We live in a “show all, tell all, never blush, never hold anything in” society these days where privacy is increasingly becoming a thing of the past. The individual privacy of people is not respected and everybody seems to think it’s ok to ask others personal questions about their bodies, medical conditions, financial state and even their sex lives.
I’m getting quite sick of reading about so and so’s “post-baby body” and on and on. Apparently it’s something akin to female empowerment these days for women to discuss their post-pregnancy bodies and share pictures and I’ve even come across magazine articles with women doing that sort of thing. I remember when I was expecting how people would constantly harass me and ask me personal questions about my body and how I was feeling. Also afterwards people would come up to me and say things about me “fitting back into my jeans” and on and on. I would also look at people like “are you serious!?” when they would start telling me how they would “be there” during labor. I found it all so offensive. These things are private things and how dare anyone think they have the right to ask me (or any other woman for that matter) intimate questions about my personal body or think they have the right to intrude upon my privacy during birth as if my body is public property. My opinion always has been and still is today that if you weren’t invited when the child was conceived you aren’t invited when it’s born! And if you think a woman doesn’t care then you’re wrong. I cared very much about my privacy even during birth and labor would have been very difficult if not impossible without privacy where I could just relax. In times past only a midwife or doctor was with a woman giving birth while everyone else respectfully waited elsewhere but now we like to play “let’s-see-how-many-people-we-can-fit-into-the-delivery-room” these days. And everybody thinks they have a “right” to be there.
That being said my husband wasn’t there either and I always have this smile come to my face whenever I think about it. I like the fact that there’s a mystery surrounding it for him. There’s something special about it that I’ve carried a child, his child, inside of me and brought it into this world, yet it was all very private and it’s the little things he doesn’t know that give it this specialness and preciousness. It’s something I can whisper about in the dark, in those private moments, and the secrecy of it all gives it allure. I feel it actually empowers my femininity that it has always been private and shrouded in mystery. He knows I did it, but he’ll forever wonder just how I did it won’t he? A woman’s gotta have some secrets…
I always notice how when I watch older movies the word “pregnant” is never used even when talking about animals. Instead words such as “expecting” or “in the family way” are used. People today might think it silly but it was really just a way of respecting women. Also, if a woman was giving birth details were never talked about and the actual event was never shown. But today we live in a society where the cruder something is the funnier it is. Gone are the days when movies and shows could make you laugh to the point of tears without resorting to crude talk about body parts or bodily functions. There is no respect anymore. The squeaking bed of a cheap hotel room is funny. Childbirth is funny. A man being kicked between the legs is funny.
A woman’s body is special and precious and it is wholly inappropriate to ask for details about her pregnancy or birth or even about her menstrual cycle. It’s one thing to talk one on one with a close friend or relative but even here individual privacy can be violated so it is best to tread with care. In private I might help another woman, especially a younger woman or girl, with female issues and answer personal questions but this should always be in private and never in a group especially when men are present. Also I would never put a younger woman down or try to purposely scare her or something just out of spite the way I’ve seen so many older women do to younger women. That is just ridiculous.
Another thing is invading someone’s privacy when they have a medical condition or when an accident or misfortune has befallen them. We live in a time of instant global communication and every time there is an accident everybody wants to take pictures, share details, post on the web, etc… “Look someone’s house was destroyed by a tornado!” “Let’s get up close and film it and share the pictures with everyone!” How about having a little respect and minding your own business? If you aren’t part of a survey crew assessing damage then you have no business there unless you have truly come to offer your help. And if you’ve come to help you should still show the utmost respect for what is still another person’s property.
When someone has a medical condition their privacy should be respected. It is not the business of anyone else to ask them details they may not want to share. We may sympathize with them in private, keep them in our prayers and help if we can but it is really inappropriate to ask a bunch of details. A couple of years ago I had the grand misfortune of having to listen to my mother-in-law give all the details about a medical emergency that had recently befallen her at my little one’s birthday party! I was very uncomfortable with such a conversation but apparently I was the only one as everyone else chimed in to ask questions about her emergency room visit, surgery, treatments, medications, special problems with bodily functions, etc… Even among relatives there should be respect for other’s privacy.
I’ve even had women try to tell me about how to avoid certain female issues in the middle of public places before. One of my dad’s ex-girlfriends caught up with my husband in Wal-Mart and started telling him in the middle of the aisle about how I could avoid some down-there issues by just eating this food, etc… I mean, how the **** is that appropriate? And another one started giving me “advice,” at the kitchen table with others around, about childbirth. And they just love to disucss all the details of so-and-so having her baby. How about some respect, dignity and discretion please??
Also I am not going to sit there and talk about anything my husband might have done when he was younger or hear about his mistakes or laugh about it with anyone else. A woman should never talk about screw-ups her husband might have made or anything of the sort that would be putting him down or degrading him. I know it’s tempting to just “go with the crowd” and start talking about all of your significant other’s faults when you’re with the girls but a woman should always make a conscious effort to never say anything negative about her husband or share details about their life together that really should be kept private. My mother-in-law started talking about things my husband had done in the past (like speeding tickets, etc..) a couple of years ago and I just walked away. If she was looking for me to laugh along with her or find it humorous she was wrong.
A husband as well should have the same respect for his wife and he should most certainly never degrade her privacy when talking to others. I’ve heard some men even talk about their wives giving birth with others and I thought this was entirely rude and disrespectful. As well, all these songs I’ve heard about men talking about their wives giving birth are entirely disrespectful in my opinion. There are many good things that should be kept private too, not just bad things. (And it sure seems like men might actually have more respect for women if they were kept in the dark about female issues).
It is not the business of anyone else to ask about someone else’s finances. In times past men had their pride and they would often get very angry if their wives told about their financial problems to others or how they had lost their job or were behind. Asking for help or charity was also out of the question. Men had pride in being men and felt emasculated asking for help or having their wives go out to work to “help out.” That all seems to be lost today in our welfare culture where people like to brag about the assistance and welfare they receive. If someone asks me about how much money my husband makes or something they only ever receive vague answers. I would never tell anyone exactly how much money my husband makes or go around bragging if we were to receive assistance or something. In my opinion that is nothing to brag about. If anything it should be something to be embarrassed and ashamed about.
Privacy in times past was something very sacred and even old magazines often had articles about how to help keep the privacy of others. Now magazines invite you to tell all and show all and be the biggest loud-mouth you can be. Is it any wonder our culture is going in the gutter?
Strength and Dignity