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The Big Question: Hot Button/Hot Wing Edition | Manolo for the Big Girl

The Big Question: Hot Button/Hot Wing Edition

One of my favorite things about being sans kiddos is that I can spend a considerable amount of my free time judging how other people raise their children and comparing them disfavorably to my own imagined children, who would not while away the blissful hours of youth by shoving crayons up their nose and trying to pee on the cat, but would spend their time in constructive efforts like moonshining and exacting vengeance on mine enemies.

An excellent judging opportunity presented itself just yesterday when an acquaintance with two daughters in elementary school –each the smallest in her class– complained how her girls hated to go to a Hooters-type establishment because the waitresses wore such skimpy costumes, the implication being the mother (of whom I am quite fond in other regards) dragged them along anyway.

It filled me with a good frothy head of rage, but I seemed to be the only one.  Aren’t there enough ways to mess with the self-image of young girls without having mothers hauling them to places where perkiness is a must, and I don’t mean in attitude?

So the big question is:

What do you think? For those of you who go to the breast n’ wings-style places,  would you take your daughters there? If you’ve never been, why not?

35 Responses to “The Big Question: Hot Button/Hot Wing Edition”

  1. sarah July 10, 2008 at 2:52 pm #

    I don’t have a daughter but I can’t even imagine taking my elementary school son to a place as such. Just not something I want to encourage at such a young age.

  2. dr nic July 10, 2008 at 3:11 pm #

    I don’t have kids (yet). But I’ve never understood the appeal of those places to women, and I certainly wouldn’t take kids there. They’re just not family-friendly places.

  3. TeleriB July 10, 2008 at 3:33 pm #

    I’m hetero and I don’t really like wings. Why would I go to Hooters?

  4. Evie July 10, 2008 at 3:38 pm #

    Plumcake, I am with you 100% on this one. Why is this mother ignoring her daughters’ discomfort with the scantily clad waitresses in an obviously kid-unfriendly setting? Is this some sort of misguided attempt to make them unashamed of “the female form?” Or just selfishness?

    I have never been to such a place and, God willing, never will be. Not because of my views on feminism, body image, or sex, but because I have a very low tolerance for bad food and tackiness.

  5. Tuppence July 10, 2008 at 3:46 pm #

    Grrrr! I’m a bit irrational on this exact topic because the father of my dear BFF took her there frequently on their weekends together. She has, well, let’s just say, some self esteem problems, many of which are related to her body and her smaller than average breasts. If karma hadn’t landed the man with the wife he deserves, I’d want to kick his absentee rear myself.

  6. Jennie July 10, 2008 at 3:47 pm #

    I personally prefer GOOD food and penis. Now, open a restaurant named “Wood” and I’m all over it. Really, why would I go to a restaurant that made me feel worse about my appearance? Why would I take a child there and reinforce stereotypes? It’s difficult enough right now to convince little girls that they don’t have to be shaped like a Barbie doll (huge tits and anorexic).

  7. dee July 10, 2008 at 4:06 pm #

    I don’t have kids yet, and I don’t go to those places. Why would I want to pay someone else to serve me mediocre food and make me feel bad about myself?

  8. Cat July 10, 2008 at 4:06 pm #

    I don’t have children myself, but I have nephews and a niece. Fortunately for my niece, her no-account mother is now out of the picture. It was bad enough that by the time she was 3 (when my sister was granted guardianship of her), she knew enough about “what men want” that she would lay on the ground and “show herself” to guys. AT THREE YEARS OLD!

    I won’t tell any woman struggling for money in this economy that they cannot make money (and thereby feed their family) any way they need to. But I WILL NOT support any company that goes out of their way to objectify women, and that will not hire women who are not some sort of fantasy ideal. Nor will I bring any child anywhere near such a place.

  9. Sharn July 10, 2008 at 4:12 pm #

    Wait…people actually take their CHILDREN to Hooters? Seriously? Is this a fairly common occurrence?

    I’ve never been there because I’m straight and mostly avoid chain restaurants anyway, but I can’t imagine taking a kid there. That definitely doesn’t strike me as a family-friendly place.

  10. gemdiva July 10, 2008 at 4:14 pm #

    See, I think the crux of the matter is that anyone who would frequent such an establishment in the first place is so blissfully ignorant of its negative impact on society, that they would not think twice about bringing their progeny along for the downhill ride. As I would never be caught dead there myself (even though, I am told, they have really great wings, yeah right) the question of bringing children there is a non-starter.

