Hooters: sexist and anti-feminist?

Hootersgirls

This Salon piece reminded me of one Halloween back in high school.

As per tradition, many people came to school that day dressed in costume. A big group of cheerleaders and their hot non-cheerleader friends came dressed as full-fledged Hooters girls. They looked a lot like this photo, only with backpacks instead of sporting equipment. Some of them had even altered the “uniform” to make it more revealing.

When asked why they chose to come dressed as the employees of a company that objectifies women, they said that they were doing it as an ironic statement in order to actually MAKE FUN of Hooters girls. They were absolutely NOT doing it in order to come to school scantily clad and have guys ogle them in the hallways. Clearly. Of course.

The lesson here is clear: if you’re too dumb to know what irony is, maybe dressing up like a Hooters girl is a good way to prepare for your future which will likely involve you actually working at a Hooters.

Note: BUT… of course we all know that we don’t live in a world which rewards smarts. Those girls are probably running their own companies now or doing corporate law while I scribble here.

 

3 Comments

  1. TreoBenny August 12, 2010

    I’m marrying a woman that has a very dim view on the Hooters establishment. In fact, she absolutely refuses to go. Many women I’ve spoken to also see this as sexist and anti-feminist. But, like…everything, there’s another side to the coin.

    I work for and with a recreational sports league that offers co-ed flag football, among other sports. One of our players, Saran Dunmore, has seen some big-time success in the Lingerie Football League. (Offensive player of the year.) I’ve been to Hooters three times, in three different cities and states, (Chicago, Nashville, Orlando.) That’s it, three times. I think their boneless spicy garlic wings are epic, (this flavor isn’t offered in Chicago btw) and if given the chance/permission I’d happily return. The location in Orlando had free wi-fi, the Nashville location had the NASCAR race on almost every screen and a sand volleyball court and sandbox for kids adjacent to the restaurant. In short, I found them to be pretty damn cool. The servers are definitely chatty, but I didn’t feel like I was being hustled for a tip. In fact, in each case the female server told me a little about how she came to work at Hooters and what her career plans were.

    I learned that many (most at the southern locations) Hooters girls already have careers that keep them in athletic shape: Dancers, performing artists, athletes, etc. They saw working at Hooters as simply a bonus to another wait staff job. The Hooters uniform is fairly modest when compared to gymnastics, many forms of dance, or competition swimwear. If you can perform/compete in front of hundreds wearing less, what’s a tank top, short shorts, and thick dance tights gonna hurt in front of a few scores? My server in Orlando, who was definitely the most serious and un-flirty, told me it’s not uncommon that managers for performing arts and other athletic performance organizations approach Hooters girls for opportunities to perform. If I recall correctly, she said several girls from her location alone were now on performance tours with dance troops on stage and for pro and semi-pro sports teams. Saran Dunmore, the Lingerie Football League player is a professional trainer and she has made good on the exposure the league gave her and her business.

    Because a woman’s figure is revealed, doesn’t necessarily mean she is being objectified, disrespected, or her rights as a woman are being eroded. Many, many women work very hard to stay in shape for reasons other than a man’s approval. But don’t listen to me, ask one of your ‘sisters’ about it sometime…it’s what I did.

  2. Brandon Zeman August 12, 2010

    Word- awesome comment yo! My girlfriend and I go to Hooters occasionally, and it’s not for the girls. The wings used to be pretty solid, but the last few visits have left me not so eager to return, which sucks because it’s about the only place she likes wings from.

  3. Anna Tarkov August 12, 2010

    Treo, if it wasn’t already obvious I share your future bride’s dim view of Hooter’s. It sounds like you’ve got yourself a wonderful woman there by the way; congrats! :)

    As for the other side of the coin, I can absolutely appreciate the lengths these ladies go to to stay in shape and maintain their figures. I know it’s not an easy task and requires great commitment. And I’m delighted to hear that many are doing it because they are pursuing careers in dance or athletics. However… your assertion that competing in a professional sport or dance competition in a skimpy outfit is the same as serving food in a skimpy outfit is absurd. When a female athlete performs, while she may be noticed for her physical tone and attractiveness, the main focus is on her ability and performance. Indeed, she is being judged and scored on her dive, her waltz, her butterfly stroke, etc. She is NOT being judged or scored on her breasts or her posterior. And while she is technically not being judged on these things at Hooters, let’s not pretend that all customers tip solely on the level of service that is provided. And let’s also not pretend that management would hire someone who, shall we say, couldn’t quite fit into the uniform the way these ladies can.

    Finally, you said yourself that a woman might choose to work at Hooters because she has the body for it and sees it as a “bonus to another wait staff job.” I assume this means that they choose Hooters because the tips are better than at IHOP or Denny’s, is that correct? If so, what’s to stop these ladies (if they are experienced servers) from going to work at restaurants that charge more for their food and thus elicit larger tips? In a fine dining establishment, attractiveness and physical fitness are also prized traits AND you get to keep all your clothes on. I can accept the better tips argument only if we’re talking about some podunk town that has no finer dining than Hooters. In that case, working at Hooters is absolutely preferable to working the pole at a strip club. Orlando and Nashville don’t seem like towns with no fine dining restaurants though.

    Also, I don’t begrudge any man a visit to Hooters. I see you took pains to stress that you’ve set foot in one only three times. It could be three hundred times, I don’t care. It’s a free country and you can go where you want and spend your money where you want. Who I’M concerned with are the women who are choosing to work there. Are there really no other alternatives? For women who work in strip clubs or as prostitutes, the answer is sometimes no. But I can’t imagine that Hooters girls are in the same predicament.

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