Little Miss Hooters Contest

You may have heard about this already; a Hooters in Florida was planning to host a “Little Miss Hooters” contest. (Sounds to me like the management there had drunk too much of the “Hooters is a family restaurant” kool-aid).

The contest is for girls 5 and under, and will require they be dressed in little orange spandex shorts, and a tied up Hooters t-shirt.

Instapundit linked to it, there was a storm of angry e-mail, and the contest was cancelled. Sara at Diotima then asked an interesting question:

…if you’re going to respect working at Hooters as just another career choice and if sex is always okay as long as it’s consensual, you going to have problems explaining why a “Little Miss Hooters” contest is such a big deal.

Will Baude answered (and here I’m paraphrasing) that the problem with “Little Miss Hooters” is that it isn’t consensual (if I were Mary Daly, I’d probably write that as “con/sensual”), since a sub-five-year old girl isn’t old enough to consent to be a quasi-stripper. But Sara responded that “there is a legitimate source of consent in this situation – the girls’ parents…. Parents give consent for their children all the time, why shouldn’t they be allowed to give consent for their daughters to be in a Little Miss Hooters contest?”

(If you’d like to read the full Sara/Will debate, you can do so by following the links found here and here).

It’s ironic that I link to Sara’s post, because I’m the opposite of the people she sets her question to: I can explain why working at Hooters is not just another job choice. But I can’t quite articulate why the “Little Miss Hooters” contest is such a big deal.

* * *

First, why I think it’s degrading to work at Hooters.

At a wedding rehearsal I attended last week, a bridesmaid wore a dress that left nothing but her nipples to the imagination. I didn’t, and don’t, consider that degrading. If it makes her happy to wear a dress like that (and as far as I could tell, it did), it’s not my place to scold her for it.

So I don’t think it’s intrinsically wrong to wear revealing clothing, “flaunt your sexuality,” or whatever. But I still think there’s something wrong with Hooters.

Here’s the thing; a Hooters waitress isn’t dressed like that because it makes her happy. Shes’ dressed like that because there’s money to be made providing men with young women wearing revealing clothing and flirting with customers. And if she’s having a bad day, or just isn’t in the mood to flirt or wear revealing clothing or be looked at by strange men, and if it’s not fun for her? Well, then, she better pull on the baby tee and pretend to be having fun, because that’s her job.

That, in my opinion, is degrading.

Of course, you may respond, if having to fake emotion for money is degrading, then many jobs in capitalism could be called degrading. “Yeah, so?,” I might respond. (It’s not like I ever claimed to love capitalism.) Also, there are very few things as pesonal as sexuality, and how one chooses to express sexuality; and considered in that light, working at Hooters is worse than working at McDonalds.

(I also agree with the usual feminist critique of Hooters, but I assume that “Alas” readers are familiar enough with it so they don’t need me restating it.)

So that’s why I think there’s something wrong with working at Hooters, even though I understand that women working at Hooters may not have better alternatives (which brings up questions of job discrimination against women, but that’s another post).

* * *

But what about “Little Miss Hooters”?

Of course, I find it disgusting. But that’s an emotional reaction, and, although emotions can be a helpful moral guide, we have to be cautious. After all, it’s emotinalism about children’s sexuality which has led to parents being arrested for taking innocent photos of their nude children.

There’s the argument that a “Little Miss Hooters” contest will encourage pedophelia, but I don’t buy it. Normal adults don’t see anything sexual about a four-year-old in a tied-up t-shirt; and whatever creates pedophiles, I don’t think it’s contests like this one.

Nor do I think that the contest organizers were intending a pro-pedophilia statement. They were just playing with the fact that small children dressed as adult costumes are adorable (think of a little girl dressed as Mae West – or as a fireman, for that matter – to see what I mean). To me, it suggests they’ve gotten so used to “Hooters” that they’ve lost track of how the rest of the country sees their business (hence my comment above that they’ve drunk too much “Hooters is a family restaurant” lemonade).

