Privacy seems to me to be a recent sort of phenomena. Only recently, I'd say since 1920s/30s, has there really been a notion of "privacy". With industrialization, finally enough people have collected in one area, and production of goods has exceeded need where privacy is ironically possible. Since the skeleton of our government is essentially 17th century, this creates an unforeseen problem.
Prior to the Industrial Revolution, there was much more of a focus on bartering, and community. After all, it only makes sense to live next to people who have what you need and vice versa, but not live with so many people that certain goods and services do not become taxed (e.g. doctors). As a result, smaller tight knit communities would be formed and people had a more intimate relationship than what we're familiar with by necessity. Moving past a bartering system, and to the Industrial Revolution, we find ourselves with a freedom to live where we want, but also a lack of community due to a reduced need for interaction. Because of these reasons, I feel that we live in effectively a different society.
The laws, as usual, have been lagging behind change in thought and in practice. This is reflected in the theories that we have been studying. The idea that people, while not being born equal, are entitled to a certain amount of respect and civil liberties is a thoroughly modern idea. Our laws still show an older, Victorian mentality of objective truths and hierarchies and a pseudo-science instead of our present day soft sciences. Instead of swinging wildly from one side to the other, we should work to refinement.
When first confronted with a previously unheard of level of privacy, akin to what the aristocracy had in the Old World, America decided to treat it here the same. The government had little say in what people did in their own castles. Thus, familial issues were left up the king of the castle and became "private matters". However, people forget that no matter how private and personal they think their actions are, they affect (and reflect) society as a greater whole, and with that recognition some "private" fell under public regulation.
I think that there needs to be drawn a quick distinction, and some terms defined here. Private and public, as I have laid out, are meant to show a couple of things. First drawn from my observations, Private means matters of family and the household. Private can also concern personal interactions between two people (or, maybe, a small group of people). Public is that which is defined and regulated by legislation or government agencies. I have noticed a severe gap between these two sectors, as well as overlap.
The most important thing is the gap. I believe that there is room for Individual legislation. In the current discourse, arguing for a woman's body to either be "private" or "public" comes off as inappropriate. Both of those terms, as I understand them, are too outdated and ill-equipped to deal with the issue of such things as bodily integrity and self-control. Those two things are more private than private, but still need to have some say in the public, because active participation in a society dictates as such. Being part of a society means that no matter how insignificant we think our actions are, we still have to recognize the ramifications and the impact of those actions upon everyone else, and the culture that we have created and participated in.
Which, to finally conclude this long winded post, is why theory is important. Theory is just exploring new territory before turning into practice. We need to understand culture and society, and how it changes in order to better change our laws to accommodate new beliefs in public opinion. We are more rich now than ever in free-time and the luxury to be introspective, so it is possible to modify (or even break free) or our archaic system and its trappings.