Woman Removes Bra To Get Through TSA

Nancy Kates’s large underwire bra set off the metal detector in the Oakland, California airport. A TSA agent pulled her aside and patted her down, which set off Kates’ personal privacy alarm. “I said, ‘You can’t do that.’ She said, ‘We have to pat you down.’ I said, ‘You can’t treat me as a criminal for wearing a bra.'” Kates was given the option to “submit to a pat-down in a private room” or not fly. Instead, she took off her bra and passed through security just fine. Hooray for personal freedom!

Try to read the first sentence below and not turn “wanded” into a euphemism, we dare ya.

Kates said that although she flies about once a month, the only other time her bra has set off alarms in an airport was while she was being “wanded” in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. When she explained to the security agent that the wand was picking up the metal in her bra, she said, that was the end of the matter and she was allowed to go on her way.

The TSA says they have to check for bombs:

TSA spokesman Nico Melendez said Monday that he wasn’t familiar with the incident. But he said in all circumstances, “we have to resolve an alarm.”

That’s the case for bras, artificial hips or anything with metal that sets off an alarm, he said. “Unfortunately, we can’t take a passenger’s word for it.”

If you’re a large-breasted woman, when you reach the TSA checkpoint you might want to yank your bra off and toss it in a tray. Not because TSA is demanding it, but because we’d just love to see that start happening a lot.

“Delayed by her bra, air passenger is indignant” [SFGate] (Thanks to Scott!)
(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. charlie.evans says:

    WTF! The first thing I thought of was: how amazing would it be for someone to walk up in a chastity belt and go through one of those detectors? What in the hell will happen then?

  2. magic8ball says:

    How do they check for artificial hips? I don’t think a pat-down is going to verify that.

    • jeremymiles says:

      They don’t check for hips, but if you set off the alarm, they need to make sure you’re not carrying a bomb or a gun in your underwear.

  3. teh says:

    If you’re a large-breasted woman, when you reach the TSA checkpoint you might want to yank your bra off and toss it in a tray. Not because TSA is demanding it, but because we’d just love to see that start happening a lot.

    Gee, why don’t we all just fly naked. I’m sure people would also like that. Plus, you can always look forward to the extra security “pat down” err, I mean fondle.

  4. Ms. Pants says:

    They had those machines set to hyper-sensitive for a bra to set off the alarm. I’ve asked the TSA people about underwires and body piercings before (I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to take out my rook piercing if it set off the alarm) and they’ve always said the machines aren’t set to be THAT sensitive.

    Kinda makes me wonder if some smacked ass didn’t mess with the settings to get his jollies.

  5. sir_eccles says:

    Recent personal experience suggests that TSA is so variable between different airports that it is near to useless.

    Oddly enough, my wife managed to travel out of NY JFK on an expired ID but was stopped on the return leg from Phoenix Sky Harbor. NY seems to have some of the most lax security around yet fly out of some middle of no-where airport and they have a bug up their butts because they have nothing better to do.

  6. Etoiles says:

    My mom’s underwires set off an airport metal detector when I was about 11. I made fun of her for about a week. Karma paid me back: I now wear nearly the same size bra.

    But I flew a few dozen times in 2007 and never once did my chest set off the metal detector.

  7. sir_eccles says:

    @magic8ball: I had a feeling they used to give patients a card to carry that said they had an implant, but a quick google suggests that they don’t do that anymore.

  8. vivelafat says:

    If you’re a large-breasted woman, when you reach the TSA checkpoint you might want to yank your bra off and toss it in a tray. Not because TSA is demanding it, but because we’d just love to see that start happening a lot.

    WOW! Sexist much. That is just a fucking ridiculous statement on the part of the author. I’m glad that YOU CHRIS would like to start seeing large breasted women take their bras off in public. I hope that you know all large breasted women exist to merely please YOUR ideal.

  9. daniello says:


    Actually, they still do give “cards,” but now, they’re more like medical records to-go. My mom had a knee replacement and she has a document that not only has signatures and explanations on it, but an actual X-Ray of her knee.

  10. Tmoney02 says:

    @vivelafat: wow sensitive much? Go get a drink at happy hour and chill out.

    Perhaps he was saying that he would love to see that happen a lot just to see the reaction from TSA and it would be a great show of disdain for this whole security theater.

  11. yevarechecha says:

    See, it DOES happen! I refuse to wear bras with underwires when I fly for this very reason. Odds are, nothing would happen, but then you have a case like this and I would probably die of embarrassment.

    • Indecent says:

      I’m the same way! Even for us, ahem, “large-breasted women” there are bras out there without underwire that make you perfectly presentable to the public.

      While going through the trouble of putting your stuff in 3oz containers and packing your shiv, its not that difficult to plan ahead to wear a different bra that day.

      That being said – its still ridiculous they were set that sensitive, and ridiculous it required a pat down.

  12. “If you’re a large-breasted woman, when you reach the TSA checkpoint you might want to yank your bra off and toss it in a tray. Not because TSA is demanding it, but because we’d just love to see that start happening a lot.”

    Nice, Chris. I’ll be sure to wear my white tank top, too.

  13. shepd says:

    @vivelafat: Can you explain how wanting to look at body parts is sexist?

  14. (no, I really mean it… first I gotta buy one!)

  15. howie_in_az says:

    I am shocked and amazed by the lack of jokes about boobytraps.

  16. No_Moleste says:

    About 6 weeks ago I had a little mishap on my motorcycle just two days before leaving on my honeymoon to Mexico…flying out of Oakland to Guadalajara. I thought I had broken my wrist since it was swelled like a balloon. So I went to ER, found out it was sprained, and they put an alloy splint on my arm. When I went through security at Oakland Airport, my splint set of the metal detector so Oakland TSA made me take the splint off and run it through x-ray. It hurt like hell to take it off and put it back on again but they were adamant about it. I tried to explain to them there’s no way I could hide a gun in my arm but they were adamant. Assholes. I appreciate taking your job seriously but come on now…

  17. vivelafat says:

    @shepd: No. I will not. Maybe you should check out feminism 101.
    @Tmoney02: Nice. Maybe I should just sit down and shut my mouth like a good girl too right? Can I wear a bra when I go out to happy hour or will that not please you?
    The OP’s situation is sexist up one side and down the other but this post, instead of decrying it, it encourages it. A river of sexism running through a consumerist post. What a shame.

    • Aisley says:


      Come on Woman, knock it off!

      Whatever Chris says is just that, words with no consecuences whatsoever. You should direct your poison to the TSA. What THEY are doing is the one thing that may have very serious consecuences.

      Now, just for the heck of it, I would LOOOOOVE to see Daniel (new Bond) Craig posterior in person and very close. Boy, will he need some days off after that……

    • Cetan says:

      A self-righteous femminazi on consumerist, what a shame.

  18. @vivelafat: Surely there’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting to see breasts, but that’s not what I meant. I was thinking more along how Tmoney02 described it—sort of a comical update of the public bra-burning protests of the 70s. In fact, I think we should *all* toss our various bits of underwear in the bin from now on.

  19. mir777 says:

    Me and the triple-Ds get the buzzer about 50% of the time. The first time at LaGuardia I had a pretty rugged pat-down in front of everyone by the lovely (not) TSA lady. After that, I’ve pretty much just been wanded repeatedly and sent through.

    Everyone likes to look at boobies. It’s a fact of life.

  20. @howie_in_az: I know! I deleted the one I’d put in the post in order to give y’all an easy target, too, and still no one will bite. *sigh*

  21. MercuryPDX says:

    She said, ‘We have to pat you down.’

    Well at least it’s not “HE said I have to pat you down”. They get half a point for keeping the sexes the same.

  22. AI says:

    @vivelafat: Wanting women to cause a show just to annoy the TSA is hardly sexist, just because they wear bras and have breasts. Perhaps you have a sexist mind that just sees everything as sexist?

  23. vivelafat says:

    @Chris Walters: There is nothing wrong with wanting to look at breasts. There is something wrong when you assume that A. Everyone wants to look at them.
    B. only large breasted women should take their bras off. Some small or relatively small breasted women wear underwire bras.
    I find it hard to believe that you don’t see how I could misconstrue your statement in this manner. If you meant it more as a “lets all doff our underwear” thing then perhaps you should have clarified.

    • BeThisWay says:


      Um, he did clarify in his comment. To you. You know, the one you’re responding to right there.

      Vive, dear, this is the reason people don’t like feminists.

      BeThisWay, a Large Breasted Woman.

  24. Dervish says:

    Mine has set off the wand before, when I was “randomly selected” for an in-depth screening, but I haven’t had issues yet with the walk-though detectors. Thanks goodness, the agent screening me was sane enough to not give me trouble about it.

    I would be pretty pissed if this happened to me.

  25. joemono says:

    This is why I don’t wear bras to the airport. Well, this and the fact that I’m a guy.

  26. DarkKnightShyamalan says:

    “The TSA says they have to check for bombs.”

    But they want to check for something similar to the last word in that sentence.

  27. badhatharry says:

    @vivelafat: This doesn’t just happen to women

  28. @vivelafat: Very well. I hereby declare that I think ALL women should remove their bras at the security checkpoint. I’m not sure why we are assuming this means anyone will be flashing anyone else, so we’ll make that part optional.

    Men should remove their underwear, too.

  29. vivelafat says:

    @vivelafat: Also Chris please look at mir777 comment for why your wording was wrong. Everyone does NOT like boobies. @AirIntake: Um, yeah it is sexist. I could have feminist bingo on this site already. Feminazi accusations, reverse sexism, what’s next telling me if I was only nicer people would listen to me?

  30. srhbks says:

    My bra set off the metal detector the last time I flew. A female TSA agent gently patted me down and it really wasn’t a big deal. The TSA is ridiculous 99% of the time, but I can’t see why this bothered Kates so much.

    As for the artificial joints- my grandmother has a couple and the hospital gave her a card to show if she sets off a metal detector.

    • TheRedDuke says:

      @srhbks: YOU may not mind strangers touching you in intimate places, but other do.

      • jeremymiles says:

        Then they shouldn’t fly on airplanes. I’d rather get patted down then find that someone who didn’t get patted down on my flight (Hey! Even on another flight!) had a bomb in their underwear.

  31. AI says:

    @vivelafat: This is a story about a large breasted woman being forced to take her (probably) large bra off in public. There is nothing sexist with finding it funny if women did this en masse. The TSA would be embarrassed by their negative command being turned into a positive response, and that’s what would be funny. This wouldn’t be funny at all in a ha ha fat boobies and bras way. You truly don’t understand feminism is you believe this to be sexist, and you undermine the women that worked so hard and do understand the movement.

  32. ThickSkinned says:

    @vivelafat: I agree with you completely. If one of us made a comment like that about a women in a story, we would suffer the wrath of the ban hammer.

  33. missdona says:

    I never wear an underwire to travel. I had a TSA agent tell me that anything that beeps has to be touched and that was that.

  34. missdona says:

    @srhbks: My mom has replacement hips, and the hospital gave her a card. The TSA does not care and they feel her up anyway.

  35. Sudonum says:

    LOL, Spinal Tap was the first thing I thought of when I saw this post as well.

  36. LoganRage says:


    Umm, reactive much? So much for your feminism if you don’t see the connection to the bra burning of years past. And spare all of us the large breasted vs small breasted spiel, really, I’m actually surprised that anyone even responded to this tripe.

    As for the story though, it is a bit ridiculous that it got to the point that she had to actually remove her bra, hopefully someone at least apologized or did something to assuage that near invasion of personal privacy.

  37. MercuryPDX says:

    @AirIntake @vivelafat: You got your Jezebel in my Consumerist.
    (props to biggyfred)

  38. The_IT_Crone says:

    This happened to me. They didn’t give me the option to go into a private room; they patted me town in front of about 100 people. I was not happy. Just to make this clear, they don’t “pat” you innocently and let you go on your way. They put their hand down between your breasts and run it down. Then they cup each breast to feel underneath. Absolutely humiliating.

