by Furry Girl
As a teenager, I had a conversation with an older activist who had been arrested many times over the years. He told me his secret to staving off despair and stress during the whole process. He said something like, "When you're in jail, and the police strip search you, their goal is to humiliate you into obedience, so it's your job to turn the tables on them. I do a sexy striptease, spin around like a fucking ballerina, and tell them how hot the whole thing makes me. It takes away their power and makes them the uncomfortable ones."
These are the sorts of useful lessons I learned instead of going to high school.
"Sticking it to the man" can be about learning to draw power directly from disempowering constructs themselves. On my way to my vacation, I knew wanted to do something to express my disapproval of the TSA's cancer-machines-versus-groping "choice". (Also see National Opt Out Day set for November 24.) If there is but one superpower that I possess, it's making people feel uncomfortable through my propensity for public displays of sluttiness and general unselfconscious loud-mouthery.
Image from the @TSAagent Twitter account
Disclaimer 1: I realize that whining about flight screenings is a problem that affects mostly people on the top of the world's privilege heap, and that this conversation has been dominated by middle/upper class white men. Let's be real: the public outcry over this is because it's about crotches and nudity. No one cares if their phone calls are being recorded or if the government detains people for years without trails, they just know they don't want another dude touching their junk. I'm hoping that people will use this particularly titillating aspect of increasing government intrusion into our lives as a springboard to thinking about other civil liberties issues. (I'm actually far more bothered by how critics of surveillance like Jake and Moxie have been harassed and detained by the government lately at airports after international trips.) Overall, though, I think it's a positive thing any time that so many people - across party-lines - are freaking out and insisting upon their right to privacy. As a country, we can't agree whether it's our right to own firearms and/or get abortions, but we can all agree we don't want government agents touching our bathing suit areas.
Disclaimer 2: some children and adults have been genuinely traumatized or upset by their experiences with the TSA. I wasn't trying to belittle their pain and frustration at all, but to use my own body as a medium to protest against invasive security measures, and in a humorous way that upends the expected dynamic.
The TSA wanted to feel me up or see what I look like without clothes. I get it. I'm a sex worker. My main porn site gets about 3 million unique visitors a year, and clients pay $4 a minute to see me naked on my web cam, so the TSA's interest in me came as no surprise. Normally, I would charge for such a service, but this one was on the house. Duty, country, sacrifice, patriotism, all that.
For my voyage, I donned a see-though chemise and sheer panties under normal clothes. My nipples, crack, and pubes are all plainly visible though this ensemble. The TSA needed to make sure that I wasn't concealing any errant Al Qaeda operatives in the folds of my labia, after all. I would have done this naked, but being arrested for public nudity doesn't really help to underscore my cause, and it would screw up my vacation and turn me into a sex offender, both of which would be a real bummer. (I also considered going through while packing a huge strapon cock with my metal-free, airport-friendly Joque harness.)
The bummer is that the cancer machines at Seatac were busted for some reason, so they were just using metal detectors. But, even though I didn't get to shoot video of myself being groped, hopefully this is still amusing. (My plan was to loudly moan and fake an orgasm while being molested by the TSA.)
Here's my video from the airport, published from a net cafe at the airport. The portion shot inside the security area is about 10 solid minutes, and only the first minute of that is actually amusing, then it just goes to a long stretch of the boring ceiling while I was detained and the TSA waited for a police officer to talk to me. The cop was actually very polite to me, and seemed understanding, and just sorta vaguely let me know that maybe I shouldn't do that again, because children might see. (I told him I already picked a security line without kids, which it true.)
I hate it when people demand that I put my pants back on! (And, like I pointed out, we're not supposed to wear jackets through security. The TSA agent ordered me to violate TSA rules!) As far as I know, I am the current record holder for the nearest-to-naked a passenger has gotten at a TSA screening. I look forward to having that title stripped from me.
