What Do We Tell Our Daughters?

Almost two years ago, we made the decision that our daughter would attend college all the way across the country at the University of Alabama. It was a fiscally prudent decision. Our daughter was and is an excellent student – just the kind of student that ‘Bama rewards with generous academic scholarships. In fact, the scholarship they offered was so generous that even taking air travel into account, she’s attending college for a tiny fraction of the cost to attend our state’s flagship school, the University of Washington and will graduate after four years debt-free and with our savings intact.

Now we’re in the uncomfortable position of wondering if we made the right decision after all, not because of any financial concerns but because it has become all too obviously apparent that it’s no longer safe for young, unescorted women to travel by air within our own borders. The imminent threat doesn’t come from terrorists, although that’s not a danger that can or should be ignored, but from TSA workers operating under new guidelines for enhanced security.

I don’t believe I’m overstating the situation. At airports where the enhanced security procedures are in place, travelers have three choices.

The Naked Scan

You spend your daughter’s lifetime telling her that granting access to her body is at her sole discretion, then Uncle Sam tells her, no, sorry, it’s your duty to bare it all in front of a low level and poorly screened government employee even though everyone knows the chance that you’re an explosive-packing terrorist is next to zero.

The Public Grope

Should your daughter exercise her right to keep her privates private, she’ll be subject to the new enhanced pat-down. The TSA has declined to publish the full guidelines for the pat-down so your daughter will have no way to gauge whether or not the officer administering the pat-down is exceeding her authority. For example, your daughter is entitled to be patted down by a female TSA agent except in the case “extraordinary circumstances” but those circumstances are undefined in the guidelines available to the public.

The Private Grope

Finally, if your daughter doesn’t want to endure the humiliation of having her breasts and genitals groped in public, she can ask for a private screening room. Of course, she’s entitled to have a traveling companion with her during the pat-down. But – wait! – she’s traveling alone! What sane parent would advise their daughter to enter a private room with a stranger with the intent of letting that stranger lay hands on her body?

Which brings me back to my original question. The TSA has implemented a system where – for their own good – young women are subjected to security procedures that would be crimes were they conducted by private individuals. When faced with three equally abhorrent options, which do we advise our daughters to take?

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11 Comments

Filed under Politics

11 responses to “What Do We Tell Our Daughters?

  1. Angela B.

    I don’t have an answer. I sincerely don’t. I wish I did.

    I was telling my daughters (I have four) about this the other day, and they said “Why don’t we fight back?” But how do you fight back? Who do you fight? It’s like fighting City Hall. There’s no point yelling at the receptionist behind the desk, she doesn’t make the decisions and has no more power to change them than you do.

    • paulag1955

      I think that feeling of helplessness, of not being able to do anything to avoid what’s happening, is part of the reason people are reporting they feel as though they’ve been sexually assaulted.

  2. With girls it is a little different from us guys. We can demand to be felt up by women and soon enough, that will go away. The women will start complaining. However, the male TSA doofuses would never get upset about groping women.

    This is sure to increase the deaths on our highways as more and more people opt out of flying.

    Roll Tide.

  3. Your situation is tougher than mine. I blogged d about this, too. I can just say we won’t fly, to protect my children, until this is changed.

  4. Zen Jewitch

    @Angela B. Write to your congresspeople! Take a stand! For everything that’s holy, don’t accept this as “status quo” for any reason. One of the great things about being an American is that you are allowed to make your voice heard by your duly elected representatives. You don’t have to agree with them in order to tell them what you think.

    And remember, there are technically other options to flying. You just have to decide how much retaining your personal dignity and sovereignty are worth in both time and cash. Greyhound and Amtrak are available most places.

    • paulag1955

      Unfortunately, Greyhound and Amtrak are also less than ideal options, in my opinion, for unescorted young women.

  5. DCG

    There is NO desirable option for your daughter. The solution lies within an individual to stand up & fight (sue) the tryanny that this admin is forcing upon us. Pray for a quick solution…

  6. Zen Jewitch

    @paulag1955 I agree that Greyhound and Amtrak are less than ideal options. So is driving yourself. However, they *are* options. Unfortunately, at this point, there is no actual good one out there.

    I urge you to write to your Congress people

    • paulag1955

      Sadly, I have no representation in Congress that would listen with open ears; however, I am in contact with the office of another of my state’s delegation on this issue.

  7. Glenda, WA

    Stand up for what is right, don’t fly. Tell congress, we will not fly till we have our dignity back and TSA starts profiling, and stops harressing good USA citizens.

  8. Pingback: What’s Going On?

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