    I’ll be wearing sports bras from now on.

    • Ilovemygeek says:

      I’ve gone through wearing sports bras and have STILL gotten wanded despite not setting off the system. The TSA’s response “sorry doll I have to pick someone to screen and I chose YOU”

  39. Sarge1985 says:

    @vivelafat: How about you get a sense of humor and relax. Nobody here really wants to see yours or any one else’s breasts or underwear. You are just looking for something to complain about.

    As to the TSA, it seems the terrorists have won since we now have to submit to these degrading searches of babies and grandmothers when it is young men of Arabic descent between the ages of 17 and 40 that caused all the trouble. But, we can’t profile them because that offends someone’s sensibility of fair play. Try to describe the perpetrator of a crime without describing their coloring or ethnicity.

    • HogwartsAlum says:


      If you focus exclusively on young Arab men between 17-40, then the next set of terrorists will be grandmothers carrying babies. When authorities like TSA (or anyone) uses reactionary measures, the bad guys will always be one step ahead.

      And, it IS possible to take off your bra without removing your shirt. I’m a girl and I can do it.

      • Ms. Pants says:

        @fjordtjie: There are plastic underwire bras. And anyone with more than a B cup will probably be impaled by the snapping plastic within 20 minutes of putting one on. I’ve got large Ds and I had to stop buying bras at Victoria Secret because I snap their metal underwires within a week.

        @HogwartsAlum: Amen sista. Most chicks I know learned how to take their bras off while still clothed when Flashdance came out. (Hello, I’m ancient.) If not when the movie came out, then certainly in gym glass.

        I guess I’m a little odd. If my underwire set off the machine, I’d probably have some fun with it at TSA’s expense. I doubt most of those agents are thrilled to have to investigate metal tits–I mean, they are only supposed to let women fondle the women. Why not moan inappropriately? Throw your head back and let out a woop woop?

        And hell, if I actually took my bra off, you can bet your sweet ass I’d probably twirl it over my head like a lasso a few times before dumping it in a scan-bucket. That’s the proper way to take off a bra anyway, isn’t it? Remove, lasso, chuck.

  40. vivelafat says:

    @Chris Walters: I think my problem is that this situation is blatantly sexist. It is one that ONLY plagues women, and is a basic flaw in the TSA system (one of many, albeit) The fact that I, as someone with breasts should have to expect to get patted down at the airport merely because of my desire to contain said breasts is SEXIST. And yet you make no mention of that. The truth is, you didn’t include men in your original statement because there is no intimate garment that men traditionally wear (that women do not)which would require them to basically consent to a pat down every time they had to fly. That is the problem. And you didn’t even touch on that. Instead you said “let’s have all the big breasted women take their bra’s off to protest” You could have added, ” just like at spring break WOOOOOOO! lets spray them with water at the same time WOOOOO!” And you invited comments on how everyone LURVS THEM SOME BOOBIES. WIth all due respect, that is an error in your judgment I believe.

    • Jabberkaty says:

      Dang, missed the party. Oh well. I love boobs.

      With all the already unfair, invasive, embarrassing and ultimately flexible ‘policies’ of the TSA I’m not surprised and I will start working out so I can run and swim to all of the places I need to visit.

      I feel bad for gals who have to wear under wire bras, whether or not they have to take them off, they always dig in. At least they do if you buy the cheap ones…

  41. vivelafat says:

    @MercuryPDX: Ok, that was funny. See, feminazi’s occasionally do have a sense of humor. (only when I am also actively kicking men in the balls though)

    • dweebster says:

      For someone claiming to be so allegedly sensitive and feminist, it’s an odd turn for you to toss out the term “kicking men in the balls” as though it’s funny.

      It struck you at your “feminist” core when a guy jokingly proposed women should overwhelm the TSA clowns enmasse with bra-removal protests. And yet your “feminist” sensitivity has no problem with joking about inflicting severe physical pain and likely damage to another human being’s reproductive organs, simply for being of the male gender.

      If THAT is the kind of feminism that you subscribe to – that kicking a man’s testicles is “funny” and yet removing a bra in protest for a TSA rule is abhorrent to you – you’re only making it easier for idiots like Limbaugh to demonize and negate your issues. In fact, that’s exactly the stereotype they like – ball-busting, easily set-off, generically man-hating whiners.

      I like titties as much as the next guy (and girl), but whenever I’m stupid enough to fly somewhere I have one thing on my mind: get past the TSA theater and onto the plane. If a protest happens to liven up this dull event – guy removing penis piercing, women removing bra, child removing her braces… then the slight delays will be more than offset by the entertainment factor. Maybe the overly-helpful actions will lead to a reexamining of their policies.

      One thing stands out for me though – I now routinely fly with slip-on shoes and toss every metal thing I have into a bag beforehand. Are there absolutely NO alternative types of bras available to women that aren’t made of metal? If non-metal bras ARE available, then wearing metal bras through the TSA is just “baiting” the TSA handlers. Just as if I were to wear metallic pants on my next flight. They ARE “metal detectors”…

  42. jakesprincess says:

    @Sarge1985: This happened to me to, the Christmas after 9/11; it was a couple of months after we started flying again. I was so embarrassed and humiliated. Even more so because I was traveling with my father and he had to witness his early-20s daughter being manhandled by not one but two male TSA agents. I asked for a female and they said none were available and I was not offered the option to go into a private room. They also told me to just go with the flow and it would go faster.

    I don’t think “going with the flow” involves two males.

    Up until about a year ago I used to have to fly every month for work, domestically and internationally. Funny, it only happened to me that one time. But I tell you, every time I had to go through security I would get all anxious and nervous that it would happen again.

  43. quirkyrachel says:

    Like Jay Leno once said, aren’t you glad the shoe bomber wasn’t the underwear bomber? But seriously, I keep around one or two older bras with no wiring specifically for flying (they’re more comfortable anyway).

  44. TheSpatulaOfLove says:


    You ask about artificial hips? I got one.

    Nine times out of ten, it doesn’t set off the detector, unless they have the sensitivity jacked up WAY high.

    I am reminded of a lovely trip through LaGuardia one time where I was in a full suit, and tried to catch an earlier flight out of town after our meetings adjourned early. First the holier-than-thou TSA didn’t like the size of my bag for carry on, which by the way passed through my arriving flight and the airline’s requirement without issue, so off to the bag check I went.

    When I returned, the TSA agents that gave me guff the first time around thought it was funny to slow the line down further when they saw I was in an obvious hurry to make the flight. When it came my turn to do the TSA shuffle, I set the detector off. I had removed my shoes and belt already, so there wasn’t any metal on my body (I don’t wear watches and the only jewelry I wear is my wedding band).

    I tried explaining I had a fake hip, but the TSA agent wouldn’t hear of it. I requested to be manually wanded, but again, they wouldn’t – they wanted to fuck with me and make me miss the flight. After going through the detector 3 times, each time either having to remove something or walk some weird way (and watching the agents have fun with this) I set it off every time. Finally I got pissed and raised my voice.

    “I told you three times already, I have a fake hip!”

    And I dropped my pants right there and showed them the huge scar.

    At that point they saw it prudent to let me go.

    And yes – those bastards made me miss the flight, so I got to enjoy lovely LaGuardia for the next six hours.

  45. vivelafat says:

    @AirIntake: Why would this be funny if women did it in mass? Why would this be a positive response? I know you think I am doing this just to be an asshole. I’m not. I’m a woman telling you I think it’s sexist. Why is it so hard for you to accept that just because you aren’t seeing it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist?

  46. The_IT_Crone says:

    “If you’re a large-breasted woman, when you reach the TSA checkpoint you might want to yank your bra off and toss it in a tray. Not because TSA is demanding it, but because we’d just love to see that start happening a lot.”>/I>

    I just want to point out that for us large-boobied ladies, it’s not that easy to just “yank off my bra and toss it in a tray.” I’d probably rip something, accidently flash someone, or hurt myself. How great! You’ve been watching too many porn movies if you think it’s that simple.

    And “everyone does not luv boobies.” I in fact hate mine. They are way too large in proportion to my body and give me back problems (especially when not corralled). But hey, it would entertain the other travelers so we should just do it!

    It was an ambiguitous enough comment that it’s hard to tell if it was sexist, but it was definitely insensitive.

  47. The_IT_Crone says:

    #$$@$#@@$# tags. Sorry.

  48. vivelafat says:

    @jakesprincess: Sorry that you had to go through that. Super sucks.

  49. @vivelafat: Wow. People are trying to be nice to you, trying to keep things nice and calm, and you won’t have any of it! Why are you still going on and on and on and on? Maybe I should be the first person to point out that this type of carrying on is against Consumerist commenting rules. It has taken the comments off the topic at hand!

  50. Sarge1985 says:

    @jakesprincess: I agree that “going with the flow” should permit someone of either sex to manhandle anyone else. but, until we take back our country from the PC police and get rid of the abomination known as the TSA, we are not going to ever progress. My first flight after 9/11 was when my family and I returned from overseas and had to endure some of the stupidity displayed by these poorly trained clowns.

    This is not about seeing someones “boobies” as some would have you to believe, it is about the gross abuse of power displayed by those with the appearance of authority.

  51. The_IT_Crone says:

    @shepd: why is wanting to look at body parts sexist? When you demand that EVERY woman be the object of your desire, regardless of her wishes. It’s called “objectification.”

  52. vivelafat says:

    @MercuryPDX: Yeah, because we know women can’t grope other women….oh wait……

  53. vivelafat says:

    @thnkwhatyouthnk: Please do point that out. Please fucking do. If it is against the rules to point out that a post is sexist and that the situation described in the post is sexist then by all fucking means ban me.

  54. missdona says:

    @TheSpatulaOfLove: Ew.

    My mom’s first hip replacement was circa 1980 and she still has some of the prosthetic left over when it was re-done. She sets off the metal detector every single time.

  55. Sarge1985 says:

    @Sarge1985: should not^

  56. jakesprincess says:

    @vivelafat: The kicker is I have an MA in Women’s Studies. I had to really fight to control my temper and ire and also furstrations, ie.not point out the sexism and objectification of my body that was going on, because I was more afarid of what would happen if I made a fuss. But it made me feel sick inside. And the look on my fatehr’s face is one I will never forget.

  57. mzhartz says:

    Being a DD, I’ve only had a bra set off a metal detector once, they wanded me, it was obvious what it was, and I went on my merry way.

    If they wanted to do a pat down in public, sure, I’d just take the bra off. Depending on how rude they were, I may or may not use the slip off through the sleeve method; if they want to make a scene, I’ll make it a scene.

    And I’m a declared feminist. But I’m not going to hold it against someone for making a joke. Sheesh. Yes, it’s terrible that woman have to go through this and that the TSA can practically get away with murder, but I’m not offended by a boob joke.

    I am afraid that if we all started taking our bras off to get through the metal detector, they’d just make it standard like they did with shoes.

  58. hills says:

    It’s not blatantly sexist – Anyone who sets off the metal detector with no visible reason has to be pat down – This happens to many people, including women with underwire bras – not women in general. I certainly don’t want to see a headline about a size DDD terrorist who smuggled bombs in her boobs onto the plane:)

    Just because you have an underwire bra doesn’t mean you don’t have to follow the rules and can pull out the “sexist!” card – of course, you should have the option to remove your bra in a private area, if you care….

  59. MercuryPDX says:

    @vivelafat: No, because situations like the one jakesprincess went through SHOULD NOT HAPPEN.

  60. @vivelafat: You have not just pointed out that something was sexist (whether or not that’s truly the case is, obviously, up for debate). You have ceaselessly commented so that you can argue with the other commenters. Don’t use the sexism defense when it only took one comment to make your point.

