Naomi Wolf: The State Can Strip You

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Ozy Frantz is a student at a well-respected Hippie College in the United States. Zie bases most of zir life decisions on Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, and identifies more closely with Pinkie Pie than is probably necessary. Ozy can be contacted at [email protected] or on Twitter as @ozyfrantz. Writing is presently Ozy's primary means of support, so to tip the blogger, click here.


  1. Typical drivel from an Abstract Nounist sympathizer! You want the Abstract Nouns to win!! Why do you hate America, ozy?

    More seriously, I agree with most of your post here. I think Wolf has done some outstanding work exposing the encroachments of the American police state. I suspect I’m a little more pessimistic than you about the direction the country is going in, though.

    The one piece of your post I disagree with is your part about Bradley Manning. I think this Rainey Reitman response to the Emily Manuel post you cite is persuasive. If Manning makes it publicly known (through trusted intermediaries) that he now identifies as a woman, I’ll fully respect her wishes. Until then, I will continue to refer to him as Bradley.

  2. QuantumInc says:


    This is indeed bad. (Unless Naomi Wolf’s take on the supreme court decision is completely off base) The supreme court decisions is both tragic and idiotic. The NDAA and HR347 is pure terrorism paranoia, to give them the benefit of a doubt.

    Seriously, did no one bother to ask the question: “What if the guy being confronted by the police is actually innocent even though the police don’t know that?” Let alone: “What if some of the police officers or federal agents are assholes and abuse their newfound powers?” They’re basically assuming that if the police suspect you then surely there must be a 99% they’re right in their initial suspicions. There is no concern who the rights of anyone who might end up on the wrong side of the law. The guys who originally created this country considered it important, but now a days we just assume that only criminals and terrorists have anything to fear from law enforcement. Because clearly law-enforcement is made up of mind reading saints!

  3. “Do I think the US is turning into a fascist state? No, not yet; America has done much worse in the past and eventually worked out okay.”
    It didn’t just “work out okay”. We stepped back from the edge. The alien and sedition acts disappeared, and we did away with the internment camps. Same thing we need to do here. Things like this article good, but they also need to be transformed into political action. And you know what that entails VOTING. (And if you are really motivated starting a blog or superPAC or something, but voting is a bare minimum.)

  4. I think we have those rapescan thingies up here in Canada too. Someone suggested they could fill in for those new MRIs we apparently can’t afford.

    Daily Dose of Irony:

    “As of 2008, Iran carries out more sex change operations than any other nation in the world except for Thailand. The government provides up to half the cost for those needing financial assistance, and a sex change is recognised on the birth certificate.”

  5. pocketjacks says:

    Make no mistake that the humiliation aspect of strip searching is the point, the demonstration of power from ruler to subject. Someone give me the original writ of the Roberts court explaining how this doesn’t violate the Fourth amendment so I can wrap it around a bottle of gasoline and light it.


    “It is better that the guilty go free than the innocent be jailed”. That’s the foundation of all humane, liberal justice systems, and a necessary precondition for a democratic system of law to not trample on the rights of minorities and degenerate into mob rule. An electorate that doesn’t accept this rede is, in my view, one that doesn’t deserve democracy.

  6. Daelyte,

    Not actually irony. The Iranian government uses “transgender” to cover a variety of people, not all of whom are transgender, who violate that states pervasive rules about heterosexuality. It’s hard to claim Iran “gets it right” in that regard when homosexuality is illegal in that country and is often punishable with death.

    While Iran does pay for the surgery, it also “encourages” folks to get the surgery (i.e. coercion). The issue is that the nation is essentially forcing cisgender or genderqueer individuals to have transgender surgery. In addition, it does the same to genuinely trans individuals who don’t want every aspect of the surgery. The nation does not respect the notion that a trans individual can have genitalia that differ from their gender presentation.

    There’s nothing ironic, vis a vis fascism, about a state that imposes major surgery upon its citizens.

  7. The whole “fear of nudity” aspect can only be exploited because most currently existing cultures above the stone age level indoctrinate that fear from birth. Even though most people (including those who exploit it) probably don’t think of it that way, probably the main reason why it persists is so that it *can* be exploited as a means of social control. Though generally, in ways more subtle than the ones mentioned here. As someone who missed out in this indoctrination, I would likely find that a strip search (provided they were only thoroughly examining my clothing, or something), being forced to shower while someone watches, being subjected to a see-through-clothing scanner, or anything else where nudity was the only significant issue, to be *at most* an annoyance rather than a humiliating ordeal.

    Anything involving an actual physical violation is another matter, obviously.

  8. AnonymousDog says:

    Is America turning into a fascist state?
    I dunno about fascist, but America changed into an Administrative State a couple of generations ago. Once upon a time, the US was a republic, controlled by the voters and their elected representatives, now our government is controlled by “civil service” functionaries who will remain in office no matter who wins the next election. Up until recently, administrative type government was mostly brought to bear on domestic agendas, but now it’s being used for nationa; security purposes, and all of the sudden, people who didn’t care before now do………

  9. @pocketjacks:
    The reasoning goes like this:
    1) The 4th Amendment protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures.
    2) Strip-searching the presumptively innocent when putting them into the general prison population is a necessary security measure, therefore it is a reasonable search.
    3) Thus, there is no 4th Amendment violation.

    Have fun printing that out and burning it. :)

    There are many ways to attack #2 to show how unreasonable it is, so I would not be surprised if the precedent that this case sets is not very strong. Hopefully this or a future SCOTUS will reverse the ruling at some point. Also, I would hope some/all state Supreme Courts decide that such a search still violates the privacy clause of their state constitutions. I won’t hold out hope that the Obama or possible Romney administration will change the rules about how/when strip-searches are done on federal prisoners, though.

  10. “Naomi Wolf has, lately, been rather facepalmy regarding the whole porn/sex/sex work issue,”

    Lately? I’ve loosely followed her writing since the 90s, and she’s *never* gotten that issue right. Which is ironic given her strong “power feminism” “women are not inherent victims” stance she’s taken vis-a-vis feminists like Jaclyn Friedman. But when it comes to sex work and porn, she throws the whole notion of strong female agency out the window. More than a passing resemblance on Germaine Greer’s similar inconsistency on such issues over the years.

    She’s on stronger ground with her more left-wing writings. In that regard, a left feminist who thankfully doesn’t spend all of her time hating on the “male left”.

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