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Representation: queerness through Eugene Yang


I'm gay - Eugene Yang

Yang's coming out video on YouTube strikingly portrays the crippling experience of a queer child growing up in a dysfunctional family. For my analysis, I only use the first scene from his video (attached above) and will use Hall's notions about "cultural codes" and "representation" to elaborate on what Yang explores in his video through music, dance, and vibrant imagery.

First, Yang uses an unconventional narrative design to assert his queerness through his self-structured choreography and use of tonal music instead of a narrative style that depends on scripted dialogues to express emotions that he has suppressed for years. Consequently, Yang relies on an "unorthodox" form of storytelling to tell an "unorthodox" story because perhaps that is the only way to create the nuance yet nebulous impact of a queer upbringing in a dysfunctional family. Interestingly, this notion, where he never explicitly "comes out" in the video, yet the audience can relate to his experiences, is where Hall's idea of "cultural codes" is at play (Hall 4).


Hall tells us that "cultural codes" involve "systems of representation" which incorporate "concepts, images, and emotions" alluring to facets of life experiences present in one culture or multiple cultures (Hall 4). Concurrently, Eugene uses Hall's idea about representation in his video to present to us a cultural ostracization of queerness prevalent in a growingly globalized society. The patriarchal figurehead who is frustrated because of the burden to provide takes out this frustration on Lang in the video, who is at the cusp of exploring his queerness, but this scrutiny is not only against Eugene; instead, it is a story for many queer people who grow up in the globalized society of today.

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