Action Alert!

Do I detect gender stereotyping?

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Nov 26, 2004

The ever-reliable liberal bellwether Maureen Dowd of the New York Times is not the first columnist to write about intrusive airport body searches of female passengers. In fact her outrage on this, as on most other issues, is perfectly in tune with this week's fashions.

But listen to this:

Then a beefy female security agent runs her hands all the way around your breasts, in between, underneath - again with guys standing around staring.

What's the word "beefy" doing in that sentence? Would it be more acceptable if a willowy female security agent did the frisking? The reference to a "beefy" woman conjures up thoughts of what Maureen Dowd would, on her better days, call "homophobia."

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: - Nov. 27, 2004 7:53 AM ET USA

    Bravo, Phil, for standing up for the rights of homosexuals.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 26, 2004 2:25 PM ET USA

    As much as I hate to agree with Maureen Dowd, airport searches have become way too intrusive. Things are done in an airport security line that would have a local police department under the supervision of a federal court for decades if they were tried on the street. We have the technology and methodology to make airplanes secure without treating people like prisoners. We need to use it.

  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Nov. 26, 2004 10:58 AM ET USA

    Thanks for the insight. I'll never be able to listen again to Clara Peller who made "Where's the Beef?" a memorable catch-phrase without thinking of Dowd's characterization of the "beefy female security agent".