News & Politics

15-Year-Old Girl Humiliated By TSA Officer Who Told Her to 'Cover Yourself'

The daughter of the founder of Boing Boing was 'shamed' and 'humiliated' by a Transportation Security Agency officer at LAX.

A passenger is scanned by a TSA agent at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on February 05, 2009.
Photo Credit: Carolina K. Smith MD /

The daughter of the founder of the website Boing Boing was “shamed” and “humiliated” by a Transportation Security Agency (TSA) officer who told her to “cover” herself up. Now, the TSA is investigating the incident.

Mark Frauenfelder detailed the story of his daughter’s experiencewith the TSA yesterday evening. The account comes from his 15-year-old daughter’s text messages.

He wrote that while she was at the Los Angeles airport with other high school students going on a college tour, an officer glared at her. Then, after his daughter saw that he was mumbling, she said: “Excuse me?” The officer replied harshly: “You're only 15, COVER YOURSELF!" (The daughter was not wearing anything that would warrant the outburst, though Frauenfelder notes: “It doesn't matter what she was wearing, though, because it's none of his business to tell girls what they should or should not wear. His creepy thoughts are his own problem, and he shouldn't use his position of authority as an excuse to humiliate a girl and blame her for his sick attitude.”)

Maureen Herman, one of Frauenfelder’s friends and a women’s rights activist, wrote a blog post lambasting the TSA’s behavior. “Things like this need to matter, because they inject shame (or try to) in a young woman who is just living her life, going to check out colleges, and throws on the first of what will unfortunately be many layers of sexism she will encounter in her life,” she wrote on the website of A Is For..., an organization that works to protect reproductive rights.


Alex Kane is former World editor at AlterNet. His work has appeared in Mondoweiss, Salon, VICE, the Los Angeles Review of Books and more. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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