Don't let your schooling interfere with your education.
~ Pete Seeger

Monday, May 26, 2008

A Question of Privacy

In my work I view the plans of the houses that are soon to be built. I see about a fifth of the new houses built in my city, so I think I've got a pretty good idea of current housing trends. I've noticed, for instance, that almost every new full bath is designed with a little sub-room separating the toilet from the rest of the bathroom.

It's not a style I particularly care for. I find the use of materials for the extra room to be wasteful and unnecessary, and the tiny rooms so created to be claustrophobic and uncomfortable. Besides, I enjoy interacting with my family while one of us is sitting on the can, and when I want privacy, I can always ask for it. My boys aren't shy about that at all. They tell me in no uncertain terms when they want the bathroom to themselves, and for the most part, I find it easy to respect their desires. (I might not find it so easy if they were teenage girls.)

I can't imagine that it isn't even easier in these new houses, which all have two bathrooms, and more often than not, three or more.

It's not that I don't value privacy. Every time I use a public ladies' room, I'm very grateful for the privacy of the stalls – even as I frequently talk with friends on the other side.

The question that does interest me, though, is this: What does it say about our society that we have come to value a standard of privacy from our most intimate family members that is greater than the privacy we expect and ask for from the public at large?

1 comment:

ajandmac said...

I think you're onto something. We have become a very private society that values our alone-time. Even amongst spouses and kids, so many people hide things and keep private issues from one another. So sad, but I'm not sure of any solutions.

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.
~Helen Keller

Reading List for Information about Transpeople

  • Becoming a Visible Man, by Jamison Green
  • Conundrum, by Jan Morris
  • Gender Outlaw, by Kate Bornstein
  • My Husband Betty, by Helen Boyd
  • Right Side Out, by Annah Moore
  • She's Not There, by Jennifer Boylan
  • The Riddle of Gender, by Deborah Rudacille
  • Trans Liberation, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transgender Emergence, by Arlene Istar Lev
  • Transgender Warriors, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transition and Beyond, by Reid Vanderburgh
  • True Selves, by Mildred Brown
  • What Becomes You, by Aaron Link Raz and Hilda Raz
  • Whipping Girl, by Julia Serano
I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men's hands even at the height
of their arc of anger
because we have finally realized there is just one flesh to wound
and it is His - the Christ's, our
Beloved's.
~Hafiz