Magazines in host's house

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    Before I get to my question, let me give you a bit of background to make the issue clearer. We’re very careful with what we bring into our house. No secular magazines or newspapers, no TV or movies, etc. The one catalog we get (from the credit card) is first given to me to sensor before my husband goes through it. My husband reminds me every now and then that shmiras ha’aynayim is a big challenge and he doesn’t want to put himself to that nisayon, so he prefers not to have anything inappropriate in the house at all. We also have teenage boys.

    We spent Pesach at relatives who are frum but do have many secular books and magazines in their home. It’s their right to live how they please and I don’t judge them or have any desire to change them. My dilemma was as follows: In their bathroom, they had a stack of magazines which had pictures of scantily clad women which I did not want my family to see. These magazines did not focus on any inappropriate topic in particular, but they were full of ads and articles which had these pictures. I know that our hosts have the right to keep whatever they want in their bathroom, but I was really concerned about having these things in full view for my kids. I noticed that my husband deliberately avoided that bathroom and used one without any literature in it, but this was the bathroom which was closest to the room my kids slept in, so they ended up using that one most of the time. As a guest, do you think I would have had the right to move the magazines out of the bathroom or stash them somewhere out of my kids’ sight? I was not comfortable approaching our hosts about it and they probably would not have understood anyway. What would you have done in this situation?


    If it was a bathroom that the hosts family also used while you were there, I would have approached the host, explained what you did and asked that the magazines be removed, or at least, put in a bag. If the bathroom was one that only the guest family would use, I would have removed all magazines and put them at the top of a closet where noone would see it and before I left placed them back.


    If the hosts use that bathroom while you were there, you must ask them first before removal. If there is no way they are going to use that restroom, then it’s like your bedroom which they gave you, which entitles you to remove or hide anything that’s in there.


    Definitely stashed them away. (I would avoid going to that relative had I known this beforehand.))


    I agree with Apushatayid. It’s a lot easier to remove things from a child’s view, than to try & remove things from a childrens mind.


    it would depend on relative – sibling/inlaws cousin etc.. The closer the relation theeasier and appropriate it would be to move it on your own or ask to have it moved.

    I know if I would be host of where you stayed I would not be offeneded in anyway if you would have asked to move or let me know that you moved it out. I once moved something from a bathroom of mine because I had a guest that I knew was sensitive viewing such material. i told my wife to put it away until after they left.


    Thanks for the replies. The only other person who used this bathroom besides my kids was the hosts’ daughter, 30 years old and single, and I’m sure the magazines had been placed there by her. She’s a bit of a difficult person to deal with though, and that’s why I was reluctant to bring it up with her. She has some anger management issues and I had seen her storm out of the house over matters which seemed very trivial (to me, obviously not to her).

    (Can I add that I shuddered when I saw how I spelled “censor” in my original post? I am usually a decent speller, but somehow that one got by.)


    maybe you could have covered them with something,maybe like a towel?

    pascha bchochma

    Stash them.


    Toughie. Usually I go with “not your house, not your rules” but this is different. Maybe come up with another use for them (what obviously wouldn’t work, but something along the lines of holding up a bed which was broken). Or (provided the content was not an issue) tell her they looked interesting and ask to borrow them.



    No matter how high a wall one builds, there will always be a ladder even higher. If the ladder breaks, there will be a shovel readily available.

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕

    No matter how high a wall one builds, there will always be a ladder even higher. If the ladder breaks, there will be a shovel readily available.

    We’re not talking about someone who is aggressively pursuing their ta’avos, we’re talking about helping people who are trying to avoid nisayon.


    kapusta those are good ideas! 😮 🙂


    “No matter how high a wall one builds, there will always be a ladder even higher. If the ladder breaks, there will be a shovel readily available.”

    True; but that’s no reason to not bother building a wall. Some will get in, but others will stay out.


