Taking Liberties

Posted January 17, 2010

Taking Liberties

It’s around this time of year that I regret having glutted myself on turkey, booze and chocolate during the greedy, I mean, festive season.

I look down at my bloated stomach and resolve to drop the additional pounds toute de suite. However, this year I feel even more of a sense of urgency. What’s causing me such anxiety? It’s the fear that full-body security scanners will be introduced as part of airport screening before I’ve had a chance to whip myself back into shape.

I’m staring at the picture in the Daily Express that is the cause of my growing paranoia. It is the one of the middle-aged man being scanned during trials at Manchester airport. His outer layer of clothing has been ‘removed’ giving him the appearance of a man who has wandered out in only his socks and a jock strap. It’s not a pretty sight! Every lump and bump is revealed which I guess is the whole point. There is no hiding place for explosives, liquid syringes or, dare I say it, excess rolls of fatty flesh.

I’m sure I’m not the only woman who is already imagining how she may appear.  At least with your own holiday photos you can bin any unflattering swimwear shots before they ever see the light of day. You don’t get that choice with the new body scanners. It’s interesting that the first published photograph is of a man, isn’t it? Imagine the outcry if it had been a middle-aged woman not looking her best – like me, for instance! I’ll hazard a guess that the first photograph of a woman being scanned will be of some taut twenty-something year old. Perhaps the Government will introduce airbrushing on request to British females who feel they need a bit of a scanning makeover. Hey, they could even tax us on it. I bet that would go a long way to plugging the national debt.

Perhaps you are one of the many women who rely on spanx silhouette-smoothing underwear to mould you into the shape you desire. I wonder if any scanner is strong enough to see through this layer of self inflicted bondage? Imagine what that looks like under an x-ray.  All those previously invisible folds of scooped up, squeezed tight skin now suddenly exposed. Maybe spanx panties should be banned altogether on humanitarian grounds. It would be far too cruel to ask security staff to repeatedly confront such images.

And what will happen to these pictures? Given this Government’s zeal for accumulating databases for just about everything, I can’t believe that the images will be routinely deleted. For one thing, Government departments are not known to be that efficient, or careful, with confidential data. If past experience is anything to go by, they are likely to end up on a hard drive on someone’s laptop which accidently gets left behind on a train or in a taxi. That’s certainly not where I’d want my spanx distorted shots to end up, would you?

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