Their arms hold the unfolded fans outward as they kneel halfway to the ground, after which they shake of their hands to flutter the fans, creating tiny petals moving in a wavelike pattern and thus becoming vibrant, blossoming flowers in motion. They quickly rise again to form another ring, this time turning their bodies inward and raising their right arms toward the center to erect a pistil-like core, still going around clockwise in circles. Most of the women appear young, but others are middle-aged. Their facial expressions vary—some violently cry in exaltation, while others smile gleefully. Some are mouthing the lyrics of the song heard in the background coming from a loud speaker: “Oh, the glory of beautiful God, we hear the roar of victory.” A few, with their eyes shut, chins held up slightly toward the sky, holler “Yesu! ” ( Jesus!), while their feet move constantly to make their bodies twirl unstoppably.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCorporeal Politics : Dancing East Asia
EditorsKatherine MEZUR, Emily WILCOX
PublisherUniversity of Michigan Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780472126941
ISBN (Print)9780472054558, 9780472074556
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


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