  11. Alice July 10, 2008 at 4:53 pm #

    I have a daughter who is now an adult, let me just say I have never and would never take her to Hooters. We’ve talked about Hooters (made fun of it) and what it means to be a woman in such a place. A young woman she knows worked at and even managed a Hooters which my daughter found disgusting and exploitive.

    I had a hard time agreeing to let Barbie enter our house when DD was a little girl. We talked about how unrealistic Barbie’s body is when compared to real women. Now DD has graduated from college and weighs more than she did at 18 so is complaining endlessly about how fat she is. I keep reminding her that self hatred will not help her situation, pointing out my negative feelings about my body have certainly not served me well in achieving my ideal body. It is most important to love ourselves as we are and celebrate who we are and not force ourselves or children to compare our bodies to some idealized unrealistic media fantasy.

  12. AmyK July 10, 2008 at 5:24 pm #

    First of all, let me just say how delighted I am to discover I am not alone in having imaginary, well-behaved children. Mine are named Henry and Lucy.

    Secondly, I don’t think Hooters is a responsible place to take children at ALL. (Do they have a kid’s menu? I’d check the website but I’m too embarassed.) The really appalling thing, though, is that these little girls have the sense to express their discomfort (honestly, I might have found Hooters glamorous at that age), and the mother makes them go anyway.

    This has me imagining all sorts of tragic scenarious in which the daughters (who, in my head, resemble Dakota and Elle Fanning) have considerably more sense than their mother. Do they pluck lit cigarettes from her mouth and put them out after she passes out smoking? Do they drive home from Hooters (one steering while the other one operates the pedals, of course) after Mommy has had one too many mammary-themed cocktails?

    Sad, sad, sad….

  13. Smili July 10, 2008 at 5:36 pm #

    The only way I’d take anyone under 18 to a Hooters is if they asked to go in order to make up their own minds about the institution.

  14. Christina July 10, 2008 at 5:39 pm #

    I have never set foot in Hooters and never will.

    #1–They are breasts, not a noise an owl makes.

    #2–if one is going to open a restaurant that caters to ogling women, then fine–do so. But do not then bill it as some kind of “family restaurant”. It isn’t. What a fine family evening! “C’mon kiddies! Let’s go watch Daddy ogle the waitress!” No.

    #3–not only has my daughter never been in a Hooters (and my husband is well aware that such an act would be grounds for homicide), my son will not be in one as long as I have a say. I will teach neither of my children that it is okay to objectify women and reduce their humanity to their mammary glands.

  15. sara a. July 10, 2008 at 5:43 pm #

    I’ve only been to a Hooter’s once in my life and that was because it was the inaugural store in Tampa. The experience was low-key and authentic. Yes, the chain is anti-feminist but fits the time and place it was thought into being. If I had a daughter, would I bring her there? Probably not, especially if she told me she didn’t want to… but then again I wouldn’t bring a son in there either and I tend to look at Hooters as a bar and don’t approve of bringing children to bars.

  16. Janey July 10, 2008 at 5:51 pm #

    If I want to take my son to eat bad food (and sometimes I do!) I take him to Denny’s. If I want to look at boobs (and sometimes I do!) I go to a strip club.

    But one thing I do not do, under any circumstances, is involve my child in my sex life. Adults like to look at people they find sexually attractive- there’s nothing wrong with that. But for the love of God, don’t take your kid to watch you do it!

  17. dcsurfergirl July 10, 2008 at 6:16 pm #

    If you are over 18, it’s your business where you go and what you do. Under 18? It’s your parents’ business.

    Those two girls are showing more intelligence than their mother.

  18. jamy July 10, 2008 at 6:39 pm #

    I’ve only been to Hooters once, with my father–it was the only place convenient to a hotel where we were staying in rural PA. I do believe he was more uncomfortable than I was.

    But, I would never take a child there, male or female, my own (if I had any) or anyone else’s. I won’t go there either.

    Besides, the food is terrible!

  19. g-dog July 10, 2008 at 7:09 pm #

    I won’t go to Hooters anyway – so taking kids there is definitely not on the list. It amazes me that anyone would buy the story that this is a “family” restaurant.

    If my kids were uncomfortable somewhere – I would probably not keep taking them there, at least for awhile, even if I think there is nothing wrong with doing so – it is just being considerate (would you make your best friend go there? give your family that level of consideration, at least sometimes).

    Now, if this story were not burdened by the fact that the kids are uncomfortable – there may be opportunity for body acceptance and esteem building by the extremely caring, self-aware, extraordinary parent (doubtful – but not impossible). I think there is an important message to not judge others just by their looks or just by their jobs, but obviously most of us are not that good at projecting or receiving that message. If their mother is not teaching her kids that they are beautiful/handsome/smart/polite/caring etc humans inside & out – then I hope Plumcake takes every opportunity to tip the balance toward good self-esteem.

