My friend Mark recently sent me the link to this article about the National Organization for Women going after Hooters for catering to kids. As a business that is categorized as adult entertainment, the problem seems to be that they’re a little too kid-friendly. For example, there are high chairs, kids menus, and even the dreaded child sized t-shirts with “Future Hooters Girl” emblazoned across them. And even onesies and bibs with “Hooter” centered messages on them.
Of course, Hooters is a prime example of the sexualization of women. Being served by scantily clad females leads to what Hooters itself has called a “sexually charged atmosphere.” Anyone who has seen the “Undercover Boss” episode featuring Hooters restaurants knows that even for those men who are working there, the sexualization of the female staff often lends itself to degrading and unfair treatment by men.
These women do chose to work in this atmosphere, most likely because they buy into the post-feminist idea that using their sexuality to gain power is not only acceptable but savvy. The “if you’ve got it, flaunt it” adage is certainly embraced at Hooters and other similar establishments. The merchandise that is marketed to children has messages that are the epitome of the sexualized stereotypes that are unhealthy for both boys and girls, with the message that boys should emphasize physical attractiveness in females with whom they have a relationship while the pinnacle of success for girls is to make money by showing off ones body.
But why bring children into this atmosphere? There are clearly families who frequent this restaurant, you and I have all seen them going in or coming out. I have to wonder what message is being absorbed by the children who are eating there when they see young, attractive females scantily dressed and serving others. I think I know what the message is: Females are valuable when they’re sexy. Female sexuality is for the pleasure of others. Females can use they’re sexiness to gain power (in this case, money). So maybe they have great wings, but they have a terrible message. Which is more important?