  61. @thnkwhatyouthnk: Yes, when Roz sees this she’s not going to be amused, I imagine.

    On that note, any other complaints about the apparent intention of the post, and any perceived sexism in my writing, should be taken offline. Either email me personally or send it to Ben. Let’s keep the talk about the TSA and their ridiculous treatment of U.S. citizens, in particular (for this thread) over something as commonplace as underwire bras.

  62. vivelafat says:

    @MercuryPDX: Agreed.

  63. Jevia says:

    I hope Nancy Kates brings a lawsuit on behalf of all women about these actions.

  64. The_IT_Crone says:

    @jakesprincess: Me too (WS degree and working on my Masters, having full understanding but not wanting to get in trouble…)! Only I was with my coworkers.

    The way they were pawing my breasts I was wondering if they had pulled me aside just to see if they were “real,” because I never heard the detector go off.

    Seeing the absolute insensitivity of this post just amazes me, and I wonder if they thought they were trying to make some “bra burning” comparison… and failed miserably. It just came off as degrading and mocking of our situation.

    I mean:
    “Try to read the first sentence below and not turn “wanded” into a euphemism, we dare ya.” is not a mature way to talk about a situation where TSA’s are abusing their authority in order to fondle women.

  65. Parapraxis says:

    look, you’re just digging yourself into a really deep hole. I just stumbled across this thread and you’re really not making a good impression being so hypersensitive and on the attack.

    Personally, as a male, I think that women should do it, to cause as much hassle as possible to the dumbass TSA screeners. Eventually, laziness will win out, and they’ll just let it go.

  66. Antediluvian says:

    I took the post to mean it would be great to see people protesting the TSA’s stupid-ass policies, but I can see how it could be construed to seem sexist.

    I do not believe that’s how Chris intended it, based on his past postings.

    Just like w/ racist and homophobic language, intent plays a part.

    I’ve little doubt that were this a story of pacemakers setting off metal detectors and someone took it out of their chest, the same suggestion of a mass demonstration might be proposed. Or as another poster above said, all the folks w/ artificial hips should drop trou and show off their scars.

  67. The_IT_Crone says:

    @Parapraxis: “Personally, as a male, I think that women should do it, to cause as much hassle as possible to the dumbass TSA screeners. Eventually, laziness will win out, and they’ll just let it go.”

    I don’t think you understand that it would be MUCH more hassle for the women than the TSA screeners. And I don’t know about you but I already have enough hassle at the airport. Voluntary pain/annoyance isn’t worth the TSA screeners leering at me if I take off my bra. They’d be more likely to require it after that than to let it go. They CAN’T just stop screening women just because they have bras, but they are doing it WRONG.

  68. @teh: The only problem with flying naked is that Southwest won’t let you get on the plane! If they raise such a fuss over a short skirt, I’d hate to see what happens when someone shows up wearing nothing but a smile.

  69. Wubbytoes says:

    It seems like I’m constantly hearing new ways for the TSA to make riding in an airplane the most frustrating and humiliating experience imaginable. This is just another reason for me to drive everywhere.

  70. @Jevia: Apparently she’s doing that, going through the ACLU and NOW (National Organization of Women).

  71. Macroy says:

    Chris, you know you shouldn’t joke on the internet, because the internet is serious business.

  72. vivelafat says:

    @Chris Walters: My apologies. Honestly. I really didn’t thinking that discussing sexism on a post about women being forced to remove their bras was off topic. Clearly, there is a need for a post to discuss that, given some of the comments on here. I was unaware that this wasn’t the one. Again my apologies.

  73. TheSpatulaOfLove says:


    *rolling eyes*

    I had boxer shorts on.

  74. valthun says:

    @vivelafat: They do, but TSA ignores them. My mom has a replacement knee, and she gets the pat down every time she flies. The answer is that a terrorist may fake the note.

  75. missdona says:

    @TheSpatulaOfLove: Ohhh.. I was Ewing your experience with the evil-doers, not your dropping your pants.

    Sorry ’bout that.

  76. Quilt says:

    So would someone with a metal hip have to saw their leg off? There’s a line between “resolving an alarm” and just being an idiot. Seems they crossed it here.

  77. @vivelafat: I think my problem is that this situation is blatantly sexist. It is one that ONLY plagues women, and is a basic flaw in the TSA system (one of many, albeit)

    There are a lot of problems that only affect one gender or the other. For every situation you list where women are shafted, I can list a different situation where men are shafted.

    This injustice, however, only affects women who choose to wear bras with metal. If an underwire is a must, are there not plastic underwire bras? Bam! Plastics are the future and will solve all the worlds problems.

    Or maybe it’s time for a line of TSA-approved undergarments?

    @jakesprincess: That’s unacceptable. The ACLU appears to be collecting stories on that topic (or was in 2004, at least).

    • jenl1625 says:

      @Michael Belisle: This injustice, however, only affects women who choose to wear bras with metal. If an underwire is a must, are there not plastic underwire bras? Bam! Plastics are the future and will solve all the worlds problems.

      The underwire is hidden, so it’s not that obvious (when you’re buying it) whether it’s metal or plastic. However, I prefer metal because they last longer. The plastic ones have a habit of snapping if you bend/twist the wrong way.

      And sure, there are bras with no underwire. But I find them far less comfortable. Sports bras aren’t too bad, but I wouldn’t want to be wearing one when what I expected to be a 3-hour flight adds a 5-hour delay . . . .

      And really – I can go through metal detectors everywhere else (the courthouse, the emergency room, the federal building, etc.) without my bra setting them off. Why is TSA setting it to be so sensitive? Are they worried we’ll sharpen the wires into shivs or something?

  78. bohemian says:

    @vivelafat: Please please stop. You don’t speak for all “feminists”. Calm down already.

    I’m all for equal opportunity leering. Bring on the hot guys with prince alberts.

  79. Shadowfire says:

    @vivelafat: “The truth is, you didn’t include men in your original statement because there is no intimate garment that men traditionally wear (that women do not)which would require them to basically consent to a pat down every time they had to fly.”

    Really? Men’s belt buckles tend to be much larger, and I know mine sets off the alarm at times, depending on the airport. I don’t exactly have some giant Texas belt buckle or some such… just a normal belt. But I’m a guy – the belt is bigger, hence the buckle is bigger. When my wife and I flew for our honeymoon, my buckle set off the alarm, and I got the pat down. You know what? My wife’s bra did not.

    Oh, sorry.. should use another phrase besides “my wife.” Here goes the sexism again!

    You know what the OP meant. You’re just being a nutjob. It was not sexist, it was a joke, and you need to lighten up a bit.

  80. vivelafat says:

    @Michael Belisle: TSA approved undergarments are the WAVE of the future. Mmmmmm sexy TSA panties. (and no, plastic underwire bras are not an option for some women)

  81. katylostherart says:

    i wish my tongue ring set off the metal detector :(

  82. oldheathen says:

    Considering the proximal reference to “wanding”, I don’t think anything was misconstrued. I personally didn’t find it offensive, but can see that some would.

  83. Zulujines says:

    I have to admit I was also offended at the implication that it would be amusing for women who are being publicly fondled (and likely humiliated) to just fling their bras off. Yes, I get the joke. Tee-hee! But seriously, if this happened to me, I’d be devastated.

    In two months, I’ll be flying for the first time and I’m far more afraid of TSA screeners than hijackers.

  84. valthun says:

    @sir_eccles: My comment was actually supposed to go to you, not vivelafat, weird.

  85. TheSpatulaOfLove says:


    Want your tongue ring to set it off? Lick the side of the detector! :p


    Intarweb doesn’t have a voice inflection meter – sometimes cynicism and sarcasm are missed. Thanks for making peace. ;)

  86. Techguy1138 says:

    This tread has gotten quite stupid.

    Women should be exempted from security checks since women could never be a security threat. I mean after all they are JUST women.

    That beeping noise coming from the metal detector. Should be ignored. Just because there is a metal warning coming from a area of someones body large enough to conceal a small handgun does not mean it should be investigated.

    vivelafat- Is the above how you think security checks should work? you seem to imply that as a women because you may need to wear an under-wire bra you should be exempt.

    The TSA should treat ALL people more humanely when it comes to security checks what ever the reason. Just because you are a women does not mean you should get a special pass when it comes to setting off a detector.

    Your righteous indignation is just a thinly veiled attack on all those around you.

    If the post was insensitive or sexist it is bringing to light an issue that actually affects women in a negative way and shows this action in a negative light. This IS a feminist issues post while your critique and attacks are off base.

    Also as I am fond to point out this is a blog and not a serious news source. I also like to point out this is a gawker blog. The gawker version of feminism involves criticism of the physical flaws of women stars while getting drunk and looking for man candy. Look elsewhere for politically ‘correct’ debate.

  87. katylostherart says:

    @vivelafat: yeah i’m a chick and i’m totally ok with seeing big boobs sans bra.

    step 1: remove panties from bum
    step 2: untwist
    step 3: rejoice

    and that “plastic underwire bras are not an option” is kinda crap. a bra is optional period. you don’t need one. your boobs could hang to your waist and you still wouldn’t NEED one. if you think you do, get a sports bra. those are pretty much all spandex and and awesome made for every chest. no metal parts, still have support. you’re on an airplane not a runway. i wear flipflops and track bottoms for flying because it makes every stage of security hell comfortable and easy for me and the airport personnel. need to remove shoes? no problem. sock/ankle check? no problem!

    the woman in this post did the right thing though.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @katylostherart: Though flip flops and may be comfortable for the security checks, they’re extremely dangerous if you ever encounter an emergency on a plane. Always wear closed-toe shoes, all you have to do is unlace them — is that so hard?

  88. BigPapaCherry says:

    @Shadowfire: Finally, someone with the male’s equivalent. Men have belts, women have bras, we all can get the pat down if we don’t take them off.

    It’s ridiculous that the TSA are abusing their power like this and that’s the important part of this story, not the sexism side-topic.

  89. allthatsevil says:

    According to the article, she went to the ladies’ room to remove the bra, and then went through the line again – bra-less. To me, having large breasts and standing in line with bra in hand is even more humiliating.

    I would’ve taken it off right in front of them and plopped it down in the tray. Of course, I’d have to go to the ladies’ room to put it back on, but at least I wouldn’t have to stand in line with my ta-tas hanging out.

  90. BigPapaCherry says:

    @katylostherart: step 4: Profit

  91. katylostherart says:

    @allthatsevil: if she went through all the trouble to go to the ladies’ she could’ve stuck it in her purse which would then go in the tray.

    @BigPapaCherry: rule 34, someone has probably already profited :(

  92. allthatsevil says:

    @katylostherart: The part I was referring to as humiliating is having to stand in line without the bra on. I have no problem waving my bra around, but as the article also points out, standing around with no bra on can be uncomfortable, and even painful for a woman with very large breasts. The only time I don’t wear one is when I go to bed; then gravity isn’t an issue.

    It’s also very obvious when a large-breasted woman is not wearing a bra. Having to stand in line like that, not knowing how many people might be staring, is humiliating.

  93. digitalgimpus says:

    I’m surprised after she removed it they didn’t call the local police and charge her with indecency. I guess the TSA is improving.

  94. katylostherart says:

    @allthatsevil: i stand by my sports bra statement then.

  95. Superawesomerad says:

    @vivelafat: From one feminist to another: You are making us look bad. Just stop it.

    What I want to know is what kind of crazy sci-fi bra this woman was wearing that it managed to set off a metal detector.

  96. floraposte says:

    Have we really gotten that far without a mention of the Bluefly ad?

  97. Ouze says:

    i suppose this is wrong of me – but I don’t really have any problem with the TSA checking this out. As usual their ham handed methods could have been better but if someone is setting off the metal detector, it’s pretty reasonable to check it out. “No, I just have big boobs” isn’t to my thinking an adequate reason to pass the alarm without any sort of additional screening.