  20. B.S.A.G. July 10, 2008 at 8:04 pm #

    Last time I went to Hooters was about 15 years ago. My then-boyfriend wanted to go, and for some reason I remembered the food as being good (what was I thinking?) so I agreed.

    I was wearing a dress I had made myself, one that was particularly flattering (and a bit revealing as well). I was feeling pretty hot and good about myself. I had been to a Mensa meeting earlier that day. The minute I set foot in Hooters, none of that mattered. I was nothing. I was invisible. I realized the folly of my ways in thinking I could ever be looked at and considered “woman,” because I bore little resemblance to those waitresses and never would.

    Places like Hooters, and people who enjoy them, will always exist. There is nothing I can do about that. But it saddens me to know that some people think it’s perfectly okay to subject their impressionable children to them.

  21. Mo July 10, 2008 at 10:22 pm #

    I don’t go to those places and I certainly wouldn’t take children there. Family dining, my rear. Misogynistic objectification is the real definition.

  22. Cat July 10, 2008 at 10:59 pm #

    I have no interest in ever going to Hooters. I’m a vegetarian, for one thing. And I find the objectification of the women who work there revolting, for another. Even if I did ever decide to go, I would not take a child there. No way. I once worked with an attorney who liked to take his staff to Hooters on occasion, and that kind of gave me the creeps.

  23. Kate July 10, 2008 at 11:06 pm #

    You know…I’m a social worker who does therapy with children, and part of my job is to report cases of abuse to child services, including sexual abuse. Sexual abuse can include exposing the child to sexually explicit materials or environment.

    I don’t think that trip to Hooters would quite meet this criteria, but if a parent told me this I would definitely come down pretty hard and tell them this is TOTALLY INAPPROPRIATE and MUST STOP.

  24. AmazonPrincess July 10, 2008 at 11:10 pm #

    I’ve been in a Hooters once. It was during an anime convention and we had a large group of people, and we were all in costume and we had a blast. But as adults just having fun and not-giving-a-darn it’s no problem.

    Wouldn’t want to bring my kids there, if I had kids.

    I’d also be (in parental theory) listing to my kids objections. If you don’t listen to your kids how can you expect them to listen to you? “Because I’m THE MOM.” only goes so far.

  25. GradualDazzle July 11, 2008 at 3:15 am #

    When my oldest daughter was four and had just learned to read, we were driving down one of the busier streets in West Des Moines, Iowa.

    “HOOTERS,” she read as we drove by that establishment. “What kind of place is that?”

    “It is a restaurant,” I replied evenly, not wishing to get into a subject which I didn’t want to try to deal with at that particular time in her life.

    She was quiet for a few blocks, then said:

    “I wouldn’t want to eat an owl, Mom.”

    I heartily agreed, and we never brought it up again.

  26. Sashibala July 11, 2008 at 8:11 am #

    I’ve only been to Hooters one time and that was for the 40th birthday party of a friend of mine, a self-admitted “low country rednecked girl.” And, yes. SHE chose to go there for her birthday. I have to admit, that being a big girl myself, I was not looking forward to going to that restaurant but wanted to be there for the birthday girl.

    I personally was pleasantly surprised. Yes, the girls working there were dressed in their little tight orange shorts and tight white t-shirts but they were as sweet as could be and actually seemed to dote on the women in the group more than the men. I had gotten the chance to talk to one of our waitresses (we had two) and asked her why she chose Hooters over another establishment.

    She said simply, “Money.”

    We actually had a nice discussion regarding the objectification of women and the inappropriateness of some men but she said that was the case at other restaurants where she worked as well. She personally felt Hooters was just more honest about it and paid better for it.

    Will I go back to Hooters? Unlikely but mostly because I did not think the food was all that great. Would I ever take my children (if I had any)? Not willingly because I don’t think any bar-type setting is a good place for young children but I would be honest with them about it and take them if they wanted to go.

  27. Jenny July 11, 2008 at 11:02 am #

    I don’t get why everyone says the wings are good. Wait, yes I do.

  28. Lolo July 11, 2008 at 12:33 pm #

    Well, I would just like to start off by saying that the introductory paragraph to this post was about the funniest thing I have ever read. I think Plumcake may have convinced me to have some moonshining, revenge-exacting progeny of mine own.

    Beyond this though, I remember as a child my father bringing my entire family (sister and mother) to a Hooters a couple times, and I think I turned out relatively OK. There is a children’s menu! I’m not going to say what I think the existence of these restaurants says about our society, but I think that as long as the parent isn’t icky-gross about it, they shouldn’t be demonized for taking their children there. Of course, as soon as the kids express discomfort, it’s a completely different story. To each his own.

