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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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24020242
24020242
10 dic 2022

Thank you for your thoughtful words! I would also like to point out that towards the end, Eugene is wearing an elaborate blue ensemble, whereas the people shoving him around are either wearing black or white, and to me at least, that highlights the struggle of navigating a world that operates through black and white categories, and the essentialized understandings of gender and sexuality leave people like Eugene, who don't identify with these rigid categories, feeling rejected and isolated. The fluidity and plurality of his movements also celebrates queerness. Lastly, I would also like to talk about the scene right after this one, where Eugene is wearing an orange shirt and pants that immediately set him apart from everyone else…

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Absolutely, a lot of the discussions in class help deconstruct the very complex queer experience which I think has a hint of universality to it as well. You've picked on the idea of semiotics in relation to attire which reflect on an important aspect of the queer experience which often uses the guise of clothing where words are often unable to divulge the thoughts within of the queer person. I think in this context particularly clothing serves to mediate the frustration of the queer person who is always on the margins.


Like you've highlighted, Eugene is frustrated with the conflict of the queer praxis which often can be alienating and polarizing which the video foreshadows in the first scene wit…

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Iman Ahmad
Iman Ahmad
08 dic 2022

Firstly, I love the Try Guys, and I also think this video is incredibly curated and expressed. Relating to the concepts we learned in the class of different "signs" and "semiotics" that Stuart Hall expresses that give off different meanings -- I want to dissect the video further by focusing on the clothing and other visible facial expressions used to portray Eugene's identity. The fact that Eugene is wearing red already sets him apart from the rest of the family members sitting alongside him on the couch, wearing very dull colors in black and grey. Eugene's dress also defies gendered expectations of male dressing as it has a v-neck and slits along the bottom and in the sleeves -- something…


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I think the conversation that you started about intersectionality is very important because often we forget how queerness can be experienced in diverging ways with facets like race and in Eugune's case I think this is especially true because it is the classic Asian family which is represents where you have the "workaholic father" who is serving as the patriarch of the dysfucntional family in white America which can be very unforgiving to not only people that are queer but people that are considered part of the "model minorty". I think Eugene's experience would be impacted significantly with the expectations of white America which the media engenders and naturally creates an identity for him which can be damaging.

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