When I say this in my head it’s always sung as if it’s the lyrics to the Divinyls song Pleasure and Pain.
There’s a fine line between privacy and shame, I’ve said it once, I will say it again.
I will however try to explain.
Privacy = a state in which one is not observed or disturbed by other people
Privacy is an important and basic human right. The desire to not be observed or disturbed by other people applies in varying degrees to different people depending on their culture and upbringing. Some people want to do almost everything in private while others seem to need very little privacy at all. While we are generally accepting of this, the problem arises when one person’s lack of privacy offends another.
Shame = a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behaviour
Shame has a place in the wide spectrum of human emotions and we all feel it at times, however there seems to be a lot of shame going around. People shame themselves and more commonly others. Some people believe that their idea of what is ‘proper’ is the only way to exist and they shame others who do not fit into their arbitrary mould.
There is a delicate dance between privacy and shame. We all need privacy but in teaching privacy to people (particularly young people) we can unwittingly teach shame alongside it.
For example, everyone poops but there is a lot of shame connected with the act of pooping. Women in particular pretend they don’t poop and go to great lengths to disguise their natural bodily functions. Lets face it – if you didn’t poop you would die… literally (and I don’t mean literally the way the Kardashian’s use it… I mean the literal use of literally). The same can be said for farting, sex or expression of sexual desire, independence, menstruation, being different, weird toes, third nipples… the list could go on and on.
I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but if we could keep in mind what our lessons are teaching our young friends then maybe we could minimise the shame speech and be aware of the effects our lessons have on others.
Also, maybe we could all be a bit kinder to ourselves and do our best to not shame ourselves quite so much.