I think it’s horrible to teach little girls that they should be valued according to their ability to be more conventionally pretty than other girls. But that’s an objection I have to all child pageants (and to many other things in our culture), not to “Little Miss Hooters” in particular. (It’s notable that the widespread disgust for “Little Miss Hooters” in the blogosphere isn’t matched by a similar disgust for all the other “Little Miss” contests out there).

There is, also, the matter of consent – but in general, I think parents ought to be free to “consent” to things for their children (stopping short of actual abuse or abandonment).

So why condemn “Little Miss Hooters” in particular? So far, I don’t have any better answer than “it squicks me.” And, clearly, it squicks a lot of other people, too.

But I’m not sure that’s a good reason to make “Little Miss Hooters” a big deal. In fact, there’s a danger in over-reacting to stuff like this. From a Salon article:

We seem so obsessed by the need to distinguish sharply between kids and eroticism that we inevitably stir them together; meaning to put them in separate rooms, we provide secret passageways so they can visit. We say so often and loudly that there’s nothing erotic about kids that we cement the association.[...]

The price we allow our children to pay for our scapegoating cowardice is enormous. Our kids, caught in the middle of all this, don’t mind our snapping lenses, but they do mind the ghastly world we picture for them. It is a world filled with dangers around every curve, with safety only in non-pedophilic adults and our friends, the police. We ought to examine more searchingly if we are really doing all this for their good, if we really need to see the world this way, if we aren’t the ones afraid of the demons.

Anyhow, that’s where I stand: disgusted (or perhaps just squicked?) by the whole idea of “Little Miss Hooters,” but not able to articulate any reason to find it grosser than any other child pageant. Reader suggestions are welcome.

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78 Responses to Little Miss Hooters Contest

  1. 1
    roxanne says:

    No, I think you’ve pretty much nailed it on the head.

    And, for me, it’s “heebee jeebeez”

  2. 2
    Rachel Ann says:

    One could say that a woman who works in Hooters has chosen this particular mode of behaviour as, on the whole pleasing to her, even if she is having an off day.

    No child is really choosing these clothes. Most chidlren of 5 and under would be quite happy in nothing but their underwear, if that. My five year olds were more concerned with comfort than style, or rather, their style is whatever is personally pleaseing; like a red and blue striped shirt paired with a pink floral on black skirt— (okay, the dhirt my daughter chose did have a flower patch on it.)

    It isn’t as much the amount of skin that is covered, nor is it that most adults do not find children sexy. It is that parents would choose to dress their children in clothes that are associated with sexuality.

    The naked baby pictures are cute because a)they are innocent b)you can use them to threaten your adolescent/teenager (No, I never really did or would)

    The point is this is something that would be DONE TO the child, not for the child’s sake (as for example a music recital), or their enjoyment– as may be the case of a school play, but for the gratification of the adults.

    They aren’t toys, they aren’t dolls, and they aren’t women in short form.

  3. 3
    Amanda says:

    It’s because we’re dressing them in clothes that say “Hooters” when they don’t even have hooters yet.

  4. 4
    lucia says:

    There is obviously a danger in people and companies encouraging children to parade around in what is perceived by adults as a sexual manner. It encourages some sick adults or borderline sick adults to believe kids are, in fact, sexually developed, and ready to consent sexually.

    Scrolling through Amps recent posts, it is clear that girls as young as 12 are raped by UN troops, forced into prostitution and other wise molested. Contests involving 5 year olds certainly don’t help correct the idea that 12 year olds are also still children, and should be protected from sexual exploitation.

    The Little Miss Hooters contest is unsavory to say the least.

