A member of a Dad Blogger group I belong to posted a photo of his 12-year-old son beaming alongside 5 Hooters waitresses this weekend. The tone of the comment that went with the picture was one of bravado and pride in his son becoming a man.
The first few comments on the board were congratulatory until I asked “I wonder what the dads of daughters have to say?”
Then the debate started. Actually, the debate started again. This was given a good runaround back in 2009 when Bob Elston, blogger at The Rain Racer, posted a picture of his 11 yr old with a Hooters waitress after a football game. 4 yrs later, we gave it the runaround again.
Is Hooters a family restaurant? Is it objectifying and demeaning to women? Is it an appropriate place for kids? Should you take pictures of your kids with scantily clad waitresses? Is it a rite of passage? Is this any different than tweens swooning for Bieber or 1D?
The group is a proactive one that really tries to change the perception of dads and men in media. We rally against the “dad is a doofus” default that appears so regularly in commercials, so it seemed odd to me that this portrayal of women would be cheered. A dad taking a pic of his 12 yr old with 5 Hooters waitresses seemed to underline the “men are meatheads” messaging instead of changing the channel.
Others defended the picture by saying the girls are there of their own free will. True enough, but I’m still disappointed this self-objectification is considered perfectly acceptable.
Where we commodify men with athletic prowess in sport, we commodify women based on their ability to fill out a tank top. I don’t fully understand how looking good is a qualification for a resume, yet thousands of girls will get through college with jobs based on looks. Just look at the lines at trade shows where random a attendee gets a picture with a random hot chick. It is disappointing that guys ogle, and it is disappointing that women know guys ogle and hang it all out as a means of easy money.
Last week, the Internet was abuzz about a Mom “body-shaming” teen girls and their lascivious selfies while parading around her shirtless sons. Am I a ‘body shamer’ for thinking tween boys at Hooters is a little offside?
“I’ve had countless encounters with boys and girls of all ages while working at Hooters, and Bob’s son reacted as expected. Most boys under the age of 13 are shy, awkward, and usually embarrassed to even look at me, let alone talk to me,” she wrote. “More often than not, kids hardly even notice I am there. So does Hooters send a negative message to kids? Maybe, but that’s why they have parents to teach them the right messages, and that’s really what this is all about.”
The guy in the group is a great Dad. He took time out from our debate to head to his son’s school for a teacher interview. His son is succeeding at school, and they have a great relationship. Does that make it okay, or make him an outlier? Just as there are fathers who will use this as a ‘teachable moment,’ there are dads who will encourage their sons to ogle and objectify.
He notes there was a table next to them with young daughters digging in to deep fried pickles and wings.
So where do you stand? Would you take your tween son/daughter to Hooters?
These People Differ 1 of 10
You've heard my take, now click through pics of parents and kids who think Hooters is just fine, thank you very much.
Happy Birthday 2 of 10
Michael was having wings with the boys when he noticed some commotion at the table across the room. It was a kid's birthay party. Because, of course.
Image via Michael Dorausch
Baby Hooters 3 of 10
The description on this Flickr image is "Max likes the boobs, I think." While the tween in the foreground is beaming, it's the baby in the background that photobombs this pic.
Image via Mark Ordonez
Kids Eat Free 4 of 10
Because everyone likes to go for a snack after church, Amiright?
Image via Miker69
Nice T-shirt 5 of 10
Kids can dress themselves, but parents have to pay for the clothes. An adult put this in the kid's wardrobe.
Image via Lindsey Turner
One Big Happy Family 6 of 10
Dad looks uncomfortable, baby doesn't care, daughter is gleaming. I don't get it.
Image via takaaki nishioka
Guys’ Night Out 7 of 10
Maybe I've got it all wrong. That is one hell of a big grin on the kid. Who can hate on happy children?
Image via Marco Zanferrari
Yep 8 of 10
Really, maybe, it's none of our business. This picture is tagged "Yep, my baby has a Hooters shirt." My kids have Star Wars shirts with Darth Vader and lasers and stuff. Who am I to judge?
Image via Kona Gallagher
Little Girl 9 of 10
I don't know where to begin.
Image via katrinket
Family Friendly 10 of 10
This is from the Hooters Casino Hotel in Las Vegas. It's an officially licensed shirt. Tell me again how this is a family friendly restaurant that people go to because of the "wings."
Image via inazakira