Saturday, April 13, 2013

What think you?

I was watching a more conservative news network here in Canadiana.  The segment included a piece on a single father who wanted his 9 year old daughter to take female only swimming lessons, but was taken aback when he was told he couldn't stay and watch the swimming lessons because the class was created to accommodate people with cultural or religious stipulations that prohibited mixed sex classes.  

The commentator took it as an example of our culturally sensitive society gone awry.  Why can't this father who happens to want his daughter in a single-sex class, stay, just because it could potentially make the other participants feel uncomfortable?  He was advised if he wanted to stay and watch the lessons to put his daughter in a mixed sex swimming lesson. 

As a woman, it would likely make me uncomfortable to have a man that I don't know watching my daughter's girls only swim class.  Not to say he should be subject to my comfort, but it would likely make me a little uncomfortable until I had some assurance that he isn't the type of man to take inappropriate pleasure in seeing a bunch of tweens splash around in the pool.  

I know for sure I don't by the we're too culturally sensitive angle.  Is this same man offended that cultural norms prevent his daughter from accompanying him through the men's locker room at 9 years old, because even if family changing rooms do exist in most places, you are first required to exit through one locker room or the other to get to the family area.  Should we discard that more widespread rule because its a cultural restriction, technically men and women could always share a single locker room right?  Is how comfortable women in particular feel about being naked among strangers not what dictates the policy of separate changing facilities?

I feel bad for the dad.  He may be looking for a safe place for his developing daughter to learn how to swim outside of the company of boys.  It would seem given that particular sensitivity that he might understand the perspective of the parents of the other girls, who might desire a separate space for reasons of their own.  

At any rate, at least one other man went on to discuss the male anchor the issue of whether this was too much accommodation.  It made me think of an all male panel discussing Dr. Gosnell and his performance of unsafe late term abortions.  Not one woman in the bunch to offer the perspective of women, beyond clips of women that can be played, but don't speak back, or engage the anchors.

What do you think?   

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