Modesty – for the entire family?

From the mailbox:

Dear HSM

I was at a Canadian indoor water park and saw a number of frum families where dads and sons were shirtless and in shorts frolicking while mom and daughters were in long sleeves, ankle length skirts, etc roasting and just wading their feet with shoes on.  Shouldn’t modesty be for the entire family?  The one family where the girls got wet, they were toddlers and fully dressed down to thick tights.

A Reader

I fully agree with you that modesty should apply to everyone in the family. This scenario is one I have come across myself a few times too. I cannot adequately explain what appears to be a double standard here – perhaps one of my learned readers can.

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  1. tina says:

    Years ago, my youngest son was in prek and his class was going to an indoor water park. Keep in mind this is a modern frum school. The week prior to the outing, an out cry for imas to come along to help the kids get out of wet cothing, and watch them in the water. We were reassured that no abbas will be there. As we are loading the bus, a few abbas get on. A bunch of us women huddle and query as to what to do. We decided if the abbas are going to get into the water, we will not. But for those of us who were OK with it would cover up as planned and go in(cutting watchful eyes in the water by half). In the end, the abbas came out with t shirts, and long bathing suits, it made for a much more comfortable outting. We gave Kudos to those abbas that were thoughtful to bring a t shirt and leave the speedos at home!!

  2. sheva says:

    when we are put in a waterpark situation whichnis not to often with my husband and teen, but sometimes I want to take the little ones and I need my husbands help. If this is the case my husband wears a tshirt and long swim trunks, never shirtless. I wear an aquamodesta A-line swim dress and I feel fine it I’m not boiling and I’d rather keep myself covered anyways due to the harmful effects of the sun. My husband keeps his kippah and tzitzits on and will switch to a cotton pair versus his usual wool. If he is out right swimming in a pool he’ll take them off. This is how we do it in our family what other people do is their choice and summer water fun can be a frustrating and confusing for the frum water lovers. I wouldn’t judge everyone makes decisions based on their family comfort level . I miss the summer how many days till spring?

  3. Chanief says:

    My favorite are the women I have seen on the beach in bikinis with their snoods on… Uh… yea. I’m thinking that if you’re frum enough to be covering your hair, you probably know that a bikini isn’t tznius, but to each their own! ;o)

  4. Batya says:

    We’re spoiled with a local pool totally separate hours. Of course it gets complicated taking kids of the other sex after the age of 5. My older son used to have a pool babysitting job.
    Last summer a young girl from a nearby community drowned when her family went to an unofficial beach for “family swimming.”

  5. Noah Roth says:

    The minimal standards of tzniyut that apply to women apply to men as well according to Ramba”m: Mid-calf, Top of the knee, and collarbone.

  6. robert says:

    It seems to me that no matter how dressed (or undressed), a frum man should not be going to a venue where there are women who are dressed in bathing attire. not only is your post describing a double standard, it is clearly describing a anti-halachic standard. Wearing a kippah and tzitzis doesn’t make it any better, and it may be making it worse.

  7. sheva says:

    I’m not saying I agree at all, but modesty nd covering your hair are two separate mitzvahs. That is how some women justify the bikini snood look, as crazy as it is. This is why sometimes you’ll see Israelis in pants and short sleeves and covering their hair. Again I do not agree at all and I believe in the package deal but hey I sure could think of worse things.

  8. Z! says:

    I find it easier to be on a beach far away rather than those closer to home, like Florida and/or the Caribbean. I always wear a bathing suit, long T-shirt, men’s bathing trunks down to my knees and a bathing cap with a pre-tied bandana on top. ( I know, it sounds like over kill, but this is how I am comfortable on the beach! I am also pale, so the covering up isn’t so bad.) I still want to be able to go and enjoy these activities like snorkeling- so, I do what I must.
    As for DH, he gets off much easier than I do. Swim trunks and a T-shirt. He goes into the water without the t-shirt.
    As for the other ladies on the beach- they are just part of the beach “experience”. Not so much different than walking down the streets of Florida in the summer… actually, all year around really! (all types to be found)
    My BIL has a pool in his backyard. During the summer, we do massive family sundays/bbq’s. They have seperate mens and ladies’ swim times so if I wanted to, I could go out there and frolick with my multitude of nieces and SIL’s. BUT, I’m NOT as comfortable doing that!

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