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Thursday, November 18, 2010

TSA + new scanners & "enhanced" pat downs = sexual assault

So, in case somehow you've managed NOT to hear about the TSA body scanners fiasco, allow me to inform you. On October 29th, new security protocols were approved by TSA to include newfangled body scanners that allow technicians to completely see underneath a passenger's clothing; for those who opt out of the full-body scans, they are to receive "enhanced" pat downs, which are like regular pat downs except that someone gets to grab your genitals and other sensitive areas on your body. WTF!!!! How on earth can TSA consider this a choice? Either let me see you naked (which is, technically, sexual assault) or I will grab your privates without your consent (also sexual assault). Apparently, even children aren't immune to the choice-that-isn't-really-a-choice-you-TSA-fuckwads. I've said it before (like out loud, not here on this blog), and I'll say it again: procedures like these do not keep us safe! In fact, they make it so none of us are safe, especially sexual assault survivors who have the misfortune of flying out of one of the airports listed here that are currently using the new scanners. Also, did I mention that these scanners are literally dangerous? This is outrageous, and I hope someone organizes a massive demonstration of passenger civil disobedience ASAP (the kind where you refuse anything but a regular pat down. who the fuck decided we should opt out and get fondled?? nu uh, not me); or at the very least, sues the bejeezus out of TSA and Homeland Security. Maybe if those departments go bankrupt they will have to stop making ridiculous infringements on the rights of regular, ticket-buying non-criminals! I'm sick of this shit, enough already!

I'd like to end with a quote from a brave man, John Tyner, who refused the scanner AND the grope at a San Diego airport, and ended up having to miss his flight:

"I don't understand how a sexual assault can be made a condition of my flying," Tyner said at one point.

"This is not considered a sexual assault," responded an unidentified airport security official.

"It would be if you weren't the government," Tyner snapped back.

So true, John, so true.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Burlesque and Aerialists at The Savoy in SB

So, I went to my very first burlesque show over the weekend for a friend's birthday. The show was pretty impressive considering I got there early and there wasn't a cover charge, tickets or anything. The performers (all white, slender women, of course) would do a 5-10 minute performance every half hour or so, alternating between burlesque, aerial stunts, and contortionism (?). Having never seen ANY such performances live before, I was in awe at their skill and bravery. The bar where they perform has been totally remodeled with beautiful leather booths and a swanky aesthetic that fits with the retro-cabaret vibe. The only part we (myself and the birthday guests) didn't like was the damn MC! He was supposed to provide the comic backdrop to the uber-sexiness of the performers, in his mime face paint and spandex pants, complete with a grating faux french accent. The worst thing about him, though, was the fact that he would sexually harass audience and performer alike in the name of a laugh; gotta love shameless objectification! Here I was thinking that burlesque was about strong women expressing sexuality and agency, but I suppose the people in charge couldn't resist throwing in some sexism, you know to appeal to "ALL"* their bar patrons. And of course, there was the whole male-sexuality-is-funny / female-sexuality-is-sexy dynamic going on.

We all decided that perhaps a female MC would have been better, maybe somehow made the whole show more feminist... but I could easily see a female MC pandering to the straight men in the audience, perhaps even trying to rival the guys in objectifying the female performers. It wouldn't be the first time... I think that a butch woman or a transwoman might balance things out, or maybe a gay man who ISN'T a sexist asshole (jury is out on the sexual orientation of the current MC). Too bad, because a club like that could REALLY tap into the queer/feminist community of SB, we need a space of our own now more than ever. I don't know if I'll ever patronize The Savoy again, is the performance worth putting up with a heavy dose of sexism every 30 minutes?

*conveniently forgetting that straight men aren't actually the only people who frequent this bar

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I'm an absentee blogger

Ok, I know last time I promised I'd be back and at 'em soon, but to be honest, life has just NOT STOPPED COMING yet. Work has become, strangely, my new main preoccupation. It's amazing how doing a job you love, as opposed to one you do for mere survival, changes you. And then the important business of making new connections here in my new home, putting down roots, settling in. If that weren't enough, my family has been going through some pretty massive changes, so I wasn't kidding when I said life has not stopped coming at me yet. Someday soon, I'll sit down and write an obnoxiously opinionated post, cross my heart and hope to die. Until then...

Oh yeah! And for those of you with the privilege, you best be voting today!