There were no major junk-touching skirmishes reported from airports this Thanksgiving travel weekend. But that doesn't mean the pushback is over, not with resurgent reports of young mothers and menstruating women, among others, grabbing headlines.
In The New York Times, David Carr pointed out that while serious questions about the necessity and efficacy of the searches remain, the media was all too happy to blow up stories of a civilian revolt that didn't quite happen. But there were nuances to who was allegedly revolting and why, as we've noted; women actually weren't dominating the complaints:
The issue of personal searches and enhanced visibility on scans would seem to be a more acute one for women, given the objectification of women in general and greater history of assault. But discussion on Twitter included two times as many men as women, according to Trendrr. Something primal is at work here, that speaks to both machismo — boys don't touch boys — and certain male insecurities about being visible to strangers.
In other words, women are more used to this crap, and likely don't think we have leverage to make a stink about it. But the TSA stories of women still had plenty of resonance, maybe because everyone could find their own reason to be outraged. Witness this extensive security-footage video of a regular traveler who was harassed by the TSA because she didn't want her breastmilk scanned before her 7-month-old drank it.
Like many of the narratives of the anti-TSA "uprising," the video is actually several months old, from before the enhanced security procedures, but went viral in the past few days. Still, the concerns about punitive behavior from a handful of TSA agents abusing their power remain. The woman in the video, Stacey Armato, writes about her experience here.
We have fewer details with which to evaluate the story of a Gladrags customer who wrote in to say her eco-friendly pad had subjected her to particularly nasty groping. Her story was picked up by The Daily Mail, but without her name or the airport where it took place, it's tough to verify. She wrote,
What ultimately happened is that I was subjected to search so invasive that I was left crying and dealing with memories that I thought had been dealt with years ago of prior sexual assualts. Why? Because of my flannel panty-liner. These new scans are so horrible that if you are wearing something unusual (like a piece of cloth on your panties) then you will be subjected to a search where a woman repeatedly has to check your "groin" while another woman watches on (two in my case - they were training in a new girl - awesome).
Anyone experience anything similar this weekend?
TSA Furor Gives Media A False Positive [NYT]
TSA Groin-Searches Menstruating Woman [Gladrags Blog]
X-Ray Nation | TSA Glass Box Mother Over Stored Breast Milk [Men With Foil Hats]
Earlier: What The TSA Screenings Mean For Sexual Assault Survivors
TSA Scans And Gropings Unite Women, Angry White Dudes