Yesterday, I loaded up my kids and my dog and headed to the University of Illinois to visit my sister, Ericka. We picked her and her dog, Shep up and went back to the main strip to find a place to eat. Picture four people, a pug and a German Shepherd in a gray mini-van. (That has nothing to do with this post. I just wanted you to get the mental image.) As we drove along tossing out restaurant ideas, Katie pipes up from the back and says “Mommy, what is Hooters?”
After much hysterical laughing, Ericka looks over at me and says “I’m gonna let YOU field that one.” Arg. I’m one of those parents that will just tell it like it is, so I said “Hooters is a restaurant that hires only attractive women with big boobs to serve the food.” I couldn’t see Katie’s face because Shep was in the way, but I’m guessing she was confused at the concept. Then suddenly she said “Oh. Daddy would probably like that.” Great, my 10-year-old knows what guys like to see on a woman.
We tried to explain to Katie that we would never eat there and support a place like that and that it was wrong to hire women based on how they look. Katie is very bright, so I am hoping she “gets” what we were trying to teach her. The best thing I can possibly do is to educate her about what it is and explain why it is wrong.
After reading Kelli’s post about self-image, I started thinking about that incident and I started wondering why a place like Hooters is still in existence. It is a reminder that we still have so far to go in educating both men and women. You would think that women would be smart enough to avoid working in a place like that, but I’ve never seen a help wanted sign in the window of a Hooters. And you would think that men these days might have gained a little more respect for women, but the Hooters merchandise has expanded from T-shirts to calendars, hats, golf accessories, playing cards, a DVD and a members only club.
I realize this could start a heated debate over whether Hooters is “okay” or not because I do know that there are women who do eat at Hooters and people who will take their families there for a meal, but I don’t care. To me, a Hooters restaurant is an outrage. No, I haven’t ever stepped foot into a Hooters, but I have seen enough media coverage and commercials to understand the concept. If you need any convincing at all, just Google “Hooters” and start clicking. Some of their MANY, MANY sites are borderline porn.
I’m not blind to the true concept behind “Hooters” and I am sick and tired of having to explain these atrocities to my kids. I’m now paranoid that my developing daughter is going to have a complex over how her “hooters” look and whether she would ever be “good enough” to work at a place like that. She’s already commenting about her weight and agonizing over the occasional pimple. Hooters does nothing but destroy self-image and feed the porn industry. I seriously think we need to start a boycott or something to shut these places down. Who’s with me?
Actually, a boycott probably wouldn’t be effective because people like us who don’t approve are already boycotting Hooters. What needs to happen is educating young men and women to respect themselves and have the sense enough to not support places like these. Spread the word.