General Question

Likeradar's avatar

Uncovered windows- the neighbor's problem or the resident's?

Asked by Likeradar (19580points) May 14th, 2009

I had a hard time thinking of the actual q for this, so sorry if it’s kinda awkward. :) And I am bad at making the details section short.

So let’s say someone lives in the city and their bathroom window faces another building.

For one reason or another, the bathroom window doesn’t have coverings. The woman who uses the bathroom doesn’t stand nekkid in from of the window flashing her bits purposely, but in day to day life someone looking through the window from the next building could reasonably have seen a boob when the woman hops in the shower or the resident popping a zit or just doing other bathroom type things (not toilet stuff though).

My question- is it primarily the responsibility of the neighbors to not look in the window if they don’t want to see the woman, or is it primarily the responsibility of the woman to cover the window so that the neighbors don’t have to see her, assuming the woman just doesn’t care a whole lot either way?

This is kinda a silly question, and just something I was talking about with a friend and have been thinking a bit about.

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24 Answers

FGS's avatar

Just like other silly things that people find offensive. If you don’t like what you see…don’t look. No one is forcing them to peer through the hypothetical woman’s windows. For that matter, I find that far creepier

wundayatta's avatar

If a woman is not hiding her bits, I don’t see why a neighbor shouldn’t look. If you want privacy, hang some damn curtains! If you don’t hang the curtains, that’s an invitation for telescope time.

DarkScribe's avatar

If you have to wait there – possibly for days to see a flash of boob, then I don’t think that there is a problem. Unless the neighbour decided to charge you with being a peeping tom. She has what is know as a “reasonable expectation of privacy” in that she doesn’t expect others to spend time looking through a small window hoping for a glimpse of her naughty bits.

tinyfaery's avatar

If you happen to glance and see your naked neighbor you should turn away; it’s just respectful. But, if your neighbor is an exhibitionist and always walks around naked, then I say enjoy the show…if it’s good.

hearkat's avatar

I agree the if the woman isn’t acting on exhibitionist tendencies, then the onus lies on the potential viewer to not look (assuming they’d be offended).

My only point is what if the neighbor has children and they’d prefer not having nudity visible to them? Then I think it is courtesy for the woman to get a curtain.

cak's avatar


My very first home purchase was in a nice neighborhood, modest homes and nice yards. I had the crappy luck of picking the neighbors with no window coverings and the preference for walking around nude, all the time. In their case, clearly, they didn’t care and if I wanted to not see something, I had to leave my curtains drawn, all the time. GRRR. not people you really wanted to see nekkid. AND, I didn’t care to see their extra activities, either.

I finally had to say something, then complain to the HOA. I got very tired of having to keep my windows covered w/ curtains on that side of the house. They complained that their rights were being violated, threatened to sue, filed suit, then withdrew their suit. Evidently, they discovered they were violating our (surrounding neighbors) rights and a local ordinance or two.


In this case, I’m wondering if she’s aware that she can be seen from the window. It doesn’t sound like she is an exhibitionist, or she would be facing the window or doing some type of long draw out action, in front of the window – in hopes of being seen. It seems, in this case, that one should just avoid looking towards that window (sometimes that makes it harder not to look!) and just ignore the problem.

Outside of dropping off a note and possibly a curtain to said woman, informing her that she’s putting on an occasional show, she might want to cover up. (the window) There’s not much to be done. Avert your eyes – avoid the boob. And eeeww! I don’t want to watch anyone pop a zit! :)

FrankHebusSmith's avatar

A few years ago I was in such a situation (though townhouses, not apartments in a city). I lived with 3 guys and the girl directly across from me would sometimes change with her shades wide open. I personally didn’t look out of an instilled sense of chivalry (until I know I’m absolutely allowed to see a girl nude or changing or whatever, I will even turn around if my g/f or S/O is changing in the same room). But my room mates would rush to see.

One time my room mate came home from work, I heard him rush/stomp up the stairs, throw my door open, turn my light off, and rush over to my window and peak thru my shades. I called him a perv, but laughed hysterically at the same time.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar


What were the ordinance’s being broken?

Can you get a public nudity summons if you are in your home?

cak's avatar

@chris6137 – For the area I lived in, you could be nude all you wanted to be, in your home and yard; however, you have to put up appropriate things to block the view to others. Privacy fences for yards – if you wanted to swim in the nude; or, appropriate window covering and privacy fence, if you lead more of a nudist lifestyle.

