Feb 24, 2009

Question for the Men: watching women's performances on video

The following question is directed toward the (religious) male audience:

If your wife or daughter were performing in a play for women, would you watch the video? If you would watch the video performance of the play, would you be interested in the play itself, thus watching other women perform and sing, or would you basically just be watching so you could see your wife or daughter spots with no interest in the rest of it?

I am not looking for a halachik discussion on the permissibility, or lack thereof, of watching such a video. I am just curious how you relate to it. Of course, you can comment anonymously (if you are going to say that you watch such videos) so nobody gets upset at you for watching videos of womens performances.. :-)


  1. Stern not Goldmeier.

    I would go to see the performance if no one will stop me from getting in. I probably wouldn't watch the video but only because they are generally very badly recorded.

  2. going to the performance is a completely different question... and f you would go to the performance, you obviously would have no issue with watching the video (other than quality issues)...

  3. I think you would first have to ask permission from the women/girls in the play. They agreed to perform on the understanding that it was for a female audience. They may not want to be oggled by their friends' husbands....

  4. ok. that is reasonable, and I am assuming they would not give permission. But my question is - would you be watching them (i.e. ogling), which would be a problem, or would you only be watching for your wife's part in the plkay and not watching the rest of it?

    Personally I think I would have no interest, and if I watched any part of it it would be only to see my wife or daughters part...

  5. If you think that the women performing would mind then I don't think it is ok. Otherwise, it depends on whether you encounter problems with modesty on the video.
    For my daughter I would watch, because I don't think that 6 year olds mind.

  6. I think it is safe to assume in a group of frum women performing a play, at least some of them if not most of them would mind and do not want men to watch.

    when you mention your 6 year old daughter, that would be relevant if it was a play of just 6 year olds, but if it is mixed ages, and even including women, you would have the same problem.

  7. The question, which only you can answer Rafi, is whether you have sufficient self-control to watch only your wife, without noticing that Mrs Cohen can really shake those hips...
    I haven't been to the show yet (Weds night G-d willing) but i'm assuming that all the women are fully covered and tzanuah....?

  8. uch. I am not going to watch it. I have no interest.
    I ask out of curiosity because of a discussion I had with my wife on the matter. I think, if I was interested in watching, that my purpose of watching would be to see my wife and daughter, and not to watch the other women. That is because I would have no interest at all, and would only be watching so I could see them. These things are too girly for me - both in storyline and in style, and therefore I have no actual interest in them.
    If I was going to watch a video, I would much prefer rambo or diehard to any of these womens plays.

  9. The question really comes up when watching wedding videos. What do you do when the women's dancing is shown. Just watch your wife and daughter? Is that possible?

  10. good comparison. same question.
    in fact i think it might be worse.
    a play, the women are in costume, there isnt really anything to see, assuming the costumes are all tzanua.
    watching the womens dancing can be pretty "untzanua"....

    That is why I prefer not to watch wedding videos at all! :-)

  11. There is no halachic problem at all. The halacha is quite clear about objective modesty that must be covered and cannot be seen by men (i.e. - shok b'isha erva...). And the halacha seems quite clear that EVERYTHING can be a potential subjective problem. i.e. - looking at a women's finger in order to get some sexual fetish satisfaction is 100% assur. women have NO obligation to cover their fingers, but men have to be honest with themselves and not do things that will excite them.
    Therefore, halacha is clear - women should dress and act objectively modest and men must obide by their own subjective issues.
    In this case, it seems the biggest problem is watching the video of women who performed and allowed the recording under the expectation that ONLY women would watch. Therefore, this would fall under the category of reading someone's mail. And is assur.
    It is not a modesty problem, unless the man has a specific issue.

  12. at the Once Upon a Princess performance, the lighting and sound engineers were men. Also, the manager of the theater kept coming in to clear the aisles.

    I noticed this. Not that I care, but I did notice the absurdity of it.

  13. I do not understand the premise of the question.

    Since this is clearly a halakhic issue how can that be ignored.

    The question is a legitimate, interesting halachic one that I do not no the answer to, but how could someone who follows the Torah discuss what should or should not be done regardless of what the Halacha is when this is clearly a halachic issue.

    As far as wanting to watch it - that is also a silly question, what father/husband would NOT want to see his daughter/wife perform?

    So, b'kitzur, "come again"?

  14. I say regardless of, because if someone really wanted to do it, he could find a hetter. So I don't consider it a relevant point.

    and of course he would want to see his wife/daughter part, but the question is if he would be interested in watching the whole thing, and watch the play, or not really pay attention to the rest and only to those parts...

  15. If my daughter/wife was a prodigy, then I would request to watch their part in the performance. but, as they are not, although ilana is pretty good, I consider myself lucky that I am not able to go to these events anyway. I know that they do video the productions but request that men/husbands not watch it as some women mind. I do not enjoy those types of performances anyway, so it works out well for me.

  16. so that's is what observance is - when I want to I find a heter?

    again, the premise of the question is silly.

  17. hello? some indignant "girly" actors, please?! why are we taking this sitting down!?

  18. anon - I don't get it? You have never ever looked for a hetter to do something you really wanted to do but thought it was wrong?

    If not, I am very impressed. you are my role model. Many people, perhaps most people, have at least once in their lives looked for a hetter, or rationalized a hetter without looking,, for something they really wanted to do.

    If a person wanted to really watch this, I am curious if he would be watching simply to see his wife and/or daughter, or would watch the whole thing.

  19. sabra - that is why you only perform these plays for women....

  20. In the spirit of Chodesh Adar, I would like to offer an alternative answer.

    As is known, there is a major discussion about the bracha one should make on cornflakes. Some say that the bracha is shehakol; some say it is ha'adama.

    If a person makes the wrong bracha, it will be very hard for them to do teshuva on Yom Kippur. The teshuva will be even harder if they voted for a political party that is against da'as Torah and that has no platform, like Obama.

  21. We own the series of musicals that have been put on by the folks in RBS.

    I have no family members in them. My 7 yr old really enjoys watching them. I happen to love the old musicals and it was hard enough to stop watching live performances so I occasionally watch the videos of the real musicals we have. (There are heterim for recordings vs. live.) I don't generally sit and watch these frummy musicals, as they are not so good and I have some respect for the fact that some of the women would prefer I didn't. However, if I'm in the room and it's on I won't davka leave.

    That said however, these women should have no expectation whatsoever that men will not be viewing the videos. They are for sale publicly and anyone, of any religious orientation, can buy them.

  22. nice job tonight!


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