  29. JadedKitten July 11, 2008 at 1:23 pm #

    Plumcake, I am female and therefore unsure how this would work, but may I have your children? They sound like they would be useful and interesting wee ragamuffins.

    And, of course, I would never take them to an establishment even marginally like Hooters. I’ve never been to one myself… though a friend of mine has. She went with a group of guys (she went to college at an engineering school, so the male-to-female ratio was extremely high), and was quite uncomfortable. She also was quite sure that their waitress had recently had breast implants and wasn’t used to their size yet as she kept rubbing her brests against my friend’s back every time she came by. Either that or she fancied her and was doing it on purpose. Either way, it was not the most fun experience.

    Though I have to second something Sashibala mentioned in her story; my grandfather was the proverbial horny old guy, and I remember him flirting with waitresses even in the most elegent of establishments. Hooters might attract more of that kind of guy because of its marketing, but men who will flirt with or harrass a waitress at Hooters will most likely do so in other restaurants as well.

  30. Bobbi July 11, 2008 at 2:54 pm #

    As a Mom, I have to say I would drive past a Hooters until the end of my gas tank, and then shovel chips and chocolate from the gas station store as a stand in for supper into my kids before I would step foot in a Hooters with my girls. Before I had my kids I used to think Hooters was no big deal, freedom of chioce blah, blah, blah. To an extent I still think that about the freedom to choose Hooters, but the thought of my babies ever thinking Hooters is a resonable social outing makes me queasy. Don’t get me started on strip clubs, when it comes to my daughters I am a wee bet irrational about valuing them as humans rather than objects.

  31. Jo July 12, 2008 at 12:22 pm #

    I went to the local Hooter’s once, just to see what it was like, and came away with the impression that the slogan ought to be “Hooter’s: It’s really not as bad as you think.” Of course, I live in the Bible Belt, big-time, so that particular restaurant was considerably more low-key than other Hooterses.

    Even taking *that* into account, though, I would never take a child of any age or either sex there. It’s a place for drunken frat boys and roofers, not kids.

    I have a handy two-by-four here. Would you like to use it to slap the momma in the story?

  32. class-factotum July 12, 2008 at 1:16 pm #

    “The only way I’d take anyone under 18 to a Hooters is if they asked to go in order to make up their own minds about the institution.”

    I appreciate the idea of people having all the information before making a decision, but as a parent, you are supposed to make decisions like this for your children. You’re the grownup. You know what’s right and what’s wrong. What if your kid said, “I like it here and want to return?” Then you’re stuck. Better to say, “Nope. That’s a grown-up place that I don’t like. We’re not going.”

    I posted about the Hooters issue a couple of years ago. Basically, my friends have higher aspirations for their daughters than Hooters and think their girls can achieve more than that. The guy at the Atlanta airport whose daughter was a topless dancer apparently did not.

    http://class-factotum.journalspace.com/?entryid=828&h=hooters

  33. Rural Juror July 13, 2008 at 12:49 pm #

    Oh my God. I do not have children and never will, knock on wood, but the thought of a woman going there at all offended me. Bringing kids there raises my dislike of the whole ideas. Bring girls? Even more. And forcing girls who feel uncomfortable makes me want to go all TOWANDA on the fool who did this. Seriously. This story fills me with rage like I cannot even express and I would not have been able to sit there and nod politely. I would have exploded with anger, first.

    Sorry for getting so worked up about this but is this woman TRYING to make her daughters into everything that feminists work so hard to prevent?

  34. Beth Rang July 17, 2008 at 10:02 am #

    I’ve walked by the Hooters at the Mall of America frequently on my way to the movie theater. Parents bringing children there is sadly quite common. Personally, even going there by myself is on my list of things I would never do, and I certainly wouldn’t drag my little boy there. I don’t understand why this mother would drag her daughters there when they’d already expressed their discomfort.

  35. Bree July 17, 2008 at 11:35 am #

    The closest Hooters to me is in Harborplace in Baltimore. There’s also one in Ocean City, and they do have kid nights. I’ve never been in one, because I don’t want to be served food by a woman in a tight white tank top and orange Daisy Dukes.

    I don’t have kids and don’t want any, but if I did, I wouldn’t take them to Hooters. There are enough family-friendly restaurants around for parents and their kids to eat at. If the girls are telling Mom they feel icky when going there, she should respect their desicion and take them to a place they would be more comfortable at. Sometimes I wonder if we should start issuing parenting permits.