You're welcome to re-post or embed my video elsewhere, but I'd appreciate a link back to this blog post and crediting Furry Girl/Feminisnt.com. Apologies on the low quality - I used a small cheap digital camera to record this because I wasn't going to risk having an expensive one seized if the TSA got uppity. I edited it on the fly with the camera's own basic editing program since I no longer travel internationally with my laptop.
The TSA allows "opting out" of the "naked" scanners if you submit to a groping that some people consider a form of sexual assault - or, at the very least, creepy and uncomfortable. The TSA's goal is to use the grope-down to frighten the public into submitting to a scan which scientists at UCSF consider a cancer risk. Don't be scared like the TSA wants you to be.
Remember the children's tale of Brer Rabbit? It's time to beg not to be thrown into the briar patch. Put on your sexiest, filmsiest underthings, opt for a grope-down, have fun with it, treat it like a performance, and fake an orgasm in public next time you fly. You'll gain self-confidence, amuse and inspire other passengers, draw attention to the sexually-invasive nature of the modern airport security process, and make government employees look more predatory and inappropriate while feeling up strangers. Protesting in such a way won't change TSA regulations overnight, but it adds to the dissent and public conversation, flips around a demeaning dynamic, and for bold travelers, getting this transparent just might be the only way these days to enter an airport with a smile on your face and your dignity intact.
And hey, at least I'm not one of those public embarrassments who wear their pajamas, a blanket, and an inflatable neck pillow to the airport. For fuck's sake, people! Have some sense of propriety.
[For new readers: writing and doing projects like this doesn't make me any money, but you can always express your appreciation via my Amazon wishlist, or by donating money to my favorite nonprofit, the St James Infirmary.]
Furry Girl: a good time not yet had by all.
- I operate SWAAY.org, an accessible sex workers' rights site that educates the general public about our lives and our issues.
- I've been vegan for 13 years because it's the easiest way for an individual to contribute to less violence, suffering, and exploitation.
My adult sites
- Cocksexual.com: Strapons
- EroticRed.com: Menstruation
- FurryGirl.com: Unshaved
- TheSensualVegan.com: Store
- VegPorn.com: Herbivores
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New to my blog? Some favorite posts
- "You have no right to dislike feminism after all it's done for you!"
- "You misrepresent true feminism by focusing on the bad feminists. They're not real feminists anyway!"
- An argument for more sex workers to be out?
- Degrading, violent desires
- Do you have what it takes to be an empowered sex worker?
- Feminism is the shitty relationship you had in your early 20s
- Feminist porn isn't a branch of sex workers' rights, it's an obstacle
- How are we branding sex workers rights in the US? (Let's focus more on *worker*, less on *sex*!)
- How to do your homework on trafficking, "rescue", and the affected communities
- Let's stop pretending that "objectification" is a thing that exists
- Musings on ethical porn and the red herrings of "feminist porn" and "violent porn"
- My call for a "working" class uprising against inaccessible discourse and the over-representation of dabblers
- Sex trafficking is the new crack: manufactured "epidemics" as political tools
- The common logical fallacies deployed by anti-sex worker activists
- Things I've gained from being a sex worker: an anti-paternalistic perspective
- Vigilantism and 'crushing bastards': in praise of anger, hatred, and taking joy in the smiting of one's enemies
- Want to play BINGO with the antis?
- Watch out for psuedoscience: my long-time nemeses of concern trolling and "teaching the controversy"
- What do I mean when I say "sex worker"? Why I'm against an overly-broad definition
- Why I call them "anti-sex worker" rather than "anti-porn" or "anti-prostitution," and why you should too
Favorite sex/ho blogs
- Amanda Brooks
- Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers
- Belle de Jour
- Born Whore
- Bound, Not Gagged
- Dan Savage on SLOG
- Danny Wylde
- Jiz Lee
- Kat's Stories
- Laura Agustín
- Lux Nightmare [2006-2007]
- Maggie McNeill
- Our Porn, Ourselves
- Sequoia Redd
- Serpent Libertine
- Sex Worker Pie Charts
- Sexonomics by Brooke Magnanti
- Shit They Say to Sex Workers
- Stuff Sex Workers Eat
- Whore Madonna