    “30 years old and single”

    what does her marital status have to do with anything??

    are u saying single people are more apt to be reading inappropriate things?

    or are u saying because she is an older single that is why she has these supposed anger issues?

    please explain


    Goq, while singles dont have the exclusives on tempers/anger issues, unfortunately, I dont blame any older singles with tempers/anger issues. I know of too many older singles who as a result of experiencing difficulties in Shidduchim, not related to their Midos or personality, later developed bad Midos and/or personality issues. Its a rough road to travel and you’re alone while you travel. I can very well picture the scene described above.


    of course , i dont deny some older singles are unhappy and may have issues, all i was trying to point out to the op was the way she chose to charachterize the person she felt was responsible for putting the questionable material there, she said she is 30 and single as if that says it all , she is an older single therefore she is not trustworthy and doesnt have the correct hashkafos as and older single i take offense to her using the age/marital status canard as a negative.


    Actually, all I meant to say was that she did not come along with a family who was also using the bathroom. I said she was single to explain why she was still living with her parents. Nothing more than that.


    ty mother i appreciate your response


    Next time you visit with them, bring them a copy of Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader. It’s a box full of worthless trivia, and while much of it focuses on popular culture, it is clean.


    There is nothing wrong with any 30 year old female reading catalogues or magazines which advertise women’s clothing and other accessories. If they are inappropriate for men, politely ask the daughter if it would be ok to remove them until the boys have gone home. You’d be surprised at the response to a little bit of sincere honesty.


    We have a similar issue to deal with. Many of our relatives have a TV, and I tell them in advance, please have us over at a time that you will not be missing a “must see” show. Usually, this ends up being Shabbos / Tomtov, but at least they know where we stand.

    Reading material? That doesnt scream out to you like the tube, so I can (pretty much) rely on my kids leaving well enough alone


    Since it was the daughter’s bathroom you might have said politely that you appreciate that she is sharing her bathroom with you and do not want to do anything to make her uncomfortable since it is her bathroom would she mind if you put them under the sink so your boys didn’t look at them.


    @Mother in Israel: It’s very commendable that you and your husband sensor what your children read. But, since no man is an island and we live in a community where people run their homes the way they see fit, might I suggest that you explain to your children if they ask, that everyone runs their home according to how they see fit. What may be acceptable in their homes is not acceptable in yours.

    Your children walk in the street to school, shule, friends homes and they pass newspaper stands and see all kinds of magazine covers. You can only shelter your kids so much. Sooner or later kids see and hear everything.

    It is not appropriate or acceptable to “stash” your hosts’ catalogues/magazines. I personally would be offended if a guest would ask me to “hide” reading material in my own home. If you don’t like what they do, don’t visit. You can always meet in a neutral spot like a pizza parlor or the mall.


    I would treat it the same way I would a publication from a Christian missionary found in their bathroom.

    Ctrl Alt Del

    You could stack a yated or two or maybe a binah bunch on top.


    You may censor anything you wish IN YOUR OWN HOME, please keep your hands off your hosts’ things, or don’t go there for a visit. It sounds like they had some fashion magazines in their bathroom. If you were bothered by it, you should cover it with a towel while your kids are using the bathroom. I presume you are a grownup and know what women’s underwear or shortsleeved clothing look like. It might not be your or MY first choice for bathroom reading (and personally I do not think it belongs in the bathroom), but this is not your house, and there is no way to tell your hosts that they have offensive (to you) material in the bathroom, without being…well… offensive.

    Sorry, but I am really trying to be objective here. Not all people will think or act as you do, but you still have to respect their boundaries in their own homes. If the magazines present there were published by Mr. Hefner, however, that’s an entirely different matter, and I would have no problem bringing a copy of said magazine from the bathroom to my host and mentioning that my kids asked me about it. I am fairly certain, he would be a little abashed and remove the item(s) in question with all due alacrity.


    walton157, oomis1105:

    I’m glad to see there are others who put their children’s (spiritual) health and well being foremost, before any ‘gemutliche’ concerns. Sometimes, when in danger, one cannot act so placidly and must make haste to avoid danger (‘gemutlich’ or not). The fact the one does not see this as an utter danger, shows this individual’s insensitivity to kedusha, deviation from ?????? ????.


    depends how old children are. my kids are still relatively young, and if they would see something not tznius – they would say in shocked voice, “ema, that’s not tznius.”

    and in this case, i would just explain to them, “you’re right. so don’t look at it.”

    if kids are older, and there own taavos are involved – can be little more tricky. can explain to older boys that they should use other bathroom like father does and explain why, or can explain to 30 year old girl, and ask her if she can put them somewhere else. expain: nothing wrong for her, just don’t want your boys seeing things that are not healthy for their eyes to see. if she refuses, then only choice is to work with your own kids or not go there again.


