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Bra Activism?

posted on September 6, 2012 in Random Musings
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Getting through airport security is simply no fun, especially when you're a full-busted gal. My bra has set off airport metal detectors many times. The first time, I thought it was pretty funny -- until I was treated to a full-body "pat down" by the fine folks of TSA.

I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure men pay good money at "massage parlours" for the kind of pat down I have received on occasion at the airport. I've had my most private parts groped and touched -- all in the name of national security. On some level, I understand the need to protect our country. On another, I have never felt so helpless as when I've been forced to endure these invasive procedures - sometimes out in the open, in front of my children.

Last time, I vowed never again. I swore I would whip off my bra and put it through the scanner before being treated to another TSA reacharound.

I've had a couple false alarms, including one time when I almost took a stand...only to realize that my phone was still in my back pocket. Uh, oops.

Yesterday, however, the bell tolled for me. Yup, my lovely Chantelle bra set off the detector. I immediately reached around to unclasp my bra -- to the horror of the TSA agent. "Why not?" I asked, I mean...you can take off your watch and try again, why not your bra?? A supervisor was called over. The line stopped. Nobody was allowed through security. The crowds were NOT pleased.

By the time she arrived, my bra was off and heading through the conveyor, like the glove in the Laverne & Shirley opening credits. The original agent seemed sure she was thwarting the bra bomber, but the supervisor merely shrugged - let's see if it worked.

I sailed through security, breasts bouncing and head held high. Without a backward glance, I collected my bra and suitcase...and immediately found the nearest bathroom to reharness the girls.

I'm not trying to cause a problem or obstruct TSA's job in any way. I just want the same opportunity to address my metal garment as everyone else gets for belts, watches, etc. Not special treatment -- the same treatment.

I feel empowered, and confident that I was able to meet both TSA's needs and my own. You know what? If necessary, I'll do it again.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/alauriam Angela Lauria

    It was so cool to watch you in action. My underwire has set off more than one detector and the idea of just treating it like taking of shoes or a watch instead of submitting to a search is so much more empowering. Go Mama!

    • alicudby

      :)

  • June Brasil

    It’s funny, I’ve never had this happen (despite always wearing bras with underwires).  I normally wear Ewa Michalak bras while flying, so maybe that has something to do with it?  Different materials?

    • alicudby

      Thanks for commenting. I do think underwire materials play into it. But I’m not sure. I talked to a TSA dude about it once and he just said “wear a soft cup bra when you travel.” Gee, thanks.

  • Fisher1949

    Beats getting groped or strip searched, both of which happen on a routine basis.

    • alicudby

      Yup. I’ll pass on the bodily searches, thanks but no thanks!

  • Callie

    I love this story, Ali! Good for you! If more of us refused to put up with the unbelievably invasive “pat-downs” the TSA invented to put on a little security theater, the country would be better for it. Those TSA personnel go further than most men on a second date.

    • alicudby

      LOL, Callie. You’re so right. Sad but true. Thanks for commenting!

  • Darlene

    You’re so brazen! What a brilliant solution. Of course it’s easier to take it off in public than to put it on. :)

    • alicudby

      Thanks Darlene. Yes, the reverse Flashdance is a much more challenging move! :)

  • alicudby

    Thanks everyone, for your awesome comments!! It was incredibly empowering, especially since I felt like I was not interfering with TSAs job.

    Sometimes when I fly the machine doesn’t get set off, so I do think it has something to do with the materials in the underwire. Or the calibration of the detector. Or both? Not sure. Since I live in DC, I always think the level of security is higher and that’s why it gets set off so often. But I’ve been searched in other airports, as well.

    And it is for SURE easier to take the bra off than put it back on!! :)

  • http://twitter.com/CCRTina CCR@Hourglassy Tina

    LOVE this, felt inspired and actually next time I will go through airport security I’ll take it off before the gate just like the people taking their belt off, I’ll take my bra belt off! It ALWAYS triggers the alarm and is so tiring.

    • alicudby

       Hi Tina!  Thanks for your comment – I’m so glad to have inspired you!!  Maybe this will be the beginning of a movement (and I’m not just referring to us bouncing free as we go through security). -Ali

  • Alisa

    You are a star! I always get so frustrated when my belt does that but taking off a bra is heroic! 

    • alicudby

       Thanks, Alisa!!  I appreciate the support, and also you taking the time to comment. -Ali

  • LaurieDancer

    That’s awesome. I love you!

    • alicudby

       Thanks, Laurie!  It felt pretty awesome.

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