Why I hate Hooters

Why I hate Hooters

I hate Hooters, and it has nothing to do with the food. I’ve only been to a Hooters restaurant once, and it was such a long time ago, I don’t remember what I ate or if I enjoyed it (though a little owl tells me the food isn't the number one reason people go there).

What I despise most about the franchise is that its name is demeaning to women. Of course, I also hate Hooters and other restaurants like it because they objectify women.

My hatred for Hooters: a brief history

My hatred for Hooters didn't happen yesterday or since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke last October. I've been offended since the 1980s when the franchise first came on the scene.

Back then, I had nowhere to go with my loathing. Hooters was just there, a part of the cultural landscape, along with Michael Jackson, the TV show “Cheers,” and, yes, occasional unwanted sexual advances from powerful men in the workplace.

But the conversation has shifted—no thanks to Weinstein and a slew of other big names. Sexual harassment is front and center. Now seems like as good of a time as any to talk about Hooters.

Why has it been OK to disparage women but not other groups?

Can you imagine another allegedly family-friendly restaurant franchise with a name that's a derogatory word for male body parts? Of course, not. It would be rude, infantile and gross. No one would go there.

Nor could you picture a restaurant with an obvious racist or anti-semitic slur as its name.

Last month, Eataly, the Italian marketplace in River North, caught hell--garnering customer complaints and plenty of negative press for a window sign that said “Bring home an Italian, worth the smell.”

The sign was removed within a week, according to Louis Rago, president of the Italian American Human Relations Foundation of Chicago. 

After all these years, why hasn’t there been similar outrage over Hooters?

Hooters isn't the only "breastaurant"

To be fair, there are other so-called “breastaurants” (Yes, it’s an actual restaurant category) such as Twin Peaks—which feature a scantily clad female waitstaff donning outfits accentuating their you-know-whats.

Don't think Twin Peaks, which currently has 81 locations in 25 states, gets a pass from me, either. I imagine its corporate leaders think Twin Peaks is a pretty clever name. Well, hardy har har. This female is not amused.

You might think the existence of Hooters and Hooters-like restaurants are small potatoes in a discussion of what causes male bad behavior. I'm not buying it.

I'm not saying that Hooters and other restaurants of its ilk are totally responsible for men sexually harassing women, but I do see these places--along with other cultural norms such as misogynistic song lyrics and gratuitous female nude scenes in movies—as contributing factors.

If it’s okay for a restaurant to be called Hooters, a name which disrespects women, it’s just a stone's throw to males making crude comments to anonymous females on the street, to uncomfortable, inappropriate talk and touch in the workplace and beyond, to perhaps, even sexual abuse.  

Is there a witch-hunt against men? Maybe. 

A couple of weeks ago, Liam Neeson said as women in the entertainment industry come forward with their stories of sexual misconduct, there is a “bit of a witch-hunt” happening against high-profile men.

Neeson might not be wrong. While I’m appalled and repulsed by what Weinstein and others were alleged to have done, I’m not convinced that some of these famous men should lose their careers over having had acted like, well, stupid jerks (Al Franken) or insensitive, clueless bores (Aziz Ansari).

But guys, you’ve been in the driver’s seat on this issue for a loooong time. A little backlash is hardly surprising. I hope some real, honest dialog can now take place between men and women, and maybe one day the pendulum will swing back a bit the other way.

Until then, I say Times Up for Hooters and other restaurants like it.

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  • fb_avatar

    I agree. Same could be said about Beauty Pageants, as far as I'm concerned.

  • In reply to Jeff Wilson:

    Well, I don't see beauty pageants as quite the same, but I know what you mean. But it's the names of these places that really gets my blood pressure rising. Thanks for reading and commenting. I especially appreciate men reading this piece!

  • Had never heard of Twin Peaks but don't forget Twisted Kilt.

  • In reply to Michael Messinger:

    Yes, I know about that one too!

  • I agree. I never step foot in a Hooters or anything that objectifies women for looks. This includes pageants or cheerleading (let's teach girls to look pretty and cheer for men instead of actually playing a sport!)

  • Point taken regarding the names and marketing of restaurants, but until you and others convince women not to work there, based on what YOU think and believe, nothing will happen. And then, what about a women's right to choose what she does with her body?

    As an aside, the infamous "Sugar Shack" male stripper joint of the 80's, was insanely popular with women, and the sentiment lives on in raunchy bachelorette parties. Tiny, compared to "breastaraunts,", but considered just fine by women and the media.

  • I'm confused. You're talking about a couple of, perhaps related, but different subjects, Chef. Hooters is an allegedly family-friendly restaurant and that bothers me on many levels. Thanks for reading!

  • fb_avatar

    it is absolutely pervasive..every once in a while I get curious about an actor or actress I see on a tv show and look them up on the web..the pictures of the guys don't look anything like the pictures of the women..and who came up with that pose of a woman with her legs almost straight up in the air..or maybe an air brushed wall? Then there's gymnastics..check out the moves of the 13 year old contestants..you're fight a good fight Judy but there is one hell of a long way to go.

  • fb_avatar

    I started getting in trouble with the members of the tribe all the way back in high school for not talking about my dates...but looking back down that really long highway it worked out pretty well. but I still get disgusted..and I never bought a Play boy...articles? .

  • My daughter works for Hooters and I have no problem with the company or other restaurants that decide to hire pretty women. As for my daughter she has become very self assured and has no problem demanding respect in fact she doesn't demand it, she is treated with respect by her customers. This is not different for bars that hire great looking young men, sit back and watch how woman behave. Just because the place isn't called "Fancy Dicks" or whatever. People need to stop blaming companies for bad behavior. It's called self control, self respect and Live and let live.

  • In reply to allrightalready:

    Good for your daughter!! She's wearing more clothing than you can see every summer day at the beach, and making a lot of money off men who leave big tips. So who's exploiting who?

    I guess we have to close down these restaurants:

    Cock Of The Walk, Nashville
    Big Pecker's Bar and Grill, Ocean City MD
    Dick's, Milwaukee
    Rod's Grill, Arcadia CA
    Schlong's, Winkelman AZ
    Prick Thai, Tarragona Spain

  • fb_avatar

    Judy,you were sexually harassed?you must of been something 60 years ago

  • I've seen Hooters and Twisted Kilt on Undercover Boss and the owners portray their business as family friendly but I beg to differ. Children don't belong in a setting where food is served by overexposed women. Personally for me, it's a sanitary concern because I wouldn't want flesh and hair all over my food. This is America where we're free to make a living and women can do what they want with their bodies. However, restaurants like these should consider changing their policies to more age appropriate customers.

  • Whether a restaurant calls themselves Hooters, Twin Peaks, Tilted Kilt or Brick House; the message is the same--objectifying women. It's also completely discriminatory in the fact that no matter how great a waitress/waiter you are, if you aren't under 30 and in perfect shape, you can't work there. Let's set aside the fact that the food is total crap at these places and focus on the servers. By portraying these women as "things" to be ogled, they are telling men that it's ok to not view us as whole people; we're nothing but boobs, legs, butts and a pretty face. Women are more than a great pare of knockers; we have a brain and a heart and a soul. Portraying us as body parts makes it easier for rapists, stalkers and other creeps to treat women as less than human.

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