YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

California and the West | MIKE DOWNEY

Readers 'Owling Over Column on Hooters Restaurant

April 14, 1999|MIKE DOWNEY

A lot of response came my way, quickly, after Sunday's column about a Hooters restaurant opening in Santa Monica. It comes on the heels of a public debate last Saturday at the restaurant, questioning Hooters' name (is it sexist?), hiring of food servers (women only) and other work issues (how the women must look).

Much of the response fell along predictable lines--men defending a business' right to call itself anything it likes and to hire anybody it likes; women finding the situation discriminatory and typical of men who "just don't get it."

One woman also brought up something I've been curious about--an advertisement currently appearing all over Southern California, notably at bus stops.

It's by Maidenform, the bra people.

A beautiful woman is pictured in her underwear. The ad line advises: "Inner Beauty Only Goes So Far."

In other words, unless you look good, you'll never be a whole woman?


Below is a sampling of what readers have to say. Letters were edited for length and language.

"We need businesses to think about social responsibility and not just whether they will post a sign for the health department that reads A, B or C on the front window. Then again, maybe that sign on Hooters' front window is for 'cup' size."--Mitchel Moore, Los Angeles

"Well, I don't think you or I could get a job at Chippendale's, either. Nor could most women at a striptease club. Fortunately, there are still a hundred million or so other jobs in the country to choose from."--Greg McKay, Glendale

"I believe Jerry Springer and Hooters share the same clientele."--Jan Bartlett, Winnetka

"It reinforces the icon of women's breasts as emblematic trophies of the conquering male."

--Donna Erikson, Los Angeles

"As a consumer, if you don't like it, go to McDonald's."--George McCullough

"No problem, as long as the servers include glorious young men, in tight white shirts and short shorts."--Joan Harrow, Chatsworth

"If I were to open a French restaurant, I would want my personnel to be bilingual. I certainly would not check out their chests and butts."--Paulette F. Katz, Westwood

"[Concerning] the potential waitress who might not have the physical dimensions to obtain employment at Hooters, I first need to find out by what 'right' a person is entitled to work. I would like to write a daily column for the Los Angeles Times, but I haven't been able to acquire such a position."--Steve Dorsey, Carlsbad

"Maybe I should go visit one of these female endowment appreciation locations before it's too late."--Jim Kerr, Laguna Beach

"Jacksonville, Fla., has three Hooters restaurants in one of the most religious towns in the South. This is a city that wouldn't show 'NYPD Blue' because of language and brief nudity. The restaurant is treated there like any other."--Mark Johnson, Marina del Rey

"I don't know what our Hooters is like, since I've never been in it. I will never be in it or any other Hooters. They're sexist and stupid."

--Carol Young, Phoenix

"Chill out. There are many issues in Santa Monica that cry out for support. This is not even a blip on the justice issue radar."

--Martin Kaplan, Santa Monica

"My son is now 13, and has gone to Hooters with his dad. I've told him I won't go, but I understand boys will be boys. I have also made him aware that women are not toys."

--Patricia Finer, Santa Monica

"Unless I miss my guess, the young women working at Hooters are subjected to endless double entendres, lascivious looks and comments, inappropriate 'pats' and outright propositions as a direct result of their employment. I deal with it by never going there."--Carolyn Ziegler

"The image of some dutiful city wonk demanding that the co-owner of the restaurant explain the name was priceless. What if that official became the grand inquisitor? We'd be protected from the Grand Teton mountains, sticky buns, Oscar Mayer's wieners and the city of Intercourse, Pa."--Tim Bradley

"The women who work there are over 18, and doing so because they want to. I'm sure the tips are better at Hooters than at Denny's."

--Susan S. Deen

"What's wrong with only having females as servers? I just read a few pages over that we're considering sending an 'all-woman' shuttle crew into space."--David Mecey, Los Angeles


Mike Downey's column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Write to him at Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053. E-mail:

Los Angeles Times Articles