Insiya & Steph

Gay argues that our society obsesses over categorization of different aspects of character, including political orientation, gender identity, sexuality, and so on. She speculates that this obsession has become almost habitual, writing that, “we don’t know what to do when we don’t know the answers to these questions or, worse, when the answers to these questions do not fall neatly into a category.” Gay’s observation reveals our need for binary explanations of behavior, perhaps to simplify the complex nature of reality. She also expresses the discomfort people experience when having to deal with such complexities and ambiguities. Gay argues that people believe that categorizing people will alleviate this discomfort. This obsession with categorization, Gay argues, explains our expectation that celebrities will share their private lives just because they are in the public’s eye. This relates to her main argument where she asserts that humans have a desire to know about people’s private lives, as well as our fixation on placing people inside and outside of the norm, when in reality, the norm is much more convoluted than we want it to be.


  1. This paragraph is well written and does a great job of outlining Gay’s opinions on how categorization leads to the alleviation of our discomfort. There is sufficient evidence to back up your claim, and you do a good job of tying the paragraph back to Gay’s main point. It really is sad that society’s obsession with categorization forces those in the spotlight to be unwillingly outed and share information that they otherwise wouldn’t have.

  2. I think this paragraph is really good. I think it succinctly summarized most aspects of Gay’s piece. I especially liked the part where you guys talked about our obsession with “binary explanations of behavior” and how it translates into our need to know everything about a public figure in order to make ourselves feel more comfortable.

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