    Of course, once they ascertained it WAS just a bra underwire, maybe they could have tuned the wand so it wasn’t so sensitive – assume it wasn’t a chainmal bra or something.

  98. @vivelafat: Hey Sister! The last time women snatched off their bras en masse, the ERA was passed!

  99. bohemian says:

    The entire way the TSA is doing this is just wrong. There is no consistency and way too much room for abuse. I don’t want two male strangers feeling me up, I don’t really want a female stranger doing it either. I doubt there are many guys who really want some random TSA person rifling around in your pants either.

    Somehow I have a feeling the new flying uniform will be an orange jumpsuit and those creepy plastic jail sandals all provided courtesy of the TSA to make screening easier.

  100. @Ouze: If the TSA guy is cute, I wouldn’t mind good pat-down.

    But for serious, I agree that the TSA should be checking everyone who sets off an alarm… including me and my DD metal underwire bra. I mean, if I noted that security is just waving women thru, and I were trying to sneak something on the plane….

  101. Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

    Folks, vivelafat was asked to knock it off by Chris. Please stop goading her (him?) continuously; it’s not fair to call someone out who can’t write back.

    This is a general simmer-down warning. Behave yourselves, please.

    • BeThisWay says:

      Folks, vivelafat was asked to knock it off by Chris. Please stop goading her (him?) continuously; it’s not fair to call someone out who can’t write back.

      This is a general simmer-down warning. Behave yourselves, please.


      Sorry Roz, didn’t see that until after I posted. But there were 185 comments, and my boobs were in the way.

  102. ZzFDKzZ says:

    @ missdona: just cause you got a doctor card saying you have an implant shouldn’t excuse anyone from skipping security. Anyone can easily make a fake card and smuggle things.

  103. Parapraxis says:


    better not be more than 3 oz of breast milk in there!!!!

  104. shepd says:

    @vivelafat: If that’s your answer, then you’re wrong. Feminism has nothing to do with sexism, it generally has to do with misogyny.

    Again, if you can’t state why (without implying something that wasn’t said), it isn’t sexism.

    • Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

      @shepd: @MPHinPgh: @Kia: @lannister80: I specifically said to knock it off and leave vivelafat alone as she has been asked by Chris to discontinue her line of debate in this thread. You all ignored what I said, even after (in some cases) it was repeated by other posters! Read the posts above you before posting. Consider this a warning.

  105. ShreeThunderbird says:

    A few months ago a woman had to remove her bra to enter the county
    courthouse in North Idaho.

  106. GothamGal says:


    Spoken like a true smalled-breasted woman. You don’t need a bra? I remember when I was 18 and thought that I knew everything.

    This situation is appalling. It is dehumanizing. When is it going to stop?

    • katylostherart says:

      @GothamGal: i’m not 18 and i’m actually correct. you do not NEED a bra. considering women of all shapes and sizes made it about 40 millenia without the bra you really do not need one. it’s a convenient alternative, much like, say, tampons. you can do without them or wear a stretchy gym shirt or a sports bra or go braless. you do not NEED a bra.

      • katiat325 says:

        @katylostherart: i personally think you’re wrong. i’m a small-breasted woman, but i have many large-breasted friends and relatives, and so i know that they NEED a good bra that offers good support. I have a friend who’s suffering from back problems because as she was growing up, she couldn’t afford good bras, and wore some cheap stuff that didn’t do much for support. Talking with relatives, if you want to avoid having to go to the doctor’s for continual back problems, you NEED a bra. As for me, I don’t need one. I can easily put on a hoodie and walk around w/o a bra, with no problem — but at least i can understand woman that do NEED bras.
        In addition, for women of ages past, mind you, we also didn’t live to the age of 70, nor have there been any concrete historical studies on how women fared without support — and what could hav ehappend if they had it.

        What this woman went through has probably violated CA state law, and since it’s OAkland airport, I’m not surprised if they had some flunkies from Contra Costa working there, or Alameda. I would have raised hell if I was her, then again, I can ealisy take off my bra w/my clothes still on.

        • Rectilinear Propagation says:

          You have to in order to take off a bra – most of the time.
          @North of 49: Actually, taking off a bra without taking off your shirt isn’t as hard as it might sound.

          @katiat325: Word. No bra = pain at some point. Besides, isn’t clothing considered a basic need?

        • katylostherart says:

          @katiat325: considering most of the world still doesn’t wear bras and still come in all shapes and sizes, and breast size being more genetically determined than weight determined, you don’t need studies. having large breasts is the problem when it comes to a bad back. if i had small saggy boobs down to my waist they’d be just as easy to carry as small boobs smack on top of my chest. large boobs smack on top of your chest and large boobs down to your waist both create back strain. a bra may help but it does not solve if they’re truly that big.

          women’s breasts also sag well before the age of 70. and women commonly have commonly lived til the age of 50 for quite a few centuries now. they still do even in places without things like in penicillin. considering first birth ages in third world countries they sag at 20 just as easily as at 70. you can check the discovery channel if you don’t believe a 20 year old and have large sagging breasts. sagging also has some basis in genetics as well but usually it’s due to breast feeding and weight loss/gain in younger women.

          bras, corsets and other metal and starched cloth support underwear have been in existence around 400 years and not for most of the female population in the world. considering things like metal were needed for busks and shape in corsets, and that was and still is expensive, most women did not have them even after invention. not to mention the cost of caring for things that need to be shaped and starched or when laces couldn’t be replaced if there was a break. it’s only in the last 100+ years or so that supportive or restraining underwear has been common in western and industrialized populations.

          certain cultures had garments that naturally tailored themselves to support of breasts. such as the shirts accompanying saris in india. they were usually fitted to support and display. obis on japanese kimono combined with layers of robes underneath had the same effect. some of the largest, curviest women in the world, pacific islanders, still do not wear bras. many dresses now and tailored dress shirts (not oxfords) come with support in the shape and strapping that make it very possible to not wear a bra.

          you don’t need to do any historical studies you can pick most almost any region in the world and ask women how they feel their breast size does and give them bras and for a month and see if that makes it easier.

          i’m personally just big enough to require a bra for things like running. it’s not a necessity it just makes the action more comfortable.

          • Rectilinear Propagation says:

            certain cultures had garments that naturally tailored themselves to support of breasts.
            @katylostherart: You realize that this actually hurts your argument, right?

            • katylostherart says:

              @Rectilinear Propagation: wasn’t lined with metal. it was meant to provide example where outer layers of clothing could assume the function of modern underwear and have.

              @PinkBox: is everyone assuming their own definitions of the words i’m using? bras are not a necessity they are a modern convenience. it’s really really just a fact. i’m sure she does notice a difference. incredibly flat chested women get cleavage from bras, saggy boobs are all of a sudden perky, all boobs don’t jiggle as much, large nipples are not as prominent and a cold office becomes less noticeable. i am not saying, nor have i ever, that a bra does not serve some function. i am only saying that there are alternatives and they are not necessities and that they can and have been done without for literally ages and that they still are in a good chunk of the world.

  107. @Shadowfire: I don’t understand why a pat down would be needed when wearing a large belt buckle, can’t you just pull up the part of the shirt that hangs over or open the jacket/coat obscuring it? It’s usually worn on the outside of pants, so why couldn’t you just show them that it’s a belt buckle and they can wand it? Is it that they think there is something metal in your waistband other than the buckle, and they have to check under your clothes?

  108. Believe it or not I had my IUD (look it up if you don’t know) set off a metal detector in India along with my bra. I was told during insertion that it was impossible because the amount of copper used in them in very very tiny, but it did happen. A very large sari clad woman grabbed me roughly and intimately until she was assured that what ever was beeping couldn’t be reached in a pat down. If we had both spoken the same language maybe it would have gone smoother, but I doubt it.

    La Guardia did the same thing on the way back with my bra. I was checked and rechecked several times. If I wasn’t so self conscious I would have stripped naked right there, bent over and coughed just so they would get off my ass and stop groping me.

    The amount of “handling” I get on an average flight is more than I’ve ever gotten in a seedy bar. I’m sick of being touched when ever time I want to fly and I hate that I have to receive a government sanctioned molestation before I’m considered worthy of taking the shitty uncomfortable flight I overpaid for.

    I’ve gotten the amount of flying I do to about once every three years and only for my job. It would be nice to take a vacation to somewhere more than 10 hours away, but I just can’t take the humiliation and abuse required to fly.

  109. bria says:

    @Chris Walters:
    There were no REAL bra burning protests in the 70’s. Look it up.

  110. The_IT_Crone says:

    @katylostherart: Well that comment pretty much proves you’re lying about being a woman. Women are aware that some women can not be sans bra w/o pain. I am one of them. I can NOT go without a bra, I will be in tears in just a few minutes without one. Do not presume that just because that you don’t need one, then NO ONE needs one.

    Also the comparison to men’s belts is bull. Belts can be taken off. Belts don’t mean that your penis will be patted down in front of spectators. Maybe if someone with testicular cancer gets a metal ball implant, then we’d have a similar example. Maybe men with penis piercings can understand.

    @ceejeemcbeegee: …the ERA never passed. Women are still unequal in the eyes of the law in this country.

    I DO believe that any metal being detected should be investigated. I am not asking for a free pass for all women. However I DO take exception to them fondling me in front of a large group of people without giving me any kind of alternate option. I wasn’t able to raise my eyes from the floor until I got on the plane.

    Doctors’ notes unfortunately aren’t good enough. Even IF they’re not faked, there are unscrupulous doctors out there. Plus you could get a card, THEN take advantage of it to smuggle something. Security is a tricky business.

  111. Comments are not enabled says:

    even with a comment moderator this thread is pretty piss-poor

  112. bria says:

    @Comments are not enabled:
    What an outstanding contribution from someone saying the thread is piss-poor… ridiculous.

  113. Juliekins says:

    @TheSpatulaOfLove: I love your trou dropping method, I may have to recommend that to my dad who also has an artificial hip. He’s the kind of guy to do it, given sufficient provocation, I think. He does have a spiffy card, though–it has an x-ray picture of his hip on one side with contact info for his orthopedic surgeon. On the other side is a photograph of an (uninstalled) artificial hip. He’s never set off a metal detector, FWIW.

  114. dewsipper says:

    Not to jump too far “off topic” (ok, bad joke, I know), but when I flew a lot, I had my airport bra, airport shoes, airport belt, airport hair clip. Now they make you take off your shoes regardless. I personally think it’s total BS to make you walk through any public place in your socks – especially since you supposedly HAVE to wear shoes to even enter the airport. What’s the logic there? You can’t walk through the concourse, but you can walk in a narrow passage where everyone has to walk, so you can pick up all their nasty cooties? I just really don’t get that.

  115. MPHinPgh says:

    @vivelafat: On your point “A”, I’m not sure about everyone, but if you narrow the group down to just guys, then pretty much yes, we all want to see boobs.

    There. I said it. Don’t hold it against me, it’s just nature.

    Now, as far as the “everyone fly naked” thing…forget it. I’m wise enough to know that no one wants to see me naked. And I’m OK with that fact. So you can all rest assured that I will be keeping my clothes on. Your Welcome ;-)

  116. The_IT_Crone says:

    @JamieSueAustin: I was going to post when I stopped recoiling in horror but I don’t think that’s going to happen soon. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m showing up to flights in drawstring pants, slippers, a sportsbra and a light t-shirt. I get the feeling I’m not the only one :(

    You sum it up really well:

    “…I hate that I have to receive a government sanctioned molestation before I’m considered worthy of taking the shitty uncomfortable flight I overpaid for.”

    I’d vastly prefer to go behind a screen and flash someone than have them pawing me in front of a terminal full of people. But that still doesn’t make me happy. I really do believe the last time they were just checking to see if my breasts were real (everyone assumes I have implants)- I don’t see why they needed to SQUEEZE them.

