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June 16, 2016

Do You Care About Your Privacy Anymore?

Naaila Khan

I might not be Kendall Jenner who grew up with cameras around her age 11 onward, but I understand what privacy means in my own contexts.

Privacy is when I’m on a crowded flight with just about enough wiggle room for my toes (a doctor friend’s tip if if you happen to get nauseous, btw – along with deep breaths), but my co-passenger and I are putting up this strange act as if our arms weren’t squeezed within an inch of their lives against each other and as if there wasn't about 5 metres of breathing space between us. Privacy is when it’s raining out and you’re stuck in an ATM booth with a stranger for a fleeting 5 minutes that feels like 20 only because of the awkward silence – but none dare make eye contact or flash a semblance of a smile because that somehow makes a crack in this invisible wall of privacy. Privacy is also when I send a text to a friend about how the cute guy at gym just passed by me, fresh from the sauna, smelling like he directly descended from heaven and how I’m blushing so hard (!!!), I look like I just killed cardio (I probably didn’t) – and hope that my friend won’t leave her phone unattended for all the world to know about my borderline olfactophilia.

Kendall Jenner might blog about having to deal with invasive paps, but hey Kendall, that’s probably also because you have that million-dollar reality show contract, remember?

But wait – I’m a civilian (in plain clothes at that – no Life of Pablo merch in this wardrobe). Then why do I feel like I’m slowly forgetting what privacy feels like? And that’s not even the scary part – wait for it:

The more vexing thing though, is I think I don’t care about privacy anymore. *shudder*

The reason? Probably the average number of times in a day we hear words like ‘share!’, ‘subscribe!’, ‘comment!’, ‘post!’ or just the sheer volume of Dear Diary entries (or Facebook posts, whatever you like to call them) that populate our feeds everyday, but privacy seems like a word slowly and surely forgotten, like that girl from Girl Scout camp you built tents with, who fades from your memory with every passing year.

No longer do I care if I’m in the background of someone’s Snap Story stuffing my face with cake and no longer do I suffer from mild anxiety attacks before untagging myself from ugly photos. I mean, it was me who decided to skip shampooing that day, wasn’t it, and what’s wrong with wanting cake so bad you look like you’re swallowing a cow whole? It’s cake!

Only thing I’m concerned about – and so should these guys who got fired because of their tweets and Facebook posts be – is this pretty famous study – social penetration theory – which you probably read about in college. Apparently, the more you can dig up about yourself on a Google search, the harder it’s going to be sustain intimate relationships. Random? Well, according to the theory, this is because in order for us to have enduring, deep bonds with other people, the relationship needs to go from hey to bae gradually, with self-disclosure over a period of time. And I’m guessing letting your 1078 Facebook friends in on your fun Sunday cook-out with step-by-step recipes isn’t helping.

And considering privacy is luxury – turns out, the history of privacy stems from status (sample this: prisoners have zero privacy while Oprah has a fenced 23-acre estate) – am I losing my basic luxury? Is it time to take the bustle volume down to a boudoir-like purr? Is it time for a social media detox again? Is it going to help, anyway?  

Is this happening to you too? 

Over to you, Kendall.

 

Image courtesy Jamie Nelson for Vogue Ukraine. 

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