  5. 5
    jam says:

    Rachel Ann, i think you’re right… beauty pageants for kids aren’t for kids at all. it’s adults using children for entertainment. it may not be kiddie porn, but the principle is the same: exploitation.

    i think what may be the crossing of the line between your “average” child pageant & the Little Miss Hooters is the focus on emulating what is an overtly sexualized fashion. other pageants are freaky for their weird fixations on frilly skirts, ribbons & bows, etc. but the Hooters uniform serves only one function: to emphasize breasts, butts & legs. it’s meant to be sexy, arousing, erotic. ergo, parents entering their child in a Little Miss Hooters contest are basically saying “don’t you find my child sexy?” not cute, not adorable, not pretty… sexy. they may not have been intending a pro-pedophilia statement, but it’s still the result. it’s akin to having a bikini contest or wet t-shirt contest for 5 year olds.

    squick… heebee jeebeez… for me, it’s “jibblies”

  6. 6
    Sheelzebub says:

    I was going to post, but Amanda said it. What about wet T-shirt contests for kids, a Little Mr. Gangsta contest, a Pimp and Ho party for preschoolers. . .

    We’re foisting this on kids and they don’t really *get* what it means. That alone is pretty nasty.

    If Hooters wanted to have a talent show featuring g-rated singing, dancing, magic tricks, etc. with kids, wonderful. But little Miss Hooters?

    That’s just gross. (And I think beauty pagents for kids are pretty gross too. Not to mention cheesy.)

  7. 7
    Richard Bellamy says:

    I don’t know. There is a Hooters near where I work that opened recently, and there was much press about it because it was very close to an Ivy League University and what did that say about the “neighborhood”.

    They interviewed the waitresses, and most of them were women from local colleges (although not from the Ivy League college) who saw the tips would make there as much better than the tips they were making at the TGIFridays or Chilis or other restaurants that they were working at before the Hooters opened.

    I fully recognize that many sex workers take those jobs because they don’t have any alternative. That is horrible and should be stopped. But what Hooters waitress cannot get a job at Bennigans or Applebys just as easily? Sure, you make more money at Hooters because men and paying extra to ogle your “Hooters,” but above a minimum threshhold level (that I am sure nearly all Hooters waitresses have obtained), the decision is simply one of choice and priorities.

    It is simply a fact that many many waitresses live their lives off of the earnings they make at non-sex-oriented restaurants. A waitress goes to Hooters not to keep herself from starvation and homelessness, but to improve her “lifestyle” over what she could earn at another restaurant.

    To the extent that is “exploitation,” it is freely chosen by the women over a less lucrative, but still viable, alternative.

    I do not see why I should object.

    I am still mulling Little Miss Hooters . . .

  8. 8
    leen says:

    I don’t think I like the idea that in general (short of abuse), parents should be able to consent for their kids. What children lack isn’t intelligence, it’s experience. While, yeah, sometimes a kid will be like “eew, no flu shot” and you gotta be like, “yes, flu shot”, it seems creepy (creepy like little miss pageants!!) that consent from parents generally means that a kid *has to* do whatever it is the parent consents to. Not many pageant organizers, or swim teachers, or whatever, will let a kid sit on the sidelines once the parent has consented (and paid), even if that’s what the kid really really wants.

    I speak from experience! And I still have never learned to swim…

  9. 9
    dana says:

    i really don’t buy the argument that it’s true consent if the parents are consenting for their children. it’s this same argument used to make male circumcision as a newborn seem OK. as someone who’s had a child and is expecting another later this year, i feel my responsibility insofar as consent is concerned is to be available to consent to my child’s education (including religious) and any necessary medical or surgical procedures s/he might need, but not to consent to issues that have to do with my child’s personal space otherwise. i might decide what s/he’s going to wear until s/he’s old enough to decide (and buy hir clothes until s/he’s old enough to work), but i’m not going to put hir into any situation where s/he’s going to be exposed to the public in a way s/he might not have consented to were s/he older and more understanding of what was going on.

    as such, i don’t like ANY child pageants. it’s one thing to, say, send in a photo for a gerber baby contest or something–it’s just a photo, nobody’s asking your kid to dress provocatively. it’s another to put your child up on a stage in makeup and grownup clothes. and don’t we have better things to be teaching our kids?

