The right to bare arms (or something like that)

So here’s an interesting situation. A Hassidic synagogue on Park made a complaint to the YMCA that children could see “scantily clad” women working out through their large windows. In an effort to be sensitive, the YMCA generously shaded the windows to keep things discreet.

Now the YMCA members are complaining that they’re unhappy because they no longer have a view and the sunlight is blocked. They’ve started a petition to remove the shades, claiming that no one is naked so there’s no problem.

I am very interested in seeing how this goes down. Anyone care to share an opinion? I know that I personally would not want the windows blocked just because I happen to be working out; it’s true that some women go to the gym in thongs and clubbing-style makeup but most people seem to wear fairly normal and non-revealing clothing when they’re working out. Also, blocking windows in a gym doesn’t stop “scantily-clad” women from walking down the street and I’ve seen more body parts in billboard ads than most gym windows. Then again I’m a fairly liberal person so maybe I don’t understand the fuss.

What say you?

7 Comments so far

  1. RS (unregistered) on November 7th, 2006 @ 11:16 pm

    I walked by the parc YMCA a few minutes ago and it did not look to me like any windows were shaded. Maybe it is only the rear windows? No idea…

  2. Jay (unregistered) on November 7th, 2006 @ 11:52 pm

    I say that people over react when it comes to this sort of thing.

    Seems like everything is becoming taboo of late. I say remove the shades, let the synagogue put up window coverings if they’re unhappy with kids seeing women in less restricting clothing to work out in. Do they complain if there’s a guy with tight bicycle shorts and a tanktop or shirtless? How is a woman in tight short shorts and showing some cleavage any worse? It’s immature on their part.

    Frankly, I don’t think the kids have a problem with seeing the women, they more than likely don’t even understand or know that there is “anything wrong” with women in revealing clothing (there is nothing wrong with it – unless the clothing is 2 sizes too small, then that’s wrong on so many other levels). It’s the adults that are easily offended that have the problem, and they use the “protecting the children” reason as an excuse.

    I’m tired of all of the politically correctness that society has to put up with these days. Some of it is justified. Most is just plain stupid. We could have a thought shower over this, but I think we’d suffer a differed success.

  3. Justin (unregistered) on November 8th, 2006 @ 8:16 am

    In Canada, the right to religion ends where an individual’s rights start.

    What’s next, we ask women to work out in a burka ?

    Seriously, we’ve come to the point where we are SO sensitive to minority’s rights that we don’t think twice about trampling those of the majority. And this isn’t even really a question of minority rights vs those of the majority. This is a simple question of INDIVIDUAL rights.. that is, the right to dress as we so please.

    La Presse is reporting today that the Y will probably change the windows again.

  4. peaches (unregistered) on November 8th, 2006 @ 8:49 pm

    I say “Gimme me a break!” What is the difference between children in/out of church seeing scantily clad people in/out of the gym. We’re all humans, we all have skin, and the sooner the children learn about the human anatomy the better! I hope that the YMCA removes the shades for the benefit of its clients, and I hope that the synagogue teaches the children that it is rude to stare! informs them that a gym is a place where people do wear the minimum because of sweat, etc. and that how people are clad in a gym does not define who they are

  5. Laiya (unregistered) on November 8th, 2006 @ 9:20 pm

    Apparently the frosted windows that have been installed to replace the broken shades were payed for by the Hasidic community and the windows face an alleyway. I think that it’s not such a big sacrifice or unreasonable compromise to have a few frosted windows. It’s not as though they are blocking a beautiful view or that the light can’t filter in nor are they asking for the entire facade of the Y to be covered in frosted windows. Are people just being a little too sensitive? Most people working out don’t want to be stared at through windows anyway. As well, a lot of yoga classes are taught in darkened rooms. So I don’t see what the big deal is. Sure, we could just tell the Hasidic community to look the other way and stop being offended by the majority’s way of life, but if it’s a compromise that doesn’t take too much effort on either side’s part to live with, why not just try to live in harmony? Are people just worried that giving in to one demand will lead to others and being overly defensive?

  6. Justin (unregistered) on November 10th, 2006 @ 5:48 pm

    Laiya, it’s a simple question of individual rights. We have the right to dress as we so please. Women in Canada are allowed to bare their breasts in public. These religious groups are asking us to squash our individual rights to accommodate their religious beliefs. They are attempting to force their religious ways on our way of life.

    It’s entirely unacceptable. In our society, we can’t have religious groups forcing their values onto the rest of the community.

    The demand may seem benign, but the same principles apply.

  7. Laiya (unregistered) on November 10th, 2006 @ 10:19 pm

    I’ve thought about it some more and I’ve changed my stance on this issue somewhat. The suggestion has been brought up that the synagogue should frost their own windows rather than those of their neighbour and I’m inclined to agree with this. If the Hasidic community has chosen to close itself off to influences from the outside world, it would make more sense that they should spend their money on their own installations rather than paying to cover up their neighbour.

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