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Underwire Bra a Terrorist Threat?

October 18th, 2007     by Stacey May Fowles     Comments

In Salon’s Broadsheet today, there’s an interesting piece about a new security issue: “Along with procedures guarding against explosive breast milk, we now have a new national threat: the underwire bra.”

According to the Associated Press, Lori Plato set off security alarms when trying to enter an Idaho federal courthouse last month: U.S. Marshals Service not only asked Plato to remove her bra but gave her no viable options for doing so with any measure of privacy… “I asked if I could go into the bathroom because they didn’t have a privacy screen and no women security officers were available. They said, ‘No.’”

Have security measures just gone too far with their violation of a person’s (or a woman’s) privacy?

I’ve personally experienced the minor embarrassment of having my underwire set off airport security alarms, and I have tolerated the rigorous pat-down that resulted. But asking a woman to remove her bra infront of a group of US Marshals and numerous strangers seems a little extreme. It sems to be a form of gender-based humiliation, if you ask me:

In 2003 a Northwest Airlines flight attendant sued the Massachusetts Port Authority after her underwire bra triggered an airport metal detector in Logan Airport, and security guards searched her and compelled her to partially undress…In a 2004 story from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, several women complained of being traumatized by intrusive security searches.

There’s even something called the frequent flyer bra, created by a Japenese company that promises the undergarment won’t set off any bells and whistles when you fly.

If you read the last issue of Shameless Magazine (or if you have boobs) you’ll already know that it can be rather difficult to find a bra without underwire and padding. My solution? Go commando next time you pass a security checkpoint. Or better yet: (One woman) whose belt was setting off the alarm took her pants off altogether.

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