Blessings & Curses.
Much has been said about Yoona being the center of SNSD. A lot of people have shared their views and opinions that sometimes it makes the entire topic itself redundant. But then again, if we look beyond the surface, the issue of Yoong being the center of SNSD covers much depth that I believe we can talk about it forever but we will never be able to fathom its real impact on Yoong and the people surrounding her.
I will try to do away with enumerating all the pros and cons of her being the face since I believe Yoonadicts basically have a clear idea of what it feels. Instead, I will give a humble attempt to scratch beyond the surface of the usual good and bad things about it.
To be blunt, I’d say, Yoona has the heaviest job among all So Nyu Shi Dae members.
True, Taeyeon is the leader and a leader has to deal with managing the members. I salute Taengoo for being able to do that. Even if she claims that the members do not really need her watching over them since they are responsible enough, I still believe that she plays a pivotal role of being the backbone of the group. The last remaining strand of the whole SNSD tapestry. Taeyeon, as the leader, has to be consistently strong; for as a leader, everything about SNSD will reflect on her.
In as much as our kid leader has this heavy responsibility, I think every SONE or any SNSD-member fan should at least give due respect to Yoona for the responsibility that she is holding. For when Kim Taeyeon carries the blame for something SNSD as a group did, Im Yoona’s one slight mistake affects the entire group in itself.
You see, as the face of SNSD, Yoona stands on the frontline. The nine girls are there; the camera follows. But who’s on the center? It’s Yoong. They attend some variety show; three or four members are present. Who ends up having more time when the show airs? It’s Yoona.
Because of this, people have this tendency to blame the girl for what is happening. But what they fail to see is that this is what’s Yoona’s job is for. This is her responsibility. This is HER ROLE. And in as much as we love it, hate it, or what, IT WILL NOT CHANGE.
Nevertheless, I pose this question. Had it ever occur to such people how this kind of treatment actually affects Yoona? Had they ever wondered how she might feel with the camera constantly shoved on her face? Had it ever cross their mind that this is the heaviest responsibility to be ever given to a person?
Yoona, being the face, the center, the one who the world revolves around to, brings the name SNSD. One wrong move for her and the entire group gets the blame. You see how the mechanics work? For the leader, when the group, holistically, does something negative, she has to live up with being called a bad leader unless she does something right. But for Yoona, she MUST always STRIVE to be flawless or else the entire group will suffer for her mistakes.
It took me quite a long time to understand this but to stress my point, I will use an analogy here. Have you observed why much respect is given to the men who stand in the frontline during the time for battle? Because they are the one who gets the lashes first. They have to be brave AND they have to be strong.
And this is where my respect for Yoona comes in. As part of her job, she has to constantly check herself. She has to be forever flawless. She has to be perfect. But you know what makes Yoona so special? She does not care about being perfect AT ALL.
In television shows, awards shows, or any media conferences, she’s always this quiet lady with that pretty smile on her face no matter how hungry, tired, or pissed off she is. She maintains the innocent and angelic image that she is supposed to have. But when the camera for formal events stop rolling, we get to see the Yoona that is special to all of us. The Im Yoona with her alligator mouth, Ahn Youngmi gags, endless pranks, and insatiable appetite. We see the real Yoona. And boy is that Yoona far from perfect! But have you observed how, in those moments when she’s around her members, when she’s laughing out loud like there’s no tomorrow, when she shoves food into her mouth, those are the moments when she is happiest? Those moments, when she is as flawed as your six-year old next door neighbor with ice cream stains on her shirt and muddy prints on her shoes, those are the times that she shines the most. That’s the time that she becomes perfect.
I believe Yoona deserves every respect for being able to hold that choding in her and be that elegant, sweet girl when the camera turns her way. She deserves every amount of respect for being able to stand strong, in having that responsibility despite being one of the maknaes of the group. She deserves the respect for in every blow that is targeted for the group, she has to receive it first.
Let’s talk about the issue of Yoong being “your every oppa’s ideal girl”. At first, I was a bit puzzled on why idols choose her as their Ideal Girl. Yes, Yoong is pretty and nice and witty but with all the female groups out there, there’s gotta be one person they’d like apart from her, right? It was a mystery, actually. But in that SGB episode when Yuri said that even if Yoona gets picked as ideal girl, no idol has actually tried to pursue her or even show signs of actually liking her, I was shocked. The realization suddenly dawned on me and I feel like giving Yoona a hug.
