Sexual Humiliation as a Tool of Political Control?: Legalizing Strip Searches for…Well, Any Reason at All

Over the weekend, I read this article from the British paper The Guardian by feminist writer and activist Naomi Wolf. For those of you who went to the screening of Miss Representation, you might see some overlap.

The article, “How the US Uses Sexual Humiliation as a Political Tool to Control the Masses,” The article discusses, with justified concern, the recent 5 to 4 Supreme Court ruling this past week that allows anyone arrested to be strip-searched for any offense. This comes on the heel of two other recent laws that have passed: HR 347, known as the “Trespass Bill,” which gives anyone a 10-year sentence for protesting near someone under secret service protection, and the NDAA, which allows anyone to be arrested indefinitely at any time. Wold also does a sharp job of analyzing the growing use of the word “detainee” to describe, not Muslim terrorists in Afghanistan, but US citizens.

Wolf writes, “The most terrifying phrase of all in the decision is justice Kennedy’s striking use of the term ‘detainees’ for ‘United States citizens under arrest’. Some members of Occupy who were arrested in Los Angeles also reported having been referred to by police as such…Ten years of association have given ‘detainee’ the synonymous meaning in America as those to whom no rights apply – especially in prison. It has been long in use in America, habituating us to link it with a condition in which random Muslims far away may be stripped by the American state of any rights. Now the term – with its associations of ‘those to whom anything may be done’ – is being deployed systematically in the direction of … any old American citizen.”

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