Hands Off!

I went for a movie with my parents on the weekend. As we walked in through the glass door, the security guard punched our tickets, gave me a perfunctory look-over and then proceeded to pat my dad down.

Now I ask you: who’s more likely to be carrying a bomb/explosive device/weapon? A twenty-something carrying a HUUGE tote-bag or a fifty-plus empty-handed man? But they assume I can do no harm, on account of my gender. I walk into malls, department stores, movie theatres and offices unaccosted while my male companions endure being patted down and having a cold, metallic beeper passed over them.

A few years back, on a visit to a museum that was displaying the royal jewels of some Maharaja, I was relieved of my backpack since it contained a walkman (with batteries) and a camera. Fair enough, I said, if not a little huffily over having to carry my wallet in my hand. And then a line snaked up towards the security guards who meticulously prodded every entrant over. I threw a fit…and a tantrum.

But it’s a woman security guard who’ll check you! What’s the fuss?

My friends wondered.

It’s a violation of my being! Why should I allow it? If that Maharaja thinks I’ve got a camera or a bomb hidden inside my stomach, when I go to see his crown…hmph!

Needless to say everyone assumed I was just having a temper fit as usual and left me in peace. I can still have my tempers, fits, tantrums to express my outrage over a stranger wanting to poke and prod me. But, I wonder, do the men have the same right? I understand the need for security but there’s no denying that what passes for security in most places is nothing more than a mandatory job to be performed or overwhelming paranoia. In which case my question becomes – are women automatically more trustworthy just because they’re women?

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About IdeaSmith

IdeaSmith is the digital doppelganger of Ramya Pandyan (intrepid train-traveller and frequent spouter of post-midnight rhymes and rants). As IdeaSmith she battles obscurity and slays boredom with her stories about men, books, digitalia and Mumbai. She performs live and also blogs, tweets, Instagrams, Facebooks, +G’s, Youtubes and Goodreads all as IdeaSmith. Ramya is a blogger, digital storyteller and spoken word performer. She also runs a forum for aspiring writers called Alphabet Sambar. Tweet-bomb her at @ideasmithy.

Posted on May 6, 2008, in Seriously speaking, Times, they are a-changing and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I don’t think this is a gender Issue. Most of the times, there are no female guards, and hence, the male guards Check only the Men.
    This is a problem of violation of privacy, and Inhuman treatment, for women as well as men.

    I was struck with this thought, when I had shifted to Delhi for sometime, from Mumbai. I used to throw a fit every time I had to be Physically checked, and being Delhi, that used to be about 5 times a day. Every time I enter a Mall, use the metro, or Go for a movie, I have to be physically checked by some Guy who has no Idea what he is doing.
    Once, at Red fort, both my pant pockets were bursting forth with 2 cell phones, a camera, a water bottle & a pen Knife. The guy patted me down and let me go on ahead. I was left wondering whether he just wanted to feel me up or what…

    I was fed up of it, because you are not treated as a Human Being, just as a Human Bomb.

  2. I wrote something on this topic..If I start my comment I may end up doing the whole post here 🙂
    instead let me put the link here 🙂
    http://virtualrambling.wordpress.com/2008/01/01/security-and-airports/

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