  117. Kia says:

    @vivelafat: Oh get over yourself. You make the rest of us sane feminists look like raving lunatics. Go untwist your panties and have a drink or two dozen.

    @vivelafat: Of course you find it hard to believe. People like you look for any excuse to get their ten minutes of attention, no matter how negative.

  118. Roy Hobbs says:

    @katylostherart: You just set something off.

    /Now that’s a sexist comment done right.

  119. jonworld says:

    Reminds me off my friend who had to strip down to boxers in front of the whole security line because his fly was setting of the metal detector.

  120. TSA security is absolutely useless. I went on a trip once leaving from Dulles (Washington DC) and with a knife in my carry on. No problems, and I made it back no problems.
    Additionally I brought on a full bottle of shampoo and a regular size tube of tooth paste and deodorant. Also in violation of rules.

  121. jonworld says:

    ..off, not of. I regret the mistake

  122. hmk says:

    @AirIntake: I never wear an underwire to travel. I had a TSA agent tell me that anything that beeps has to be touched and that was that.

    F that, I’m going to wear what I want. If my bra set off the detector, I’d take it off right there. Don’t touch my tits, please! Heck I’d expose myself if I had to but NO TOUCHY.

    Of course, I’m young, small-breasted and generally ok with my body. I could see others being embarrassed but I’m too rebellious to give a crap about that.

    My fiance who works in an airport always has to restrain me from saying something stupid out loud at TSA.

  123. bria says:

    Chris Walters AND the moderator already talked to that poster and it’s already been resolved. Anything else, take it to her personal page. Seriously, it isn’t that hard.

  124. allthatsevil says:

    @Parapraxis: That actually made me laugh out loud.

  125. Meggers says:

    As a large breasted woman, I would love to just slap my bra onto the conveyor belt. Just to make a statement about the TSA’s absolutely ridiculous policies. Then again… I would not put it past the TSA to write me up (or get the police to write me up) on an indecency charge.

  126. Julia789 says:

    I think it’s possible that the large walk-through metal detectors do not beep for body piercings or bra wires – but the hand-held wands they wave over you may be more sensitive.

    That may be why thousands of people with body piercings can pass through the walk-through detectors daily without incident, yet those that have the wand waved over them may beep. Like that lady that was forced to remove her nipple ring a few months ago?

    Also, might it depend on the metal type used in the bra wire or piercing? That may be more sensitive for the detector.

  127. Bryan Price says:

    My wife, who I know has underwire bras (She’s now down to a DD, She’s not happy with menopause! TMI I know!) has never had this problem. She has two flights every month, and the one coming home, she has to go through security yet one more time in Atlanta to get home from overseas.

    A week and a half and she’s home. I’ll ask her then.

    Lord, I tell this site too much, I swear!

  128. magic8ball says:

    @TheSpatulaOfLove: The pants-dropping thing? Awesome.

  129. Mr_D says:

    I think we got trolled pretty hard here guys. Vivelafat is an artist.

    Oh no! I said guys when clearly the readership of this blog has females!

  130. Okay, so this post basically taught me that there are reactionary assholes on any side of an issue pretty much everywhere just waiting to stir something up. At least you learned your lesson, Consumerist. No more attempts at levity, lest the comments section be turned into one big clusterfuck of rage.

    From the numerous posts we get about the TSA, it sure seems like outrageous fees and drunk pilots are the least of our worries at an airport. How these imbeciles get hired and hold a job is beyond me.

    Oh, and for funsies, try and get by TSA with this:

  131. cromartie says:

    @verucalise: Can you let the TSA guys spray water on you as part of the search process too?


  132. jessicat says:

    I flew to Key West with my family for Christmas and while going through TSA in Cincinnati (techincally KY WTF?) my bra set off the alarm. I wear a 34B. I was in front of my brand new in-laws and about 300 people who were really impatient to get on with their holiday plans. I was led to a screened off area where, before the options were laid out, I simply lifted my shirt and showed the agent (male) what was setting off the metal detector. He got to see my scrubby, old-ass bra and I got on my plane. Done and done.

  133. Antediluvian says:

    @MPHinPgh: Just an FYI that as gay man who is currently still allowed to fly, I can attest that not ALL men-folk want to see women’s breasts (although probably a majority do, though). Personally, I don’t really care one way or another about viewing them. They do nothing for me: not gross, not hot, just meh.

    So when the TSA forces some woman to strip in the name of national security theatre, I will likely attempt to look away as a courtesy to her and for my own protection FROM the TSA (cops and cop-wannabes don’t like witnesses to their misdeeds). Although if I know the breasts’ owners well enough, I might make some sort of witty remark when we’re clear of the gestapo.

    But hot men pulling foil-wrapped cucumbers out of their pants, that’s another story.

  134. bria says:

    Go away.

  135. Antediluvian says:

    @jessicat: I love it! Tit for tat! :-)

  136. @Antediluvian: “But hot men pulling foil-wrapped cucumbers out of their pants, that’s another story.”

    Damn. If I wasn’t already in love with you for the Tardis avatar I am now for the mental picture of foil-wrapped cucumbers.

  137. Comments are not enabled says:

    seriously what is the point of a comment moderator if the thread is going to turn into a flame war.

  138. 12-Inch Idongivafuck Sandwich says:

    Hmmm…and to think, my belt buckle never sets off the alarm at the airport.

    /Consumerist (aka Gawker) needs an ignore button something fierce

  139. scamps says:

    That’s why I wear only sports bras on travel days.

  140. Antediluvian says:

    @JamieSueAustin: (I’m blushing.)
    I love the scene from Spinal Tap, but I owe it to this commenter for posting the clip:

  141. fjordtjie says:

    @Michael Belisle: 1. pretty sure i’ve never seen a plastic underwire bra 2. the metal provides more support, i’d imagine, and is less prone to snapping under pressure 3. you’d have to crack it open to know the composition of the underwire anyway…or test your luck with the tsa.

    it shouldn’t come down to wearing a certain kind of bra to take a flight anyway.

  142. ya know, if you wanna look at boobies there is this thing called the interweb where free boobies can be found with just a single click.

    Of course if you want some specific locations to look just let me know.

  143. @The_IT_Crone: However I DO take exception to them fondling me in front of a large group of people without giving me any kind of alternate option. I wasn’t able to raise my eyes from the floor until I got on the plane.

    I’d take excoption to it too. You’re supposed to have the option of a private screening:

    Additional screening occurs when an individual sets off the alarm on the metal detector, or if he or she is selected for the additional screening. This screening includes a hand-wand inspection in conjunction with a pat-down inspection that includes the torso.

    – At this time, you should let the screener know of any personal needs you may have due to a religious or cultural consideration, disability, or other medical concern.

    – Except in extraordinary circumstances, a screener of your gender will conduct your additional screening. You may request that your search be conducted in private. [www.tsa.gov]

    I really do believe the last time they were just checking to see if my breasts were real (everyone assumes I have implants)- I don’t see why they needed to SQUEEZE them.

    I can think of a great fake-breast-suit design that would pass a squeeze-free pat down. You could hide all sorts of contraband in the volume the size of (for example) a pair of 56Ls. It sucks that they have to do it, but unscrupulous characters know all the tricks about hiding stuff.

  144. bria says:

    @Michael Belisle:
    Then why don’t they check in guys pants to see if they’re hiding something in their underwear? Baggy pants could disguise it.

  145. On the serious side of things, for years I had 14 ounces of metal plating and screws in my leg. That much metal should set off a metal detector just because I walk into the room.

    With the metal in my leg I traveled across Europe with their tight security and never had a problem… even though I was carrying enough metal to resemble a small handgun….. I got wanded and passed through, never having to expose my flesh (and scars). Strange that European countries, places that had terrorists striking within airports, would simply let me pass, yet an underwire bra is sufficient to cause problems on our side of the pond.

    I think the terrorists won.

  146. @fjordtjie: the metal provides more support, i’d imagine, and is less prone to snapping under pressure

    I did a spot check and found plenty of rather large wireless bras.

    Maybe I’m just an optimistic engineer, but we have the technology to make metal-free wires. Carbon fiber is a great alternative, for example. It’s far past time for composite materials to infiltrate the brassiere market.

    It shouldn’t come down to wearing a certain kind of bra to take a flight anyway.

    I disagree. There is a wide range of clothing besides metal underwire bras that isn’t flight-friendly. I’ve got an awesome pair of metal-studded pants, for example. I prefer not to have to take off my pants to go through screening, so I don’t fly with them.

  147. rubberkeyhole says:

    my nipple piercings set off the metal detectors at my small hometown metal detectors right after they were set up for 9/11. unfortunately my dad was with me, and that was embarrassing. not as bad as having to take my shirt off to prove they were nipple piercings and that I wasn’t a fem-bot.

    calibrating metal detectors for the win.

  148. bria says:

    @Michael Belisle:

    Some women need bras with underwire or else it is very painful.

    Unless you can fix this problem immediately, harping on them for not wearing something else when you don’t know their struggle to find bras that fit is pretty useless.

  149. @bria: Then why don’t they check in guys pants to see if they’re hiding something in their underwear? Baggy pants could disguise it.

    Depends on if they set off the metal detector or were selected for additional screening. The screener that gave me a pat down once had no qualms about feeling up all around my junk (but he was kind enough to warn me about where his hands were going).

  150. tenio says:

    posted on digg

    and the tsa are all more dumb then fast food employees

  151. redkamel says:

    Im surprise the airlines dont step in and try and fix the TSA debacle. I know so many people who literally cut their flying because the TSA is such a pain in the ass.

  152. @Michael Belisle: Hmmm… I guess you don’t wear many bras…

    You see most women I know buy multiple bras of similar composition. IE: They know what is most comfortable, fits best, and provides the best support so they purchase multiples of these items. I ONLY own metal under wire bras because that is what the girls demand. Anything else is uncomfortable, ineffective, and prohibits my ability to move well. So comparing my bras to your studded pants (I assume you own more than one type of pants) is not equivalent.

    I don’t believe that I should have to go make a special trip to purchase a bra that doesn’t support me, makes me uncomfortable, and is unflattering just so TSA is happy. It would be the same as TSA telling all those boxer wearers out there that they need to suit up in banana hammocks to pass through security.

    I am not against composite bras, but I can’t ever remember seeing the metal content of a bra listed on the label so it would be difficult to discern which was which without dismantling the garment.

  153. redkamel says:

    wait do you think you could warp your dong in tinfoil just to set off the alarm and piss off TSA and not get busted? I mean, you could juet pretend to be mentally ill with a friend and a doctors note. I just had that idea. For the first time, I actually understand the purpose of Jackass.

    Sorry OT, wont happen again. I just had to share.

  154. ochobit says:

    First thing, the lady voluntarily took the damn thing off.

    Okay geniuses, how do you propose they go about checking for an alarm in that area if they can’t pat it down?

    Pray for the Lord to manifest Himself their at the airport and tell them it’s nothing?

    TSA: Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. You can satisfy some people some of the time, but you can’t satisfy ANY passengers ANY time…

    I swear 99.5% of people turn their brains off when they talk about the TSA…

  155. kabuk1 says:

    When I saw this story on Consumerist, I thought “BFD! How is this a violation of any of her rights?”

    What if she had had a gun in her bra & got waved through just cause she’s a woman, and then hijacked the plane or took a prisoner? Then TSA would be roasting for NOT patting her down.

    Get over it, people. Blame the terrorists that killed thousands of people on 9-11 when you think your “rights” are being violated at airports. I wouldn’t care even if every passenger had to strip completely naked before boarding if it meant my safety would be ensured. You don’t like the tight security? DRIVE. Take a train. Book passage on a ship.