It’s as if Yoona is the default Ideal Girl. And you know what that implies? She’s the girl most fitting for an ideal girl role that even if it’s downright ridiculous how almost the entire male population share similar taste, people won’t notice it. She is the girl you should choose because she has this long list of haters from time immemorial and it will not hurt if she gets another hundred on that list. Choose her because it is the safest most common answer and she is the perfect scapegoat so that the media will stop bothering you for an ideal girl. Choose her because it’s her job to be chosen.
Isn’t that sad?
And come to think of it, no other idol has suffered as much for being center as her. Super Junior does not have ‘specific’ center. SHINEE and f(x) does not have one. TVXQ has Jaejoong but it’s unofficial. I do not know about other groups but if you look at it, for every ten people who’ll hear of SNSD for the first time in their lives, there’d be one or two who’d go “WHY IS THAT GIRL ALWAYS ON THE CENTER?” and of course, her antis list grows longer.
I believe this is quite a sensitive topic but since we’ve already touched on that, let’s talk about antifans. Who do you think gets the largest amount of anti-fans in SNSD? This may be debatable in regards to Fany, Taeng, Sica, and Yoong but have you observed how out of all four, Yoong gets hated only for the stupid fact that she sits at the center of SNSD? (To give light to new fans, Fany/Taeng got their antis mostly from their so-called “rude” moments and Sica got hers for being an “Ice Princess”)
It’s like an unspoken rule in this dirty kpop-world; it is sad, yes. But it happens.
People react negatively as if the girl specifically asked to be there on the first place. I know it kinda gets tiring when Yoong gets all the attention while our favorite members remain on the sides, but honestly, that’s not even a logical reason to hate her.
Sure, sure, the reason of “cameras are the ones following her” is deemed cliché but I will repeat that again for this article. However, apart from that, y’know why Yoona still demands your respect? For even if the cameras are following her, you’ll never see her stop just to face the camera alone; she’ll always be on the run following the girls, or if not, surrounded by them.
Do you know about that certain awards show wherein the SuJu boys are constantly pulling her into the middle for the photo-ops but she keeps coming back to where the other members are standing? Then when they pulled her for the nth time and she can’t return in time to the girls as the cameras started flashing, she pulled Seobaby with her? How about the time when she said that she wishes other members will be given the chance to shine on variety shows, particularly Hyo? Remember when she gushed about how funny Kim Choding really is and that PDs should really give her a chance? I’m sure we are all familiar of the story on how actress Yoong got an award and after thanking the people for supporting her; she added “please support SoNyuhShiDae too”. Isn’t it funny how she can easily make it big on her own but she always strings that name So Nyuh Shi Dae to her name? Always introducing herself as SNSD’s Yoona and never Im Yoona?
That’s an example of how she remains rooted to the earth. I guess that says a lot about her and how she deals with her popularity. Yoona knows that even if Sooyoung is the spokesperson of SNSD whose ability to string words will always amaze people, one statement from her is enough to cause a headline. And because of this, she uses it not to her advantage, but for the entire group herself. Never the one who hogs the spotlight. And it really hurts that she is made to look that way.
I salute Yoona for being strong. Her physical strength has always been a hot topic but I rarely see people discuss about the strong moral fiber this girl has.
Though still considered a rumor since Yoong never really talked about this, I think it’s an open secret between Yoonaddicts how Yoong’s mom left her when she was young. There might have been a divorce or some misunderstanding that falls along that line between her parents but at the end of the day, the sparkling truth remains, Im Yoona does not have a mother. This is the safest assumption that we can have.
And in speaking of that, I mean the existence of a motherly figure behind her all through these years. In the sense that I felt heartbroken upon learning that Sooyoung’s mother never really wanted her as a daughter for she wants a son, the pain is deeper when we talk about Yoona who never really had the chance to feel the love of a mother at all. At least Sooyoung’s mom has accepted the fact of having her as a daughter and went on showering her all the love in the world. In Yoong’s case, it’s different. She is not the type to talk about familial relations but we have heard about her father and sister, but as for her mother, there’s none. Reminds me during Sukira back in 2009 when Leeteuk asked them about their song Dear Mom, the girls were all crying talking about their moms but Yoona kept her silence. I guess the others know about it since they never pushed the topic on her but it makes me wonder what she actually felt when they were singing the song. Was she really indifferent? For all the years growing up without one that she doesn’t feel any pain at all when talked about matters like this. Or was she a little bit envious? Of how the girls all have their loving parents with them and that Fany, although orphaned with her mother, had felt what it is like to have one. Was she sad? That even if her mother is still alive, it’s as good as if she has died because they never even talked with one another?
