Hooters is Dangerous to Women, Children, and Owls

BlogHer Original Post

Looking for a great place to take the feminist family for a holiday meal, plus pick up some hilarious gifts for the kiddies? I’ve got the perfect place - Hooters. Seriously! According to Hooters Facts, 32% of Hooters management is female. Plus, they’ve donated $2 million to the V Foundation for Cancer Research in honor of “former Hooters Calendar Girl and manager, Kelly Jo Dowd, who passed away from the disease in 2006.”

As if that’s not enough, Broadsheet reported that the chain offers a “kid's menu, high chairs, booster seats and all sorts of merchandise for little tykes -- like... an "I'm a boob man" onesie and a "Your crib or mine?" bib.” (The kids’ menu in Arizona charges $2.59 for burgers and hot dogs and $59.95 for liver and onions. Soooo funny.) At some locations, kids even eat free on Sundays. Practical and hilarious, right?

ATLANTA - FEBRUARY 23: DreamWorks Pictures 'She's Out Of My League' co-stars, Krysten Ritter and Alice Eve become 'Honorary Hooters Girls' at Hooters on February 23, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Paramount)

What’s really great about Hooters, though, is that it also functions as a purveyor of “adult” entertainment. While the children drool over their tender chicken strips (made from breast meat?), the adults have their own fun. Several chapters of the National Organization for Women in California think there’s something fishy about this. As Broadsheet notes:

Hooters is described in official business filings as a provider of "vicarious sexual entertainment." NOW points out that the chain has "used this designation as a way to avoid compliance with regulations against sexual discrimination in the workplace." The official employment manual warns that a waitress is, as NOW paraphrases, "employed as a sexual entertainer and as part of her employment can expect to be subjected to various sexual jokes by customers and such potential contacts as buttocks slaps."

I think this is rather clever. (It sure beats the New York NOW chapters protests of the botox tax as discriminatory toward women because we need plastic surgery to stay competitive in the discriminatory workplace.) Of course, when feminists get all clever in order to achieve something positive, the world gets all mad. (Actually, the world gets all bent out of shape when feminists try and do anything, but that’s another story. Haters just sit around waiting for something to hate on.) If you want to read many rants about how feminists are horrid people out to deprive the world of the good fun that bouncy tits and tight asses provide, I suggest that you google “national organization for women hooters.” It is ugly out there.

Shannon Drury of the Minnesota NOW blog, Minnesota Feminists Speak Out! defended the actions of the California branches. In an amusing and thoughtful post, she concludes, “This suit is about the rights of Hooters workers to expect a modicum of protection from harassment and employment discrimination. Hooters uses legalese to protect itself from liability–I applaud California NOW for turning the tables back on them (waitressing pun totally intended).”

Honestly, Hooters grosses me out. I know that there are people who enjoy it, but in general I prefer my food to be served to me by people who are fully clothed and can breathe somewhat easily. (For more details on the Hooters attire, I highly recommend this insightful post from Princess Melissa about her day squeezing into a Hooters “uniform.” The description of the pantyhose is priceless.) I hate the fratty-sneering-isn’t-this-all-just-fun? attitude. As a buzzkill feminist, I don’t find it fun at all.

But it’s not just the vapid sexism that I oppose. The more I think about all this, the more I hope that animal rights activists will join the campaign against Hooters. What is with that poor little owl forced to leer at women nonstop in their stupid logo? He looks completely stressed out. Does he ever get to close his eyeballs for some rest? Aren’t some owls endangered species? The chain doesn’t even bother giving their mascot a name on their homepage, which is terrible. He’s just another body to use to sell their products. (Further research uncovered his identity as "Hootie the Owl," which is the type of lazy name someone gives when they don't care.) I think I am going to call him Woody to honor his roots and form a new organization, Save Hooters Little Owl Now, Girls! (SHLONG). SHLONG’s logo will feature Woody clinging to an erect branch with his talons.

If people can’t work for justice for Hooters Girls than I hope they will at least find the decency to rally to Woody the Hooter Owl’s aid. We have to start somewhere. I'm taking a stand with SHLONG.

Suzanne also blogs at Campaign for Unshaved Snatch (CUSS) & Other Rants and is the author of Off the Beaten (Subway) Track.

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