Customising the Body



By went through the lecture notes of “Customizing & the Social Body”, and video documentary, “Paris is Burning”, I have attached very deep emotions into the topic. When I was watching the documentary on YouTube, many memories from my past flashed through from scenes to scenes.

First of all, as I was born in Hong Kong, which it carried quite a traditional but yet a modern social background, I didn’t grow up having a profound knowledge of homosexuality and bisexuality when I was very young.

However, I have been growing my interest and sensitivity in identities from my career in modeling, acting and singing for over a decade until now. To capture the scenes that are related to the topic, it must be my 10-year dance experiences. There was one time when I was still in my beginning stage of my career; I needed to perform in a dance show for an internal Halloween event. During the time, a boy group (also singers from the same record label) was the choreographers for the performance, as they began their career as professional dancers, I was inspired and learned a lot from them. The scene was a burlesque dance performance of the night, and the routine was choreographed by two of the male members from the group. What have amazed me was not only they could create a very feminine and yet sexy routine for me, but they have also demonstrated every movements to show me how I should deliver my expression. I kept playing back the video I recorded during my rehearsals and realized their femininity was extremely genuine, natural and even more feminine than female. One thing I want to make it very clear is, they are both heterosexual and had given me an infinite imagination and courage as a female performer.

When I was having dance training in Los Angeles, I met a very passionate Hong Kong dancer Carmen Cheung. After Los Angeles, she went to New York and got inspired by the Voguing culture. After all she was the one who introduced Voguing to the Hong Kong dance scene. She invited me to be the styling judge of her Voguing event, catwalks, dance battles. During the show, customized costumes were being shown in the event. The winner of the contest was Milton Lopes, his status is homosexual; during the time he just moved to Hong Kong and he is also a heel dancer / choreographer. He came to the competition with a turquoise sequined mesh top and shorts with high heels, not only that, his performance was flawless. Other than Voguing was being introduced during the time, many gay dancers from the whole dance scene also inspired me. I have witnessed many of them who were more feminine, fierce, wild, sexy and fearless than any of the female dancers. Under the topic of “Paris is Burning”, I have interviewed Milton Lopes about how this had influenced or inspired him; he said, “Paris is burning is helping me to understand more about the history of Voguing and what people believe and struggles they had to go through in life to realize their dreams. Yes, it’s a true inspiration when comes to be a fighter and never give up…it helped me to understand more about the gay community in NYC and realize my generation and then coming one should have no fear to express themselves as a person and as a gay man.”

I took this opportunity to dig into the cause of homosexuality. Prior Harvard neuroscientist, Simon LeVay, in his research, “Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why: The Science of Sexual Orientation”, mentioned a structure called INAH3, which controls sexual behavior in the hypothalamus of the brain; he had also discovered that this structure inclined to be smaller in homosexual men than heterosexual man. This finding proves the nature of human and being homosexual is not a choice.

While reading Judith Butler’s essay, “Imitation and Gender Insubordination”, the whole “no original gender expression” theory links to what I have experienced. I started to understand more of the concept of feminism. But however, what we cannot change at the moment is the notion of the social gender construction.



Butler J 1990, “Imitation and Gender Insubordination” in Seidman S & Alexander J 2001, The New Social Theory Reader: Contemporary Debates, Routledge NY

Francois, J. (2016). Customising & the Social Body.

I want to believe. (2016). [image] Available at: [Accessed 6 Nov. 2016].

*PARIS IS BURNING. (2016). [image] Available at:*paris%20is%20burning [Accessed 6 Nov. 2016].


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