The tilted hiring process: It’s nothing to hoot about

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Through the years, our nation has overcome an obstacle course of challenges in order to combat sexism. Women have had to prove they are more than homemakers and baby bearers. Now, the modern woman is known for more than her looks – she is no longer an object for men to lust after. American women take great pride in their ability to be strong, independent, confident and beautiful. We have worked hard to get to a place of equality and overcome objectification.

Despite the success fighting off sexism, there have been a few setbacks. As much as we want to endorse the idea of individual beauty and unique body types, there are a few places that do not utilize these ideas. I am specifically referencing establishments like Hooters, Twin Peaks and the Tilted Kilt. These places put much emphasis on sexualizing women and seem to only hire female staff that can fit into their tiny, sexy uniforms. Women at the Tilted Kilt leave nothing to the imagination, as they bare it all in basically a bra and skirt (which seems to be only a few inches in length).

Hooters girls are famous for their super tight orange shorts, which more closely resemble underwear, and midriff bearing tops that accentuate the chest area. Twin Peaks is cleverly named so for women’s own “twin peaks” that sit on their chest. The website boasts “scenic views” of the restaurant’s scantily clad waitresses, who wear nothing more than a plaid bra and miniscule white shorts.

All of these places have a lot in common. Their criteria for female staff members is ridiculous. All girls are expected to keep their bodies in top shape. There is no doubt that the staff is good looking and tanned to perfection, but achieving and maintaining this seductive allure is difficult. Life happens and it isn’t always pretty. Pregnancy, weight gain, unflattering style decisions, accidents, illness and a plethora of other things can cause a woman to lose some of her attractive qualities, thus jeopardizing the jobs of women who rely on their bodies to keep them employed.

It is a well-known fact that employees of these chain restaurants can be fired for crazy reasons. A Baltimore Hooter’s waitress was fired for putting blond highlights in her black hair. She was told that “black women don’t have blonde in their hair, so you need to take it out.” Not only did this restrict her personal freedom, but it is also racist. Millions of women dye their hair – this is common. For a year or two I had the underside of my hair dyed bright red even though it was not a natural color. Hair color and style is a form of personal expression. This poor waitress was just trying something new, and she ended up losing her job over it because she did not fit Hooter’s strict beauty standards. There have also been cases of women getting fired for getting pregnant. Apparently, there is no sex appeal in practically naked pregnant women.

In Palm Springs, California a 20 year old woman applied for a job at the Tilted Kilt. She made it through the application process without a problem. The issue arose when the eatery’s uniform came into play. The skirt was one size too small; therefore, she did not fit the size requirement. She was turned down for the position. In a statement, the Tilted Kilt representatives said they need specific girls who are attractive, outgoing and intelligent. Although this applicant fit criteria, she was not the right size to be attractive enough for the job. The company claims they have standards that need to be met because their waitresses are not only servers, but models and entertainers too.

Obviously, the costumers are not only going to enjoy food, but to enjoy that “scenic view” as well. I can’t imagine subjecting myself to this level of judgment on a daily basis. At Twin Peaks the girls are “graded” constantly on job “essentials” such as hair, nails, makeup and fitness. If anyone scores too low in any of these areas, then they are fired. I imagine this is hard for women who go into work thinking they look great, only to find they are missing the mark. The same applies for applicants; someone may think they are attractive enough for the job only to be told they are too curvy or too flat-chested. It can really tear down self-esteem and make women question their beauty and their worth.

It is awful that these companies are so focused on a woman’s appearance that they may turn down someone who has great skill. I would never let myself be degraded like this. I know I don’t have a perfect figure or glowing tan skin, but I never would want to deal with this kind of uncomfortable work atmosphere.

In order to eliminate the objectification of women, as well as the American woman’s struggle with physical appearance, we need to shut down these eateries that are built off of superficial sexism. This is one of the biggest potholes on the road of female discrimination, and it is time we patch it up.

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