Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Michutz L'Machane

Wolf has an interesting post that to me has a plausible explanation, but judge for yourself:
On the way back from the mountains, Phoebe told us about her trip up. She went to see her daughter in the same camp that Wilma is in. However, the people she went with made a stop at another camp to see their son at a learning camp somewhere in the Catskills. Apparently, this learning camp doesn't allow women on the camp grounds at all. They set up an area outside the camp (michutz la-machane... literally) where the women could have refreshments... but they could not step onto the actual grounds. This sounded very odd to me, so I asked Phoebe what the mothers do on visiting day. Do they just go up but not see their sons? Do they not go up at all? She responded that no, the boys go out to the women's area to see their mothers.

I don't understand the logic in this at all. If women are barred from the grounds in toto, and the boys could not see them, I could see the logic (I don't agree with it, but logically, given the values of those running the camps, I can understand the course of action). However, if they're allowing the boys to go to the women's area to see thier mothers, then why not allow them on the grounds already? The boys are going to see other people's mothers when they go to the women's area anyway. So what's the point? Why keep the women confined to one small area?
In the comments, after many very plausible but more harsh explanations were given, suggesting that the camp wishes for a variety of reasons to be overly strict and/or make a statement about separation of the sexes but wishing to allow the campers to see their mothers, I suggested the following:
To be fair... it's *possible* that they simply don't want women walking around the bunkhouses where people might be changing, dressed more casually, etc.
I should add as someone else did "and the mess!!" I could see a strong case being made for either side. Which do you think is more plausible? Are camps simply going off the deep end, or do they simply not want the women to be in the bunkhouses for one of the aforementioned reasons?