Right vs Privilege

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rightsLast night while watching 60 minutes, the story ‘Ending the Heartbreak’ about women who have suffered numerous miscarriages got me thinking. (In case you missed it, click HERE).

Obstetrician, Professor Michael Bennett, said something in the report that stuck in my mind:

“It’s a fundamental that women take quite reasonably as a given “I am a girl, I should therefore be able to have babies.” And when they can’t, when they lose a baby which is what having a miscarriage is they grieve and they grieve very deeply and very seriously.”

I am without a doubt one of those women that think, I’m a girl, I’m young, and it is my right to be able to have children. But the sad reality is, that sometimes that isn’t always the case. (That’s a whole other puff piece all on its own).

One woman in the story had suffered a heartbreaking 20 miscarriages. Can you imagine losing 20 babies. Just the thought of it is beyond heartbreaking, let along having to actually go through it. Thankfully she has had a happy ending to her story and now has 2 beautiful daughters.

So the whole right/privilege thing got me thinking about what we actually take for granted in our lives.

Number one of course for me is, as a woman, yes I will be able to have babies, no questions asked.

Other right’s I think people expect include: getting a driver’s license. Why shouldn’t I be able to get my driver’s license as soon as I turned 17. It has been mentioned before that young people get a little too big for their boots so to speak, expecting that a drivers license is a right and not treating like a privilege.

Gen Y have been stigmatised with the fact that they believe it is their right to be highly paid fresh out of Uni, instead of considering that just getting a great job fresh out of Uni is actually a privilege not a right.

Do you think we live in a society where we expect too much?

Can you think of any other situations where we take things for granted as rights instead of looking at them as privileges?

  • Nomie
    October 26, 2009

    Great post… very thought provoking. I think as a society we do expect a lot, and take a lot for granted… I certainly took getting pregnant for granted, and heartbreak resulted…

    The list of things that we (society as a whole) take for granted as a right not a privilege could be rather long – here are the things that come to mind for me-
    travel, internet connection, mobile phone coverage, fresh food… some basic things I know…. but compared to what some people simply don’t have, we are very, very lucky. :)

  • Belinda
    October 27, 2009

    Yes I definitely agree, Ami. Society, myself included, expect so much and do see a lot of things as a right of passage. Sometimes I step back and look at the big picture, and I get a little scared to think of things as privileges – for example, the thought of NOT being able to have a baby scares the sh*t out of me so I would rather think of it as a right, even though there’s that niggling voice in the back of my head telling me otherwise. I guess sometimes it’s easier to think of things as ‘rights’ than privileges and that’s why we do it..

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