Another Reason to “Be Shameless”: TSA Agent Shames 15 Year Old Girl
by Maureen Herman
Today my friend and Boing Boing founder Mark Frauenfelder told me about some upsetting texts he got from his daughter. She is 15 years old and was flying out of LAX to visit colleges with some other students. The TSA officer checking her through gave her hostile looks and told her she needed to “cover up.” She was wearing a tank top with a plaid shirt over it and leggings. Not that it matters one bit what she was wearing. This may not seem like a big deal. To Mark it’s a big deal. To his daughter it’s a big deal. To us, things like this need to matter, because they inject shame (or try to) in a young woman who is just living her life, going to check out colleges, and throws on the first of what will unfortunately be many layers of sexism she will encounter in her life. It’s like when someone experiences racism for the first time: it’s going to happen again, but the first time is especially jarring and hurtful. Mark posted an excellent piece about the incident on Boing Boing (and quotes something I wrote on Facebook about the incident). I’m glad he’s doing this, as a parent, as a man, as a human. It’s important that we stand up for things that may not seem like a “big deal.” Because cumulatively, they become the experience of oppression. That’s why A Is For is here and staying loud. It’s why the t-shirt in our fundraising campaign says “be shameless.” Because shaming is the kernel of the infection of sexism. We need to declare our refusal to be shamed–by wearing our A’s proudly, by supporting the work of A Is For, and by wearing the A Is For “be shameless” t-shirt. These are some every day ways to stand up for this girl, for yourself, for every girl and woman. These are the ways we connect and make an impact in the War on Women. Find a way, every day.