  156. @ochobit: I think we’ve pretty much established that

    a. detectors set to the CORRECT level of sensitivity do not sound an alarm for under wires.
    b. in the event that an under wire does trigger an alarm despite the correct settings the TSA must offer PRIVATE screening.
    c. a POLITE warning that you are about to be manhandled and a bit of understanding/patience with the people who are being assaulted by strangers would go a long way to making it a less humiliating experience.

    Surprisingly I’ve yet to experience ANY of these conditions when flying wearing a bra. The alarm ALWAYS goes off, Private screening is never offered, TSA staff are rude, inconsiderate, and ROUGH with my person.

  157. @JamieSueAustin: I don’t really like putting all my liquids in 100 ml containers, sizing my suitcase to fit in the overhead bin, or wearing shoes that are easy to remove. Granted, all of these have nothing to do with my anatomy, but they’re the only examples that affect me today. If someday I end up with a metal hip that sets off the detector, develop a disability, or progress into the two-seat-needing range, I’m sure I’ll find the extra burdens annoying too. But I’d understand at that point that I’m an exception, not the rule. Systems are designed to work for 90% of the people 90% of the time. It’s not economical to do it any other way. (Of course, in the case of the TSA, it sucks for 90% of the people 90% of the time. They should work on that.)

    They’re not saying you can’t fly unless you make adjustments to your wardrobe. You have the option to do whatever you want to. You could seek a screening-friendly bra or you can take the risk that your metal-containing bra will set off the detector. If that happens, you might be subjected to additional screening, like any one else who sets off the detector for any reason. Maybe they’ll take you at your word when you say “it’s my bra”, maybe they won’t. Maybe they have a maybe they have a millimeter-wave scanner and can see all that’s going on underneath everyone’s clothes.

    But what do I know? I’m just some guy on the internet who went to [biggerbras.com] , found a 56K soft cup bra, and decided I am now qualified to unleash my advice on the world.

  158. The_IT_Crone says:

    @kabuk1: Lame troll is lame.

    Talk to us when TSA starts grabbing penises and pulling just to make sure that they’re real and nothing is shoved up into them. We’re not asking that women get a free pass, just that the security proceedures were more appropriate.

    If men were included in this, you would be as ticked off as the rest of us.

  159. bria says:

    @Michael Belisle:
    Ignoring the rest of your comment, you have no idea how comfortable that is or how well it fits the majority of the people who need it. PLUS women don’t even get to try it on before buying it. It’s also 50 dollars and not everyone has the money to throw around just so they don’t get embarrassed at TSA.

  160. karmaghost says:

    I flew for the first time since 9/11 a few weeks ago (and it was actually the first time within the United States, actually, now that I think of it) and I thought it was sadly hilarious that all these strangers had to undress slightly (i.e. shoes, belts, etc.) in front of each other and re-dress before heading off to their departure gates. *sigh*

  161. @JamieSueAustin: Surprisingly I’ve yet to experience ANY of these conditions when flying wearing a bra. The alarm ALWAYS goes off, Private screening is never offered, TSA staff are rude, inconsiderate, and ROUGH with my person.

    That’s unacceptable and you should raise hell. I already posted this link, but the ACLU would like to hear your story.

    Just to be clear, I’m not defending the TSA here. Have you requested private screening, even if it wasn’t offered? (They only say “You may request that your search be conducted in private,” not that they must offer it.)

  162. bria says:

    Thank you!

  163. ochobit says:


    a) Define CORRECT level of sensitivity? How many times have you calibrated a MAG?
    b) I have never seen a single officer NOT offer a PRIVATE screening, people can and have been sued for that… I know in the fantasy world of the blogosphere the TSA is untouchable, then again maybe because it’s MIA, I’ve heard MIA is better than most small airports…
    c) There is ALWAYS a warning before doing that search, now DEFINE polite, maybe what you expect is absurd… remember TSOs are officers not customer service reps, it’s always good to show customer service when reasonable, but it’s rule numero uno to err on the side of security.

    Then again this is the internet, so I can just CLAIM that the TSA shot me in the leg and kidnapped my children and 80% of the internet would believe it.

  164. @The_IT_Crone: Talk to us when TSA starts grabbing penises and pulling just to make sure that they’re real and nothing is shoved up into them.

    TSA does do that within the amount that it’s reasonable to determine that it’s a penis and not a gun. Men have complained too.

    Screening sucks for everyone. Unfortunately, the level of suckiness is not evenly distributed.

  165. ochobit says:

    I have a formal challenge for all complainers:

    How would you resolve the alarm, other than just ignoring it and pray it’ll be okay?

    I mean, bags were scanned before 9/11, the screeners just said: “nah, box cutters SHOULD be fine, I mean, they are clearly for cutting boxes…”

  166. bnpederson says:

    Bloody hell some people are stupid.

  167. @ochobit: Speaking of weapons, Busty Heart could knock a person out with her assets:

    With that, I’m out (and probably well on my way to hell).

  168. ochobit says:


    Breastmilk is always allowed, in any amount, even if the baby is not present.

  169. Antediluvian says:

    @ochobit: So, how long have you (or a family member or a friend) worked for the TSA?

  170. The_IT_Crone says:

    @ochobit: So now after 9/11 I’m just going to have to deal with sore breasts when I fly because “baggage handlers” now has a new meaning? (But are still as rough as they are with luggage).

    I don’t know how many people here are trolls and which are serious, but it really doesn’t sound like you’re serious. I don’t have a problem with being searched if I set off the metal detector. I would have been perfectly happy to have pulled up my shirt to show my bra. I would have been perfectly happy- even amused- to go behind a screen and flash the lady. I did NOT like being pawed with no warning in front of at least 100 people. I was the only one it was happening to at the time, and the many people in line had nothing else to look at. I had NOT been given any other options. It was “do this or else.” I was worried that if I spoke up I’d get in trouble and miss my flight.

    It was a business trip, and if my coworkers had flown with me (as had been the plan) I’d have been mortified.

  171. TechnoDestructo says:

    @Tmoney02: It’s like having teeth so sensitive to cold, you can’t notice how sweet the ice cream is.

  172. mmmsoap says:

    @fjordtjie: It shouldn’t come down to wearing a certain kind of bra to take a flight anyway.

    Why shouldn’t it? We’re not talking about taking a flight at all (because then you’d be right), we’re talking about taking a flight efficiently…getting through security with the minimum of hassle and maximum of speed. It takes a certain kind of shoe (slip-on please!), a certain kind of packing (leave your toothpaste at home), why not a certain kind of bra? No one said this passenger couldn’t get on her flight, they said she couldn’t get on her flight without extra screening.

    Honestly, as a large-breasted woman myself, there are things you know about your own body and plan accordingly for. The guy with special orthopedic shoes knows to add time to his trip, if he can’t wear the slip-ons. I know to either don a sports bra or expect the pat down. It was a surprise the first time I flew, now it’s just part of the procedure (although, granted, it’s hit or miss depending on the airport.)

  173. ninjatoddler says:

    Next up to be put to the test by the ever so vigilant TSA is the everyday tooth filling.

    Quick! Now’s the right time to get into dentistry.

  174. nicemarmot617 says:

    Yeah, I always try to remember to wear an soft bra to the airport but sometimes I forget. Then I generally get felt up in front of the security line with no warning. But someone else commented about your copper IUD setting it off??? I’m screwed!

  175. mmmsoap says:

    @The_IT_Crone: The problem is, most people are talking about general procedure, you’re talking about a specific event. The event you’re talking about (being patted down in front of an audience) doesn’t follow specific procedure. That’s something you need to take up with the TSA and/or a lawyer. However, it doesn’t make the overall (correctly followed) policy WRONG.

    If, for whatever reason, you can’t utilize reasonable accommodations (ie: the sports bra) to avoid a pat-down, then (a) take a train, or (b) expect the pat-down. You have the right to expect the pat-down in a private area. However, I have the right to know that you’ve boarded my plane after being fully screened, and not harboring any weapons.

    Honestly, no one’s suggesting you should be groped in front of 100 passengers. If a TSA agent went off-script, deal with that agent or that airport. Now, after 9/11, you do have to deal with sore breasts, just like the rest of us have to deal with no bottles of water, taking off our shoes, and people going through our bags. You’re not being singled out for inconvenience since 9/11.

  176. ugly says:

    Not to inject a wrench in this completely unproductive discussion, but I wonder if enterprising terrorists could inject the raw ingredients for their bombs into saline style implants. Then all boobs would be suspect, men’s too! (see pectoral implants)

    Or better (maybe worse?) yet, you could easily fill a few condoms and shove them somewhere unscreened, get a few folks together on a plane and drop out your mule packages.

    I guess the only way to make planes safe is to not allow anyone to fly. Just like the only way to make roads safe is to not allow and cars. Since obviously neither of those is going to happen, I suppose the real discussion should be around what is an acceptable level of risk for the convenience. I imagine that answer is different for everyone though.

  177. thekingb says:

    The TSA operational procedures are a joke. There is little to no consistency in procedure from one airport to another – for those of us who fly and travel extensively for business it can be pretty aggravating. What is more upsetting is hearing how someone’s personal rights can be violated – in the case of the woman subject of the OP, and in the case of the young women who have been allegedly groped by TSA workers. (I say workers, not agents or officers).

    I recently traveled through 3 major airports and 2 security checkpoints after a trade show – forgetting to remove a utility knife from my pocket (think folding pocketknife). This was clipped to the pocket, with a metal clip. I went through security in Reno, removing my shoes, belt, but forgetting the knife. No alarms. Some poor woman was being hassled in the booth next to where I was “screened” – the best I could determine was that she was singled out because she had a scarf on her head and darker skin. Landed in LAX, went to another terminal, back through security, again, no alarms. It was when I arrived in MSP that I realized that I had the knife in my pocket – too used to carrying it, I suppose. The whole system is screwed up, and if we are going to screen airline passengers, we need trained professionals to do so, not some people who took a couple classes.

  178. lukobe says:

    This thread is hilariously ridiculous.

  179. BytheSea says:

    @sir_eccles: My grandfather has one for his pacemaker.

  180. The_IT_Crone says:

    @mmmsoap: The OP wasn’t talking about a specific event? I guess I read that WAY wrong…

  181. BytheSea says:

    @BigPapaCherry: Finally, someone with the male’s equivalent. Men have belts, women have bras, we all can get the pat down if we don’t take them off.

    That is not remotely equivalent. If men’s belts set the detector off, they don’t have to drop their pants and have their balls fondled by some big man who’s grinning and sniggering.

    You guys don’t get that that’s the problem. We’ve had accounts on this thread of women being groped by male TSA guards. They are backed into a corner with no options, have their options taken away from them, and are forced to submit to the amusement of someone else. Several women have said that those guards were not professional. In the legal code, that’s sexual assault. It’s a crime, and it’s being legitimized by an organization that has arbitrary and total control over people who enter an airport with the intent to fly.

    And then you guys on the thread, and the OP, add to this humiliation by telling the women here to “calm down,” to stop being hysterical, to stop inconveniencing you with our opinions and feelings. Does it ever help and injustice to claim it doesn’t exist? Do the people who deny an injustice ever turn out to be right in the long run?

  182. SinisterMatt says:


    If you look at the comments section in the linked article (though not too much in depth, because it’s loaded with the usual “evil fascist government” and Ben-Franklin-those-who-trade-security-for-freedom-deserve-neither-quotes that accompanies shenanigans like this), someone mentions that Israel’s biggest airport security victory came from when they found an Irish lady that had a bomb in her suitcase put in there without her knowledge by her fiancee who had ties to Syria.

    If all terrorists were from the Middle East, it would make much more sense to only screen people who came from that part of the world. Since we have people like the Unabomber or Timothy McVeigh among us, and they pose as much of a threat as the Islamic extremists, then everyone should be checked.

