Author: Jefferson Xu

Unfortunate Responsibility

In “A Tale of Three Coming Out Stories”, Roxane Gay examines the privacy rights of celebrities and their influence on social issues such as homosexuality. Gay argues that by becoming more famous, there is a tradeoff with less privacy. This is because as humans, we are curious and want to know anything just for the sake of it. Celebrities are easy targets because they are always talked about and they are known to the public. However, Gay feels that it is wrong to strip the boundaries of these individuals because they are humans as well. I agree with her stance on that because some individuals that become famous never intended to. They were just doing what they love, and happened to be put in that position.

Because of their social position, we tend to put tremendous pressure on these celebrities to tackle social issues. A huge one would be “coming out the closet”, where so many individuals are coming out as gay, bisexual, etc. While it is amazing for progress and people are more comfortable now than ever to come out, it shouldn’t be the responsibility of those under the spotlight. We put an unfair amount of responsibility on these celebrities to change the world, but they are human beings as well. They never signed up to change the beliefs about homosexuality, and the first ones who did succumb to the social pressure definitely had to feel uncomfortable. However, as the saying goes “curiosity killed the cat”, someone has to pay for our need for information. As in this case, it is unfortunately the homosexual celebrities.

It’s Okay To Not Be Married

After reading “The Supreme Court’s Lonely Heart Club”, I agree with the annoyed stance Michael Cobb took on the government. The supreme court says marriage is needed to compensate for the loneliness and unhappiness when single. Justice Anthony Kennedy refers to all single people as worthless by saying, “Marriage responds to the universal fear that a lonely person might call out only to find no one there”. Immediately, the devil’s advocate plays in my head and Cobb’s as well. There are many people in the world who are just as happy as ones in marriages. Kennedy assumes all single people are lonely, but Cobb counters that by having many close loving relationships such as friendships and “close business partnerships”. The only difference is that they are not engaging in sex to make offspring. Why should sex and marriage dictate if we’re lonely? That seems very close-minded of a Supreme Court Justice to say.

Another idea that seemed very narrow-minded and unthoughtful was that since single people are lonely, they don’t have dignity as well. Their definition of dignity seems to exclude a copious amount of people, because not everyone is going to find their soulmate and be married. Cobb shows a statistic that states “you’ll be misunderstood as living a miserable, lonely life by the other 49.8 percent”. Dignity shouldn’t be defined as being in love, rather than doing something meaningful in the right way. There are many people who have accomplished something, without being married such as John Mayer. Who’s to say that he isn’t dignified in his own accomplishments?

What irks Cobb is that the government think they have the power to set a standard for relationships. I think that’s awful because how is one person going to dictate how another lives their life. There are many people who actively refuse to marry, and yet live a life that is happy to them.

The Power Dynamic of The Repression of Sex

In We “Other Victorians”, Foucault emphasizes the repression of sexuality and the power dynamic it has on humans. He introduces the repression by using historical basis of the Victorian era and how it hasn’t changed much since. During the Victorian era, spending energy on activities that distracted from work were not ideal. Sex was one of them and thus became an activity and discussion confined within a marriage. With the bourgeoisie controlling what and where sex can be discussed, the power dynamic shifted towards them. Foucault then also shows how this repression is relatively new, since it wasn’t common few centuries before the 18th.

However, the interesting part is that Foucault mentions how the repression still exists today. It’s hidden in the way we mention sexuality. In society, we openly talk about how we recognize the repression.  As humans, we have discussed of how we can’t discuss about sex or how we feel restricted. By conversing of these issues, it shows how repression is still controlling and we’re looking for a way to combat it. It seems that humans are revolting against the bourgeoisie that started this repressive practice many years ago. With that, the power dynamic seems to shift towards the other side.

With the many questions at the end, Foucault shows how he is fascinated by the “Why? “of the situation.  Why are interested in conversing about sex or, Why is there this innate rebellion? Foucault doesn’t get to the root of these questions in this chapter, but they are thought provoking. Also, it shows how Foucault is interested in going beyond the scope of the repression and finding out what is the driving force of it.

The Word “Can’t” For Unhappiness in Love?

“Against Love” by Laura Kipnis seems exactly how the title sounds. By attacking marriage and sex for being so laborious, Kipnis shows how love needs a lot of work and effort. She makes love seem worthless and sad by showing how happiness wouldn’t need much work to maintain. Kipnis shows this by explaining how couples that have been with each other for a while, still need to work to regain the exciting sexual passion that was once there in the beginning of the relationship. I like how she compares those people to “assembly-line workers” to show how tiring and redundant it is to “keep the passion alive” year after year.

Kipnis also shows how laborious marriage is by listing the many things one can’t do anymore in the relationship. I found some of the examples reasonable, but some didn’t seem bad enough to make a marriage unhappy. It made me think of personal marriages I know; there have been cases of none of these examples happening and yet, their marriages are failing with a divorce happening. Then, there are other cases where some of these examples do happen, and they’re still madly in love with each other. Does that mean some factors have more of an impact on our happiness with the partner? She says the word that matters is “can’t”, but what about the ones that can and are still unhappy with the love. Can’t the word “can” matter as well? Overall, I enjoyed reading this piece and it’s crazy to realize how love isn’t always as simple as we think it is.