Storytelling and Visibility

“I like it when our stories change when we share them with new people. I like that their stories will be different.” (Khor, 239).

Through this page, Khor emphasizes the significance of stories, especially in connection with their Author’s Note where they describe how The Legend of Auntie Po is “a story about who gets to own a myth” (Khor, 285). The utilization of the word “change” reveals the complexities of stories in that they figuratively metamorphize overtime especially because of the audience that they are exposed to, which in turn, impacts the perceived intention behind them. By including Mei as the protagonist of the graphic novel, as a queer Chinese American girl, Khor demonstrates how queer stories, and stories comparable to that of Mei, constantly evolve and through sharing these stories provides a sense of hope that more visibility will be provided to the LGBTQ community. Khor highlights the distinctness associated with the queer experience, by stating that the stories “will be different” and they will take on new forms which coincides with Eve Sedgewick’s explication of the way that queer can be defined and how queerness represents possibility. This sense of possibility can be seen through Mei’s character where, although Auntie Po is a figment of her imagination, Mei has the power and ownership to shape both her fiction and reality. The recognition of Mei’s privilege in being able to own her myth illustrates how Khor is actively promoting the idea that queer people and people of color have voices that deserve to be raised, voices that deserve to be heard, and voices that matter.

On top of highlighting the importance of the queer experience, the imagery featured within this page, including the different individuals gathered around the bonfire, demonstrates how Khor provides visibility to Mei’s Chinese culture and the traditions connected to her culture as well. In this way, Khor is accentuating the intricacies of Mei’s identity as a queer Chinese American girl by bringing to light that her story is distinct from her father’s story as Chinese immigrant. Moreover, the fact that Mei is represented within the group around the bonfire exhibits how her queerness, although not explicitly stated and revealed to the other characters, does not need to isolate her and separate her from experiencing a sense of community.

Mei’s experiences as a queer Chinese American girl can be comparable to that of a character named Aneesa represented in a Netflix series called Never Have I Ever. Although this show had the potential to provide visibility to Indian and Asian communities and the queer experience, it definitely falls very short in terms of promoting this representation in an authentic manner. With that being said, Aneesa, like Mei, needs to grapple with her queer and Asian identity, which at times, seem to conflict with each other which demonstrates the complexities of intersectionality and embracing multiple identities. Even though being queer is one aspect of their identities, they are a lot more than their sexuality and although Aneesa is in high school, both her and Mei are young girls that have a lot more room to grow and in gaining experiences to better understand who they are and what they want in life.

One thought on “Storytelling and Visibility”

  1. I really like your analysis about how queer people and the minority can own their own myth and how you describe it as privilege. In the Legend of Auntie Po, Bee can’t see Auntie Po, and only people of color can see her. By showing this, the author also shows that sometimes the existence of discrimination, racism, and class not only keep the minority from fitting into the mainstream, but also keep the people who have privilege from understanding other groups of people.

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