    In my view, the above is not a “sensibilities” issue along the lines of political correctness, but one grounded in realism. Understandably, though, I guess that there are some who don’t want to screen people because someone might get offended, but I guess that’s their problem.

    Anywho, this story seems a little extreme. TSA should use common sense (which really isn’t that common anymore) in cases like these, but then again, this is a government operation we are talking about here.


    • Sarge1985 says:

      @SinisterMatt: You may have misinterpreted my comments. Bags are screened. The problem is that we have TSA goons squads out there fondleing women and some men and not paying attention to the real issue. Terrorists are typically young adults between the ages of 17 and 40 and mostly male. This is fact. They fit a profile and that is what should be looked at/for.

  183. Bruce Bayliss says:

    “…submit to a pat-down in a private room”

    Chance would be a fine thing.

    Ms Bayliss wore a new pair of slacks from GAP going out through Logan. The RFID thingy sewn into an inside seam triggered the metal detector and the (female, at least) TSA operative required her to remove her outer garment IN FULL PUBLIC VIEW to the extent that she could identify the offending device.

    In other words, Ms Bayliss was standing there in her panties.

    My complaints were first countered with claims that “she had approved the procedure” and then with threats of detention.

  184. ochobit says:


    Now you’re just making stuff up… while cross-sex patdowns are normal in many countries they don’t happen in the US.

    That person would be fired and arrested faster than it takes to yell “bag check!”.

  185. allthatsevil says:

    @Michael Belisle: “Maybe I’m just an optimistic engineer, but we have the technology to make metal-free wires. Carbon fiber is a great alternative, for example. It’s far past time for composite materials to infiltrate the brassiere market.”

    First of all, carbon fiber is expensive, no? Using that kind of material might work well, but very few could afford it. I give you kudos for your concern on the subject, but let’s face it: if men had breasts, bras would already be engineered better, and they’d be cheaper. Just like there’d be affordable and effective medication for morning sickness if men had to experience it. But instead, women have to pay outragous prices for good quality underclothes, and go through several months of basically feeling like they’re having the worst hangover 24/7 whenever they want to reproduce, and there’s nothing they can do about it. (I envy those women who don’t experience morning sickness.) Just using that as an example.

    And no, I’m not a feminist. But I do think men tend to take for granted the gender-specific things women put up with. I don’t think that men are “out to get” women, or purposely turn a blind eye, they’re just happily ignorant. Just like I could never understand how it feels to be kicked in the balls.

    And I agree with JamieSueAustin; women should not have to go out and buy a special bra just to get through 5 minutes of their life with the TSA. I don’t think that’s comparable to buying smaller containers for liquids, or shoes that slip on and off. And also, as she pointed out, every woman knows what works best for her, so chances are, that one bra she needs to get through the metal detector is not a comfortable one. That means either changing into and out of said bra before and after, or wearing it all the way to their destination. You have no idea what it feels like, especially for a large-breasted woman, to wear an ill-fitting bra. Without proper support it can cause serious back and neck pain, not to mention the straps digging into the shoulders, among other issues.

    But if you can come up with a solution for all of these issues, by all means, go right ahead. I’ll support it 100%.

    • bria says:

      Believing in equal rights for men and women = feminist.

      • allthatsevil says:

        @bria: Actually (sorry to go off topic) according to Merriam-Webster, feminism is defined as: the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. Not exactly the same thing as equal rights.

        I’m all for equal rights, but I do believe there are some things men are better suited for than women. And vice versa. That’s why I’m not a feminist.

        • bria says:

          Feminists disagree with that definition.

          • @bria: Googling define:feminism suggests that the world does not agree on what it means to be a feminist. The Encyclopedia of Feminist Theories, meanwhile, doesn’t explicitly mention equal rights in the entry on feminism, but does conclude “Feminism, both theory and political action, is plural, mixed, and moving. … No one need feel that she has to identify with one feminism to the exclusion of all others.”

            So I don’t see how you can say “feminists disagree with that definition” as if they all agree that “feminism ⇒ equal rights”. Are you telling me that a feminist by the dictionary definition is not a feminist at all, and your brand is better than all others?

  186. @ochobit: No, they do happen and it can be sexual assault. The TSA says that in exceptional circumstances, cross gender pat downs can happen.

    But where ByTheSea goes off base is with her depiction of “you guys”, because I’m not sure who she’s responding to here. Mostly everyone hates the TSA and nobody has defended the TSA in response to stories like those told by The_IT_Crone or jakesprincess. Those situations are unacceptable, but they’re not a policy flaw because they’re already a violation of policy, as expalained quite nicely by mmmsoap. And I had my crotch manhandled by the TSA, but it seemed like a normal pat down so I didn’t think anything of it.

    In cases of sexual assault, lawyers should be contacted, timely complaints filed, and people fired and/or jailed. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. And that is a problem with no easy solution.

  187. @allthatsevil: But if you can come up with a solution for all of these issues, by all means, go right ahead. I’ll support it 100%.

    In my understanding of the history of the bra, I think men are already responsible for a lot of its engineering. It’s probably part of the reason why they suck so much. So I don’t think the bra business needs another man. I can imagine, but I can’t understand. I’ll stick to airplanes.

    I do think men tend to take for granted the gender-specific things women put up with. I don’t think that men are “out to get” women, or purposely turn a blind eye, they’re just happily ignorant. Just like I could never understand how it feels to be kicked in the balls.

    I’ll try not to go too far off topic, but my favorite feminist quote comes from Betty Friedan in 1974: “Men weren’t really the enemy—they were fellow victims suffering from an outmoded masculine mystique that made them feel unnecessarily inadequate when there were no bears to kill.”

    We have our own bullshit gender-specific things that we put up with. We turn a blind eye because “The Cosmo Girl” is not our creation. It’s written by women. Men today don’t keep women “in line” because they do that on our own and, besides, we’re too busy keeping the weak men in line.

  188. Nick1693 says:

    @teh: Then when they touch you somewhere you can say different things like “Woahfondle” and “Wheres the doll? Can you demonstrate this on him?

  189. larsitron says:

    @sir_eccle Phoenix isn’t a nowhere airport.

  190. HClay says:

    I’d hate to be my cousin when he goes through airport security. He has metal plates in his head after a couple of thugs beat his head and face in with a 2 x 4.

    In airport security terms, that would translate to “He has bombs in his head after a couple of bombs bombed his bomb and bomb in with a 2 x Bomb.”

  191. BeThisWay says:

    Oh, and this completely explains why I’ve been “wanded” myself.

    We need to get over ourselves, people. I’d rather be inconvenienced than blown up in the sky.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      I’d rather take my bra off than let someone fondle me.

      Why doesn’t someone come up with a non-wire underwire? They can’t create a plastic hard enough to replace the metal?

      Some of the TSA posts make me wonder why someone hasn’t gone nuts on a plane just on principle.

  192. slyikkiss says:

    I mean, I guess I can understand the airport’s security measures. They can’t take your word for it. If you know that you have some clothing or whatever that may set off the alarm, then just don’t wear it that day. Problem solved!

  193. bkaid says:

    pics or it didn’t happen?

  194. Pro-Pain says:

    Screw some of these TSA agents. How about screw the TSA altogether. 9/11 security, fear, blah, blah, blah. Like anything remotely close to 9/11 would happen again?? And since it hasn’t it MUST be because of our SAVIOR TSA agents. M/F please!! I’ve had enough. If I was with that lady, I’d of punched that TSA cocksucker right smack dab in the middle of his face. Sure, I’d be in jail now, but the attention and support it would have garnered will have been worth it. Enough with the idiots, seriously. How many stupid branches of the Federal Government do WE NEED? How embarrassing to be an American these days. I know what you’re thinking…No, I don’t fly, thank God. I hope I never have to either. Obviously, you wouldn’t want ME on YOUR plane. I no longer tolerate idiots and call them out at every opportunity.

  195. I know that with all of these comments that probably nobody will see this but…

    What we all need to do is wear medieval suits of armor to airports. Just to waste all the time we can. Hell even go through the line a few times on days you don’t even have to fly. That would be so funny. “Um, sir, please remove your breast plate.”

  196. banmojo says:

    this system is intrusive and ultimately ineffective. getting lulled into a false sense of security due to these extreme measures belies the fact that one corruptible employee can practically walk a remote triggered device onto an airplane. as if even these TSA freaks can’t be tempted! As if!!

  197. wiggatron says:

    My sister flew out of Cleveland with no less than 5 Bic lighters in her carry on (by accident). On the return trip from Phoenix they found all of them. Although it took three passes through the x-ray machine to get ’em all. Can you say radioactive luggage?

    Cleveland = no security.

  198. bcsus83 says:

    That’d be why I always wear sports bras when I travel. The underwire in my bra set off the stupid metal detector the very first time I ever flew, when I was 15. Ever since, sports bras are my very good friend when I fly. LOL!

  199. RStewie says:

    I agree with Vivalefat. I think Chris’s post was a little sexist, and I think it should have been edited to remove that comment when it became clear there was an issue with it. There is nothing wrong with telling people that she was offended by the post. Instead of telling someone they shouldn’t be offended, ragging on them for over 100 comments about it, and then possibly banning them (I didn’t read to the end of the comments), why not amend the post and take the offensive comment out?

    Chris, would that not be the sensitive thing to do? Is that last statement so essential to your story that removing it would also remove an essential piece of the story’s puzzle? I think not. Stop being insensitive.

    Just like any other harrassment, if someone tells you you have offended them, you have. Either appologize for it, or man up and let them know that you don’t care for their opinion or feelings.

    I really hope Roz doesn’t ban vivalefat. That would be a shame.

  200. Shark1998 says:

    Personally having audited the TSA…..I can honestly tell you they make retarded people look like Nobel Prize winners. Their hiring criteria is that they must receive their GED by the time they hit 30 and pass a drug test. That’s it.

    • ochobit says:


      Seems weird that the majority of people in the TSA have served in the armed forces and and a lot of us are currently studying in college.

      Honestly, I am flabbergasted how dumb passengers are who are incapable of understanding the simplest of commands.

  201. TheSpatulaOfLove says:

    Honestly, I’m struggling to see why the TSA needs to take things this far to begin with. Look at the history of airline security up until 9/11 – everyone was instructed to comply and ‘roll over’ whenever there was a hijack situation on an airplane.

    I can tell you that the general consensus of the flying public now is a little more cowboy and any goofball foolish enough to pull out a weapon on a plane is surely going to get leveled…and might not make it off that plane alive.

    Concerned about a bomb? Xray and a wand will surely reduce the chances of a bomb big enough to completely cripple a plane would not make it through. Just a few weeks ago there was a plane that had a bigass hole blown out of the side and it was able to land safely. (it was not a bomb, but that hole was huge!)

    So why all the security theatre you ask? Control. Plain and simple. I view flying as un-American now – the citizens have no rights, and I will have no part of it. I travel for work, and absolutely refuse to board a plane if I can get there in less than 12 hours by car.

    To be perfectly frank, I would rather die in a fiery plane crash with a security check that left me some dignity and my rights intact rather than giving up everything we Americans are supposed to be guaranteed by the Constitution and counting on a half-assed government agency to provide the ‘sense’ of security that amounts to harassment and embarrassment.

    I’m so tired of being ruled by fear…

  202. CyberSkull says:

    I failed not thinking about the euphemism.

  203. Ninjanice says:

    The TSA could have been more sensitive. However, they are right in saying that they have to check every alarm and not take a passenger’s word for it. What’s the point of having a security checkpoint if they’re going to take everyone’s word as to why they are setting of an alarm?
    Apparently, this is something that has happened to several women. I’m not saying people should feel violated going through security, but maybe we should learn from their experiences and not wear underwire bras when flying. Or expect that we will be searched if we set off the alarm. It may not be the fairest solution to all, but would you rather have security err on the side of being lax?