    Thanks for all the replies. Just to clarify a few points:

    These are very close relatives–the kind who can walk into our house without knocking and whose fridge we open freely to hunt for food without asking them. I don’t want to say the exact relationship because there are a couple of people out there who know my identity, but my point is that there are some things you can ask of close family that you can’t ask of others. Still, we were guests in their home and there do have to be boundaries.

    The particular daughter who uses this bathroom is a difficult person to approach about anything. She’s also more modern than the rest of her family and I don’t know if she would have understood.

    Covering them with a towel wouldn’t have worked because they were on the back of the toilet and someone would have just pulled the towel off or it would have fallen into the toilet. There were also way too many of them for me to “borrow”–it wasn’t just 3 or 4.

    My older boys are 13 and 14.5. My younger kids would probably also just say that it’s not tznius. My older boys are usually very careful themselves with what they see (they have requested that I don’t send them to abc store because of an inappropriate billboard), but I think the privacy of the bathroom makes things more complicated. They might have picked up the magazines not realizing what they would find inside also.

    We’re going to have to go to this house again in the future, so I’m going to save this thread because I might get some ideas from it for next time. I really appreciate all your help.

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕

    She’s also more modern than the rest of her family and I don’t know if she would have understood.

    I don’t believe the problem is with her understanding; it’s with her accepting.

    Would her parents have an easier time convincing her to put them away before your next visit?

    Would it be easier to approach her well in advance, when it would seem more abstract?

    Good luck.


    I was a 13 and 14 year old boy once (at two distinct points in my life as it happens to be). If I were you I would either approach the owners of the magazine (parents or daughter) and explain as nicely as possible that these magazines DO represent an influence whose influence I would rather minimize on my pubescent children. Especially at this age where hormones have only recently come into play and can be quite confusing, you can’t be sure yet where your children stand on these issues.

    I’m a little unclear why “mentchlichkeit” is taking priority over what can potentially be devastating spiritually negative influences. If there is room to to have both, then great. But if not, this can potentially have very bad consequences and from my own experience I would give it major priority.

    I understand that the daughter has anger issues, I have a sister-in-law in a similar situation as this girl. But I don’t think it is proper to tip-toe around her at the expense of the children.

    Be courteous, but stand up for your children. You’re the only one who can.


    Surely asking the young lady to put her magazines in her room when you visit shouldn’t be construed as too outrageous, even if she does mumble something about her “frummie relatives” under her breath. She’s not a young man, so she likely doesn’t understand your concern.

    We once went to visit a Rosh Yeshiva for Shabbos. His wife told me that when she gets catalogs from department stores, she still pulls out the pages with lingerie and bathsuit ads. She said “even though the RY is an old man, he’s still a man”. His daughters used to cut out inappropriate pictures from news magazines for him. We stopped buying the NY Post because there was almost always a scantily clad woman on page 2, and my teenage sons didn’t appreciate it.


    I do not believe the request is unreasonable. Had it been me (I do have secular magazines around the house) and I had guests over, I would have understood the request to put such magazines out of sight*, even if I don’t mind having them around the house.

    The Wolf

    * Note that this goes for magazines. Asking someone to remove pictures of their kids from their walls (for example) because you think pictures of women are untznius is not reasonable.


    “I do not believe the request is unreasonable. Had it been me (I do have secular magazines around the house) and I had guests over, I would have understood the request to put such magazines out of sight*, even if I don’t mind having them around the house.”

    So its okay if the gests keep halachah in yur house. Very nice of you.

    “because you think pictures of women are untznius”

    Pictures of women ARE untznius.


    “Pictures of women ARE untznius.”

    pictures of UNTZNIUSLY dressed woman are untznius.

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