One of Gay’s main points in “A Tale of Three Coming Out Stories” is that there are unrealistic social pressures for LGBTQ community members with noteriety. At the same time as she is passionately expressing this, she is unknowingly pressuring a gay celebrity who at the time was closeted. Gay writes “I do not know the man. Maybe he is homophobic, maybe he isn’t. I do know that he doesn’t think about language very carefully” when discussing rapper Tyler the Creator’s use of homophobic slurs. Her assumption that Tyler is a heterosexual man is in direct contrast to her point that celebrities shouldn’t feel obligated to discuss their sexuality publicly. The use of slurs in his songs is likely a reflection and commentary of his life experiences as a homosexual man, for Gay to assume his sexuality is somewhat a contradiction. While Gay points out an important point of the continuing deep rooted culture prejudice and injustice, she is forgetting her main argument and perpetuating the assumption and lack of privacy. Tyler, The Creator, who also does not come from a place of privilege alike to Frank Ocean, has important perspective that is forgotten in this piece: that it is difficult to give up these privacy, and all public figures still struggle with the issues of injustice. Privacy and publicity is a complicated balance, and the assumptions we make with it persist to perpetuate injustice though we may try and fight it.
Roxanne Gay begins her piece “A Tale of Three Coming Out Stories” analyzing the increasing lack of privacy, especially for public figures, in today’s culture. We desire to know everything in their lives’, from their sexuality to intimate details of their relationships, despite not quite having the authority. Gay associates the public as “we”, creating a common and more subjective critique of this crave of knowledge We assume its the sacrifice they make for fame and fortune. However, we forget that these public figures are still human, and often just figuring it out for themselves too.
Gay analyzes the three coming out stories of Anderson Cooper, Frank Ocean, and Sally Rider. All different types of celebrities, with different stories, in different places. However, with their publicity of their sexuality, they were able to “stand up and be counted”. This is an integral part of the quest for LGBTQ rights. Often we already love the celebrity, and thus, their sexuality brings more to light and has helped to normalize the issues. Their fame creates a responsibility- they are in a place where they can come out and help the issues, but not all are so lucky. Between hate crimes and hatred, depending on where you are, it can be literally dangerous to come out. While the privacy is an important right, the publicity of coming out can change lives and help with the civil rights of the entire movement
However, in order to complete address the movement, society as a whole must do more. We should no longer be allowed to normalize and be okay with anything but acceptance.
If you surveyed average adults and asked what they want most in life and what they fear the most, a large number of those results would be “love” and “loneliness”. Love is undoubtedly a centerpiece of society, and the distinguishment between platonic love and romantic love makes a difference. As Michael Cobb argues in “The Supreme Court’s Lonely Hearts Club”, the sexual attraction and lust ultimately plays a piece in this. It orders society, thus people’s aspirations, ultimately alienating even the happiest and loved single individual. With the Supreme Court’s distinction of marriage to equate lack of loneliness, one must ponder the implications of this argument. Although all good-hearted people would agree that same-sex marriage and marriage equality should protected, why must this be justified by designating people “equal dignity in the eyes of the the law? (page 3)
Every human spends at least some portion of their life as single, and this is an inescapable fact. Even if it is not their fault (due to death or betrayal by the partner), one eventually falls into the 50.2% of American adults. Yet, when one is included in this grouping, the rest of society seems to inflict a form of pity on them. Cobb mentions a time when his grandmother, on her deathbed, begged him to get married (page 4). The insecurity derived from this makes one insecure, despite how happy they might be. Even if the solidarity is by their own happy choosing (asexuality, focusing on other aspects, wanting to avoid heartbreak, happy with familial love), from Justice Kennedy to marriage benefits to deep down emotions, seem to pressure us to crave mutual attraction.
Marriage certainly comes with numerous material and emotional benefits. And with Justice Kennedy’s new designation that Cobb is critiquing and outlook on marriage, we are only more desperate and reliant on love. But Michael Cobb utilizes personal evidence and anecdotes to question this as a happy single person. It is trivial to depend your life and maximum happiness and fulfillment on one person. Cobb argues that “simply being yourself- your single self- is already the fundamental form of dignity”, and I agree that we should hold our own individuality and autonomy to a higher esteem. No one would argue that sexual attraction is not the most important aspect of a person, and thus, we should not act and govern ourselves and society as though it is.
“Against Love: A Polemic”, by Laura Kipnis, explores a cynical and controversial view of modern love. She points out that throughout history, the everlasting, dreamt-about love seems to be a misconception and unreliable. Through her employment of the word “you”, irony, and comedic relief, her critical view become more relatable, and thus, more persuasive. Although her dark beliefs are unappealing to most, her rhetoric devices help to recognize that they are not quite wrong. As she points out, there are aspects to love and relationships that simply are enological and unsustainable in the long term. Infidelity, lack of passion, mutuality, rebellious midlife crosses, and complete vulnerability seem like easy sacrifices in modern society and relationships; yet on closer inspection, they are challenges for most people in some degree, leading us to chastise the victims.
An interesting and intriguing evidence Kipnis provides is her twenty-eighth paragraph, in which she repeatedly uses “you” tense and relatable relationship experience to prove that love is hard. It is dictated by what one “can’t” do, instead of can. She believes modern love is reliant on domesticity, and thus, it is a power structure at play. Love in Kipnis’s eyes is full of flaws, and these flaws outweigh the benefits any relationship may have. However, it would be foolish to discount the full value of love. Love is complicated, but it gives people purpose and satisfaction that is crucial to the human experience. It is crucial to ones’ emotional life, although it should be reevaluated. While the contemporary love story may have faults and unfortunate intricacies, many of the same writing techniques could be used to support “In Favor of Love”.