You don't have to be a prude to want to avoid a serving of cleavage with your salad.

My town rejected a 'breastaurant' that requires uniforms similar to those worn by 'Hooters' employees.   

I could not be more proud of my hometown. A guy with big money and big promises came to town offering a deal that I believe would have nicked our soul. Approve my liquor license, he said, and I'll bring my "upbeat sports bar" to town and we'll revitalize the area and make your city all kinds of money.

Make no mistake, we could use the business and his fistfull of cash. The storefront property he targeted has been vacant for a long time. We're a college town so there would have been a guaranteed clientele for the place. But the Mayor saw the 2,300  names on the petition to say no to this deal, and she SHE saw beyond the money to the real cost of bringing in a 'breastaurant' to town.  

'We all know what they are selling.'

The big-money guy tried to sell it as an "upbeat sports bar." Just Google their website, The Tilted Kilt, and you tell me what sport those waitresses are supposed to be playing.

I'm no prude but this is neither art nor free speech. It's about young women – the daughters of our city and the daughters of all the folks who send their kids to the university here – selling and serving food, while displaying their boobs and bellybuttons wearing push-up bras and micro-mini kilts designed to look like, well, you know exactly what they're designed to look like.

But our town said not our daughters. Not in our neighborhood.

A Hooters Clone?

The Mayor rejected the application for a liquor license for the "pub and eatery," saying the establishment failed to comply with recognized community standards. Then, I think she got mad because she called the place a Hooters clone whose scantily-clad waitresses demean women and send the wrong message.

'Sexy plaid kilts with matching plaid bras under white camp shirts tantalizingly tied to show off the midriff.'

The local news accounts reported the comments made by many residents opposing the joint.

One woman summed up the sentiment by describing the impact on her preteen daughters:

 "As they look around to determine what makes them (or anyone attractive), they also look for answers to the big questions: Who am I, and what does the world want of me?" she told commissioners. "It is a tender time, and perhaps some of you remember this time when your own daughters were growing up, or when you yourself struggled to figure it all out.

"If you have looked carefully at the Tilted Kilt website, it is almost impossible to miss the fact that this "breastaurant" relies heavily on its marketing of women as fetishized sexual objects, from the language ('The best looking sports pub you've ever seen!' and its own straightforward admission that 'We are well aware that sex appeal sells'), to their own description of the imagery they provide: girls in "sexy plaid kilts with matching plaid bra's under white camp shirts tantalizingly tied to show off the midriff.' They even have a Tilted Kilt girlie calendar for sale, and a "making of" video on their website. We all know what they are selling.

"This restaurant is an affront to everything that my husband and I (and I daresay most parents in this community) seek to teach our girls about what it means to be a woman. How will this establishment not be just one more thing which adds to the morass of unhealthy messages out there that my and every other teenage girl (and boy) will be subject to as they try to determine what is valued in their world?"

'What does this have to do with food?'

I told my daughter about the controversy. We read the news accounts and we looked up the restaurant's website to see what all the fuss was about.

"What does this have to do with food," my daughter wondered, then added, "I like living in a place that doesn't make girls dress like that to do their job."

Me, too. 

About the Author

Pam Cytrynbaum

Pamela Cytrynbaum teaches at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

You are reading

Because I'm the Mom

The Myth of 'Complicated' Grief

It's pretty simple: Stop pathologizing my pain.

How Good Wives Survive Bad Marriages

Your marriage–and so your life–feel over. Now what?

Whose Pain Wins? Did Robin Williams Have a Choice? Says Who?

"I'd love to kill myself. But I'm a Mom. I don't have that option," she wrote.