Things like that. And in a highly traditional country like Korea, family matters are very important. Some parents even go to the point of researching a future in-law’s family tree to make sure that their offspring is being given a worthy spouse. Family is a very important factor which is why being an orphan or coming from a broken family is quite an issue that people can even use it against you.
It might be the reason why Yoona, in as much as possible, tries to live up in debunking the stereotype of “a bad child because s/he does not have a parent to guide her/him”. It makes perfect sense how when asked what she wants to do most after SNSD, she said that she wants to be a good wife and perfect mother. Probably to make up for all the things that she has never experienced. This kind of attitude, the kind which instead of the option to repeat history; she has made it a point to make sure that her child will never experience the suffering that she has gone through.
I believe that she makes up the absence of her mother to the presence of the girls around her. And this is the reason why I believe that even if all girls pitch on the “nothing without nine” slogan, Yoona will always be the one who hopes till end that it will forever remain that way. Even if she has her separate activities, she will always prefer going back to the dorm and see her eight sisters slash mothers waiting for her. Even when So Nyuh Shi Dae disappears, her friendship with Kim Taeyeon, Jung Sooyeon, Lee Sunkyu, Hwang Miyoung, Kim Hyoyeon, Kwon Yuri, Choi Sooyoung, and Seo Joohyun will forever remain that way.
Remember when her skirt-lifting controversy with Tiffany came up? She mentioned being scared of cameras for a while. It’s understandable; with the press trying to follow her every move. Some fans still can’t believe that she actually had that camera-phobia with her being constantly surrounded by cameras. But can’t you see? That’s where her courage shows. That even if she actually had to worry about it, she still faced the world with that smile. The thing that actually amused me is how Yoona has had countless of controversies before but she notes that as the one she was scarred the most. She said that it distressed her as the controversy went to the extent that even her relationship with Tiffany was affected.
All that is part and parcel of her role as a center.
And it such a huge responsibility to keep up with the role indicated for her while maintaining that relationship with her members. To be the center of a nine-member group, there has got to be some ill feelings cultivated from the lesser acknowledged members, right?
For in as much as outsiders try to claim that they do understand, the bond that the girls share is something that we can never comprehend. That the closest thing we can make out of why there are no jealousy between the members and Yoona is because Yoona is never the type of person who will harbor negative feelings from other people towards herself.
Yoona does not appear as a person who is thirsty for fame. As I look at it, she is this normal girl who just happened to have the dream of being on a stage. She worked hard for that dream and that is where she is now. The cherry on top being her role as the center.
However, what most people fail to see is that being center, she gets to be the official ‘face’; but with this, it also means, she has to hold back in her singing and dancing. The ‘center’ role in itself is her responsibility, thus she is given lesser opportunities to show why she is standing at that stage. Giving her fewer opportunities to actually prove herself worthy of that ‘center’ role.
But instead of giving up, you see this girl doing her best in improving. She gets one line or two but she claims it as her own. She makes the most out of it, EVERY SINGLE TIME. She is a great dancer but people often forget that; which is why when she’s on stage, she burns it up and gives it her best shot.
She may not be SNSD’s best singer or dancer but when she gets the chance to prove herself, may it be modeling or acting, she grabs it. And for this attitude, KOREA LOVES HER. This may come off as a shock to you but most of Yoona’s antifans are actually non-Koreans (ie international fans). We see headlines about the girl leading a poll and being friends with Goo Hye Sun, Go Ara, and Lee Jongseok among others and some ask again why it’s her all over again.
Because Korea loves this girl.
Before, when people say that Yoona is talentless and useless and that she does not deserve to be the center of SNSD, I have this half-agreeing/half-disagreeing part in me. I guess it’s because I’ve been part of those people who gets blinded by the spotlight pointed at her. The brightness affects my sense of vision that I look at the dimmer part of the stage to get away from it. However, in doing so, I fail to realize that if a mere audience like me finds it blinding to look at such brightness, how much more does it feel for the person to whom that light is pointing to?
Im Yoona is a wonderful person. A fragile being. An innocent child. And this is why the girls are very protective of her. And I leave with the message that if our beloved favorites could get along with the idea of this Im Choding being the center, why can’t we?
They say her being a center is a blessing and a curse.
cr: Bam the Great@soshified.com