  10. 10
    parodie says:

    I agree that parental consent seems (intuitively) less “real” than actual consent given by the person undergoing (whatever they’re consenting to).

    I also want to point out that adults often sexualize children. Look at most dance classes (for example, ballet-jazz): sway your hips! Bat your eyelashes! Stick out your chest and shake it!

    Ew.

    I was creeped out by these things as a kid. I remember being in a ballet-jazz class briefly, and I understood that we were supposed to look “sexy”, but I was 8 and had zero interest in being “sexy” as well as some intuitive understanding that I wasn’t actually supposed to be sexy – that’s not what a good little girl would do, right?
    Talk about screwed-up cultural messages. I don’t think either message is the way to go, although I can’t express an alternative, and I think that bombarding kids with these confusing messages is just, well, cruel.

  11. 11
    Roni says:

    Matt & Trey should ask for royalities since it sounds like a rip-off of “Raisins.” Sick.

  12. 12
    kStyle says:

    Roni, you beat me to it!!

  13. 13
    Aaron V. says:

    Must…resist…urge….to….make….Neil Goldschmidt….jokes….

  14. 14
    Becky says:

    I’ve always been creeped out by Hooters, partially for the same reasons above, but also because it doesn’t make sense. If you want to see boobies, why not just go to a strip club?

    But, like my friend said, Mmmmm, that’s the great taste of repression. It’s more fun and easy for a lot of people to giggle about boobies and dress them up in a little outfit and sort of pretend that the whole thing isn’t happening than to shell out a few twenties and see the darn things for real and be honest about what you want and transact/relate to the boobie provider.

    It’s sort of like in the sexxy teen comedies of the 80s (Porky’s, et al.) – rarely does a female character remove her clothes on purpose, consentually for the pleasure and at the wish of the male character/viewer. Usually it’s them getting peeped at as they undress or shower, or comically unclothed in some sort of accident. That way, you and the male character get to see boobies, but you don’t have to relate with the naked lady at all or be honest about wanting to see a naked lady. It’s just sort of … happening. And it’s funny! Funny sexy! Ha! Boobies! It shows a really creepy ambivalence about sexuality in general and the female body in particular. Anyway, that’s what always reminds me of Hooters.

  15. 15
    Jake Squid says:

    I’ve never understood Hooters. Are the costumes sexy? I’ve always thought that they were ridiculous and unattractive. But I’m clearly wrong.

    I don’t find Little Miss Hooters to be any worse than a billion other child pageants. Child beauty pageants are grotesque. And are there any for little boys? If so, where do they place on the child pageant popularity meter? Child beauty pageants are, IMO, solely for indoctrinating little girls into the role America expects them to play as adults – if they are to be successful & accepted. Blech.

  16. 16
    Morphienne says:

    Hm… see, and I understand that working at Hooters is the choice of the individual woman, and that she signs a contract stating just that, and that she might just be working there for the extra money to improve her lifestyle and not to survive (although that’s very arguable, as is the ability of a waiter to survive on a waiter’s salary), and yet, Hooters still makes me uncomfortable for a few reasons, like the following:

    *Hooters is bigoted in their hiring practices. We only have one Hooters in our pretty how town, but I’ve in all the glimpses I’ve had through its doors, I’ve never once seen a black waiter. Or a pale one. Or a pudgy one. Or a male one. I remember the huge stink over the court case wherein two males sued Hooters for discrimination in hiring, and I believe the court in that case ruled that, yes, discrimination in hiring that falls within the federall protected categories (sex, religion, race, ethnicity, family status) is still illegal.

    Of course that’s kind of silly, given that working at Hooters is a kind of sex work, and so of course there would be discrimination based on sex.

    Of course. And that’s the other thing that bothers me.