I would have never guessed it would have been on the books, but it was. Then again, there are some crazy laws/ordinances on the books.

SeventhSense's avatar

Move to NY. It’s like Cinemax every night.:)

Darwin's avatar

If she is ugly, then it is your problem – put up blinds or don’t look. If she is nice looking then it is still your problem. If she doesn’t want anyone looking at her, then it is her problem.

However, I suspect that legally it could possibly fall under “public indecency” if enough is visible, so technically she should put up the curtain.

lillycoyote's avatar

It seems to me that there are 3 possibilities here. 1) she doesn’t realize that she can be seen 2) she doesn’t care whether or not she can be seen 3) she wants to be seen. Who’s responsibility it is doesn’t really matter in this circumstance. Figuring out whether it’s 1, 2 or three could be difficult. If it’s 1 someone might want to tell her. Sure, it’s awkward and embarrassing but it will put an end to it and save you both future awkwardness. If it’s 2 or 3 then it’s really up to you. Look, or don’t look. If you don’t want to see it then close your curtains. It’s about all you can do.

Likeradar's avatar

@hearkat Good point about the kids…

YARNLADY's avatar

I think it might depend on which party cares, the looker or the seen. I once had a male tenant arrested because he was supposedly exposing himself to a woman walking by on the sidewalk.

If he was outside and she was inside naked, he probably would have been arrested for being a peeping tom.

BookReader's avatar

…if memory serves me correctly, something like that happened and made the news… a neighbor videotaped the occurance (a couple doing the deed) through the couple’e slightly opened venetian blinds and called it into police…the couple was arrested…

…i thought maybe the person videotaping should have been arrested for peeping through their cracked blinds, but it didn’t go down that way- go figure…

oratio's avatar

I walk naked in my apartment, now and then. It’s my home. I’ll do what I feel like. If you want to look, enjoy yourself. If not, there must be something else you can do with your time.

dynamicduo's avatar

This has come up a few times in American courts, can’t find them now but I know of one case where someone videotaped a girl who had no blinds (I want to say it was on a college campus), another where a man walked around naked in his house without blinds.

In my opinion, it’s a bit of both. The person without blinds has no right to complain about a breach of privacy, as it is in their control to install (or not) blinds to give them more privacy and they chose not to. At the same time, I don’t think that anyone viewing the person in their house has any right to be offended, as it is in their control whether to view that person or not!

In your example case, so long as the woman is fine with the idea of people seeing her girly bits, then it’s completely the responsibility of the neighbor to either stop looking or to install blinds of their own.

spresto's avatar

If the person looking in the window becomes mordified by what they see it is there responsibility to not do it again. If the woman who is giving the world a show doesn’t like it she had better board that window up.

Note: I think bathroom windows are a very dumb idea. Sun roofs on other hand I can live with.

Darwin's avatar

And then there was Matthew McConaughey who was busted when playing his bongos while naked in front of his living room window while he was living behind my parent’s house. He actually was arrested for marijuana possession and paid a fine for violating the noise ordinance, but some of the neighbors are still traumatized.

Personally, I wouldn’t mind watching him dance naked at all, as long as I don’t have to actually talk to him. At the time, anyway, he was a self-centered moron; he may have matured since then.

cak's avatar

@Darwin Traumatized? Really? I’d be thankful! ;)

wundayatta's avatar

@spresto Your comment reminds me…. I have a window in my bathroom. The bathroom is in the front of the house, and we have curtains over it. My wife and daughter always leave the window closed, but I get too hot, and like to open the window for air. There’s a tree outside that covers most of the window, but, at night, I suppose it could be possible for my neighbor across the street to see in. I try to stay out of sight of their window, but I might not always do it. Fortunately, their window has frosted glass in their bathroom, but there is a third floor window that might have a view. Not that I’m a view anyone would want to see.

Still, I’ve had no warnings or complaints so far. I think I do this rarely enough that it would have to be a very unlucky set of circumstances for anyone to see me altogether. I’m not interested in being seen. I don’t want to offend anyone. But I really do need the fresh air.

twilightmoon's avatar

Maybe she isn’t aware. I’d write an anonymous letter and mail it to her house and warn her – that way you are honest and no need to embarrass anyone.

ramnhfg's avatar

in the USA,if you’re in your house naked and can be seen from a public place(ie,from anywhere outside your house like street,sidewalk,next door,etc)you’re doing something illegal..period..only sex addicts or people with sexual personality disorders would have a problem with that law. Exhebitionism is a personality(sexual disorder) as well as Voyeurism.

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