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      @blah,blah,blah: But it isn’t a “either we don’t pat them down or they feel violated” situation. It’s a “the TSA needs to stop hiring pervs” situation. It is possible to pat someone down without groping them.

  204. picardia says:

    I’ve had my underwire bra set off the detectors before — it only happened once, but it did happen. In that case, they wanded me, and the wand made it pretty freakin’ clear that this was an underwire issue. I think I got a very light patdown and was allowed to go. This struck me as reasonable enough (if a little embarrassing). I don’t see a problem with asking a woman to get the patdown from a female agent, but I also can see that this should suffice for the TSA. I have a lot of cleavage, but I can’t really hide an explosive device in there.

  205. fol_de_rol says:

    I’ve gotten the pat-down two or three times; each time it was because of my underwires. But I’m not going to wear an insufficient bra just to avoid the hassle. My clothes fit a lot better when I wear the right bra, and since I often have to go to meetings right from the airport, that’s a big deal. And being able to wear the bra I want keeps the process that much more human.

    Getting wanded adds only 5-10 minutes to my security time, and it happens maybe 5% of the time. I’ll take that chance.

    Incidentally, each time I got wanded, the (female) TSA agent seemed more embarrassed about it than I did. I didn’t know any of the people at the gate, so what did I care that I was getting felt up? Believe me, large breasts can get you into plenty more embarrassing situations than that.

  206. Raanne says:

    so, isn’t this an argument for those air-blowing security things, instead of the metal detectors?

  207. MissNikki says:

    There’s no way it was the bra, I always wear and underwire and have never had any issues getting through. Are you sure you didn’t have a knife tucked in there?

  208. varro says:

    Note to Skeletor and Homeland Security: A MAJOR HURRICANE IS APPROACHING THE GULF COAST.

    You might want to, you know, do something about it.

  209. battra92 says:

    So no pictures? Darn!

    Though Consumerist has to say SFW I suppose.

  210. Skankingmike says:

    My wife was recently padded down in Toronto and though it was annoying to me at least, My wife didn’t seem to mind, she claimed that compared to Italian Customs this was nothing. Apparently when she took a tour around Europe she got a frisky Italian ;) and yes my wife sets off those stupid alarms for the Airports with her under wire.

    I told her not to wear one. but honestly what is a bigger chested woman suppose to do?

  211. Wormfather is Wormfather says:

    I should have been a woman, a lesbian, a pervert and a TSA agent.

  212. OnceWasCool says:

    Can’t believe she fell for it.

    I’m surprised that TSA didn’t ask to numb her breasts.

  213. Wormfather is Wormfather says:

    Oh and BTW this isnt a feminist issue, think about the guys with the prince albert~!


  214. baraboo says:

    Whenever TSA pats me down, I say “Was it as good for you as it was for me?” The last time I did that, the TSA lady laughed and said that I made her day. And I hope I had to take off my bra some day…maybe I can get some tips!

  215. Ilovemygeek says:

    yeah but guys with a prince albert did it to themselves. My C cups are natural and I have no choice with my underwear. Its either wear a good bra now or play soccer with the twins when I’m 40.

  216. sock says:

    I traveled a month after 9/11, when the hysteria was sort of at a peak. Pre-TSA. My bra set off all their alarms. I was forced to have a ‘patdown’ (which consisted of the security goon feeling me up under my breasts) with no privacy. Screw them.

  217. Thanatos says:

    I know im a little late to the party but i was returning from a trip to Atlanta and had to go through security again at my plane change in Phoenix (hate their setup) and forgot to take off my belt got flagged and had to have a patdown they left out my junk in that but it was quite embarrassing, it helped lighten the situation that they offered a private screening (declined cause i was afraid of missing my flight) and i had another male doing the search, I cant imagine what it would be for you women to go through cause of underwires. My heart goes out to you.

  218. Tedicles says:

    Being a frequent flier, I have seriously considered showing up at the airport in my bathrobe and slippers. But I have a feeling I’d still wind up detained for some reason….

    Also, those detectors are not all they’re cracked up to be. For example, I never remove my (usually large and heavy) metal belt buckle. I just casually put my hand on top of the buckle as I walk through, the machine does not beep and I am on my way….

  219. North of 49 says:

    If you’re a large-breasted woman, when you reach the TSA checkpoint you might want to yank your bra off and toss it in a tray. Not because TSA is demanding it, but because we’d just love to see that start happening a lot.

    Come on Consumerist, don’t you have an editor who screens the content before they get posted just for comments like this? No wonder there’s been a flame war. Belt buckles are not covered by shirts, unlike bras, nor are they a necessary part of clothing that bras are for women. You can take off a belt and not be undressed in order to reach it. You have to in order to take off a bra – most of the time. Mrs. No49 knows how to take her bra off without taking her shirt off.

    Mrs. No49 is very large breasted and continuously breaks underwire bras. She’s been ranting about going to an airport in gaeta (japanese flip flops) and wearing no metal anywhere on her just in case, including her wedding band!

    Then again, we prefer driving. No need to be wanded then.

  220. surfandsun says:
  221. TheBigLewinski says:

    What if her large melons were plastic explosives? Damn, if I worked for TSA I would cop a feel whenever I could (come over here honey, I have to see what you are packing.)

  222. econobiker says:

    The TSA can set the sensitivity of the walk through units.

    I have seen this because of where I live (BNA- Nashville) there are about 5,000 to 8,000 Kurds living here- most of who fled Saddams death rule after Gulf War I. TSA jacks it up in BNA more often because of this. I got caught with a metal cross pen on shirt one time but at my return flight airport (to be unnamed) I didn’t set off the alarm with the same pen.

    Just recently my belt failed to set off the alarm in BNA when I was flying during a heavy travel period. Same belt set off alarm in return flight airport. Kind of told me they set the alarm higher to get all the nimrods who don’t travel alot through easier…

    • admiral_stabbin says:

      @econobiker: “Kind of told me they set the alarm higher to get all the nimrods who don’t travel alot through easier…”

      That’s the part that is the most worrysome to me. I don’t think the most effective terrorists tend to also be frequent flyers…but hey, whadda I know? I’m neither a terrorist nor a frequent flyer…

  223. zara_h says:

    Chris’s last sentence was ambiguous and certainly could be taken with a sexist slant. Probably I’ve been spending too much time on gamer forums, but when someone says “we’d love to see that start happening a lot,” it’s usually accompanied by “screenshots plz,” and “LOLZ boobies” etc. Brevity might be the soul of wit, but clarity wouldn’t be taken amiss either.

    The upshot of all this is that we will all be humiliated — male, female, and trans — when the TSA develops a machine that can see through our clothes and proceeds to implement it in US airports … oh, wait, that already happened (see consumerist article of 11th June 2008). We all need to stand up and say, there’s a line that can’t be crossed here. Today it’s a bra, tomorrow they’re accidentally “losing” thousands of pictures of people’s genitals visible through their clothes. If you’re smugly thinking it hasn’t happened to you yet — or it never will — just wait a few years and you too can experience the humiliation you thought could only happen to others. I guess with some folks, compassion can only be taught by force. I await that day breathlessly.

  224. theblackdog says:

    Oh I’d love to see a metal detector go off because it picks up my piercing, except then you would see an article on consumerist about a guy being arrested for exposing himself to a TSA agent.

  225. orlo says:

    Finally a positive result from government oppression! Women look hot bra-less.

  226. james says:

    I’m sure this type of situation is even more embarrassing for men in bras.
    Seriously though, the metal detectors have been around for 40 years, how stupid do you need to be to get mad when you are called out for breaking the rules?
    If you are so easily embarrassed then you shouldn’t be wearing a bra with an underwire.

    • PinkBox says:

      @james: Since when is wearing a bra with underwire breaking any rules?

      @Tiber: Oh dear. If you live in the land of hardly any boobies like me, you WANT that non-sports bra on! Plus, a sports bra is hardly flattering and I’d hate to have to keep a bra in my purse just to appease the TSA gods.

      • Tiber says:

        @PinkBox: So it’s worth the risk of being fondled in public just because a sports bra isn’t as flattering? With the level of inconvenience the TSA is known for, I’d think that would be a relatively minor sacrifice. Well, it’s your choice, but that seems like an odd set of priorities to me.

        You’d only be wearing it through the line for the metal detector, then you could switch it back. Also, if you had another carry-on, you wouldn’t need to keep it in your purse.

        • PinkBox says:

          @Tiber: You don’t realize how silly it sounds to have to wear a sports bra for something that takes three seconds? If they think I’m sporting metal, let them wave their little wand at me, or let me flash the public. No need for the hands-on groping of my boobs.

          @LostAngeles: I’m guessing if you’re a heavier set woman with large breasts, it isn’t as easy. I’m tiny, but can have trouble doing that if I’m wearing a long sleeved shirt.

          @katylostherart: My best friend has enormous breasts, and she can tell a definite difference when she has a bra on, and when she doesn’t. She wears a bra even to bed for this very reason.

    • Ms. Pants says:

      Sports bras aren’t especially comfortable for big boobs either though. The squash factor is pretty damn high and it’s like a minor version of a perpetual mammogram. With a special added bonus of insane uni-boob and swamp-tit. Whee.

      @james: with all do respect (which isn’t much), until you have to wear a bra for the majority of your waking hours, your expert opinion sounds like a wet fart. Yeah, metal detectors have been around for years. So have underwire bras.

      • PinkBox says:

        @Ms. Pants: Ew… uni-boob, and god forbid it gets cold.

        Yup, underwire bras have been around forever, and they’re not limited to the larger boobs. The bra I’m wearing now is wired. I think all of mine are.

  227. Tiber says:

    I’m a guy, so think what you will, but I just might have a crazy idea. If you’re bringing luggage, why not bring a bra that will get you through the detector, and you can switch between that and the underwire bra in the bathroom? Sure, you may have never needed to do this, but if it will guarantee no pat-down, why not?

    I do agree though, that this is getting ridiculous. The sad thing is, people have the right to feel safe on airports, but any smart would-be terrorist could probably do just as much damage targeting something on the ground without the risk of having to go through something like the TSA.

    • jenl1625 says:

      @Tiber: And hope they haven’t moved to those tiny little bathroom stalls that don’t give you room to change. And hope that you don’t get delayed long enough to leave you without enough time to change back. And have the extra bit of cloth taking up some space in your bag.

      As for your comment about risking humiliation vs. simply not looking your best – it’s more like: Risk humiliation in front of complete strangers, or risk being uncomfortable (and looking it, in addition to looking less than your best) in front of the very people you’re flying to meet? I’ll risk the humiliation, thanks – but that doesn’t mean I won’t get upset that the TSA has a ridiculous setting for their machines – I get in and out of the federal building and courthouse all the time, without my bra setting off the machines.

  228. katylostherart says:

    we could also probably ask the amish and menonites.

  229. LostAngeles says:

    Maybe because I’m only a B-cup, but there’s an old trick to getting your bra off without taking off your shirt. Simply unhook the back, reach up one sleeve, pull the strap off your arm, reach up the other sleeve and pull the bra out.

    I was dearly hoping she pulled that trick, but alas.

    I’d skip the bras myself, except for the fact I have large nipples and apparently, nipples are offensive, so it’s a padded bra for me.

  230. webdoyenne says:

    Not for the over-sensitive or easily offended…

    “>TSA Gangstaz

  231. mwc5446 says:

    Funny, so, if you have to wear a bra with enough metal in it to set off the alarm, you take it off in line in front of everyone. Then the police arrest you for indicent exposure. So, you only have one choice, don’t wear it.
    I too think some are more sensitive than others, ‘sometimes’ I have to take my belt off for the buckle, its a small dress pants kind of buckle, not a texas sized medallion, ha.

  232. jeremymiles says:

    I got through two screenings with a screwdriver in my bag and got caught on the third (at Heathrow). Full story: http://westadventures.blogspot.com/2009/07/caught.html