Fight or Flight

As I’m flying out Monday for a brief trip to the East Coast, I’ve been going over the variety of articles I’ve bookmarked on the ridiculous over-reach of airport security of late. It’s hitting absurd heights alongside being totally invasive and often outright comedic. I think it’s ripe for a dress study about fear, impressions, design symbolism, and a host of other issues. Some of the bookmarks I’ve kept for future reference are:

On Boing Boing there was a piece about a woman who was investigated because she was wearing a tiny gun charm pendant.


And Boing Boing also had a piece about a guy wearing a transformers shirt featuring an illustration of a fantasy gun that supposedly threatened flight saftey.


Then there’s my personal favorite invasion of a few months back, which the Huffington Post among others reported on, regarding the woman who has nipple piercings and TSA screeners refused to let her board her flight until they were removed. This was not only a huge invasion of privacy but was also hygienically dangerous in that environment as they handed her a random pliers to yank them out with. The passenger requested that she simply show them to a female TSA inspector, but this was not accepted and she was forced to attempt removal. TSA now says it will change its procedures after the woman lodged complaints against them, but are vague as to the exact changes.

This is something I have personal conern about as there is no way I’d start trying to pull my piercings out with unsterilized equipment for the sake of an ignorant TSA inspector’s assumption that somehow I’ve turned them into explosive devices. This is where dress, identity, personal liberties, oppressive mandates, and ideas about impressions and assumptions are rolled together and could make a very interesting and modern research piece. If anyone knows of any academic research into this subject featuring dress issues please send them my way.-Monica


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Available now: Punk Style by Worn Through founder, Monica Sklar, PhD. Find it at :, Powell's Books, or a bookseller near you.