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Tuesday, 1 October 2013


Privacy is a fluid word- it's meaning, flowing, altering slightly with each user. Most dictionaries would define it along the lines of being free from intrusion, outside observation or disturbance.

Of course, all of this is very subjective. Who and what I consider disturbing or intrusive, might be very different from what you consider disturbing. To tell the truth, it's a word I never gave much thought to, other than using it for myself. I know I am a private person. I enjoy other peoples' company but in short doses. Overly gregarious, happy people give me a headache.

I value my personal space tremendously and do not appreciate other people encroaching it. I am equally possessive of my body. I don't care who looks at my arms, legs or face but the rest of me is mine alone.

Or so I thought. Medical staff don't care for such high notions of privacy. A day at the hospital and what started out feeling like sacrilege, quickly becomes the norm. Other people take over caring for your bodily functions and all aspirations of dignity are quickly discarded along with your clothes.

Privacy is a privilege that not everyone enjoys. People who are unwell, prison inmates, and the very, very poor do not have the same privacy, the rest of us assume as a right.

What we consider private, varies from person to person as well. I am comfortable in sleeveless shirts and shorts but another woman might not be. I do not cover my hair while some women would not dream of stepping out of the house with their hair uncovered.

To have nurses poke and prod in areas, I consider private, filled me with shame. Perhaps, asking a woman who is accustomed to covering her hair, to remove her hijab might be as demeaning?

A person should have a right to be comfortable in their own space and person; without making other people uncomfortable. Something as simple as being "free" from disturbance and intrusion sometimes feels like a slice of heaven.

And if you doubt me, please have yourself booked for a colonoscopy!

1 comment:

  1. my privacy is never private because my sister finds it necessary to lift my shirt up in a grocery store and thinks she has every right to walk into my room and look through my stuff. She thinks she can attempt to pull my pants down, or hit me in the chest. Yet if I do the same to her, it's a huge invasion of privacy.