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Campbell’s Corner: Hooters’ uniforms prove lack of progress on sexualization of women

The already-controversial restaurant chain Hooters is under fire once again for scandalous new uniforms. Hooters employees took to social media to share their disappointment in the uniforms. Several staffers have complained about how their new shorts are “like underwear.” 

Hooters locations are operated by one of two companies: Hooters of America, LLC, and The Original Hooters group. The latter company has almost identical branding, but operates separately from Hooters of America. Hooters of America operates more than 420 restaurants in 42 states and around the world. The Original Hooters group has more than 25 locations in Chicago, New York and Tampa Bay. 

Locations under the Original Hooters franchises still require servers to wear longer shorts, while locations in Texas under Hooters of America began wearing the new uniform before distributing them to more locations. Therefore, more employees will be wearing these new uniforms than not and forced to face more objectification from male customers. 

These new uniforms not only push the limit as to how far industries will go to reduce their female employees to sexual objects, but it also demonstrates the lack of progress we have made as a society that accepts it. 

The restaurant chain has faced criticism for its sexualization of women for years now for its provocative uniform and strict rules for servers. Servers must always have their hair done and have a full face of makeup on, and nail colors other than French or nude are not allowed. 

Hooters has always presented its servers in the most promiscuous way possible, but the longer shorts and tops at least show some sort of professionalism, some sort of argument that the company can make about how its employees are valued as people. With these new panty uniforms, it’s not even trying to hide its objectification anymore. Hooters is putting it all out there for the world to see. 

Scandalous uniforms is not the worst thing that the company has been accused of. Founded in 1983 in Clearwater, Florida, Hooters has racked up its fair share of lawsuits over the years. The most recent being a weight discrimination lawsuit, after a Michigan employee was told that her body frame no longer meet the company’s standards. She weighed 132 pounds.  

We live in a world where clothing campaigns feature models of all sizes and celebrities are praised on social media when they show unfiltered photos. People of society have fully accepted the idea of body positivity. So for Hooters to keep this standard of a “perfect, sexy woman” is just reversing the progress society has made. 

You may be asking yourself, “why do women put up with this?” or “why don’t they quit and get another job?” While I can’t speak for these women firsthand, we’ve all been in a situation where we hate a job, but need the money. Maybe these women love the people they’re working with and are scared of leaving them behind, or maybe they don’t have many other options where they live. No matter what the reason is, it is not enough justification for these women to be subjected to this treatment. 

These uniforms are definitely a big enough issue to make a splash on social media, but many do not understand the precedent that it can make for young women. Hooters is a huge company, and if enough people see these employees get paid because of their sexualization, it can send the wrong message to young women and ultimately reverse the progress society has made thus far regarding this problem. 

If Hooters wants to be on the right side of the future, it should allow women to choose between their old and new uniforms, and be more open-minded on their idea of beauty standards. If not, it better get ready for more lawsuits to come. 

Hannah Campbell is a sophomore studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnist do not reflect those of The Post. Do you agree? Tell Hannah by tweeting her at @hannahcmpbell.

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