    I don’t have a problem with objectifying people. It happens every time I ask for help from a person working at Walgreens: at that moment, they’re not a person, they’re a store employee. I don’t have a problem with sexually objectifying people, either, and if that’s what you want to do for a living– pose so other people can get off on your image– well, then, go on with your bad self.

    But Hooters doesn’t exist in a vacuum. If it did, then I would probably be okay with it, although orange is so not a pleasant color to see plastered on someone’s ass. Hooters exists in a culture alongside *Playboy,* and *Maxim,* and Victoria’s Secret, and reality shows about women having plastic surgery to look “better” than the other women having plastic surgery to look “better,” and rape, and men grabbing or even molesting women in a crowded public forum like the subway, and *marie claire,* and *Cosmopolitan,* and the thousands and thousands and thousands of products advertised to women so that they will LOOK BETTER or at least look more like the very narrow standard of beauty that has been equated with female worth and success, and the article I recently read in a *Maxim* knockoff that my boyfriend’s brother subscribes to that, no joke, gave instructions on how to kiss a girl so that she couldn’t get around your mouth long enough to say, “maybe we shouldn’t be doing this.”

    Hooters exists in a culture where words like “cocksucker,” “pussy,” and “bitch,” are routinely used to describe women people don’t like, as though their personality can be completely summed up by their genitals or their gender and as though sex acts women do necessarily give up power to the men with whom they do them. Hooters exists in a society where “fugly” IS a word at all, and where I’ve heard men describe women by a scale of 1 to 10, as though “10″ or “2″ are their names.

    Hooters, in short, exists in a space wherein ALL women are ROUTINELY treated as consumable objects (who have either succeeded in being saleable or have failed and thus are non-entities) and men are treated as people or consumers of those objects, and where there is no correlating sexual objectification of men.

    Therefore, although the existence of Hooters isn’t disgusting to me per se, I see it as one of the thousands, millions, of stimuli that perpetuate a loss in the quality of life and the civil and often even human rights of both men and women. One example of this result is of course the behavior of the Hooters consumers toward the Hooters employees that was observed and the apparent indifference of the management of Hooters toward that behavior. In theory, prostitutes can turn down a john. Hooters employees don’t seem to have that option.

    And the implication or outright objection I hear sometimes, that women like being objectified or that that’s natural to them because, look, there are so many women out there acting as sex objects for pay! doesn’t fly with me. Firstly, women do not share a primordial hivemind, and it is assuming a lack of humanity about women to think that their opinions can be predicted by their gender. I may disapprove strongly of another woman’s choices in life.

    And secondly, there are a lot of people who sign up for the American armed forces, another pervasive image in this culture. That doesn’t necessarily make everything the armed forces do, or every result that comes from their being involved in a situation, OKAY. A lot of people work as models for cigarette companies, and quite possibly have no regrets whatever about their jobs. That doesn’t necessarily make cigarette smoking harmless. The fact that some people in a group act in a questionable manner doesn’t mean that everyone in that group is likely to act in the same manner or want the results of their groupmates heaped upon them.

  17. 17
    Hamilton Lovecraft says:

    amp, thanks for taking the time and effort to rationally examine your reactions. It’s a great illustration of how to take the “knee-jerk” out of “knee-jerk liberal” :)

    I sat there re-thinking it all and the only conclusion I can come to is that it’s squicky enough to boycott Hooters over (if, somehow, Hooters isn’t enough reason by itself) and squicky enough to draw negative attention to, but it juuust misses the squick threshold needed in order for me to feel like we should pass a law (or adapt an existing one) to stop it outright.

  18. 18
    Sheelzebub says:

    Yeah! What Morphienne said!!!

  19. 19
    Amanda says:

    Jake, I think Hooters uniforms are sexy only to the most unimaginative of men.
    My friends and I got upset when they moved a Hooters into our neighborhood–who wants to drive by that tacky orange restaraunt full of leering middle-aged men and their wives who are pissed off but trying to play it off?

  20. 20
    Chris Tessone says:

    I wonder how many of the folks who are so outraged about this have been to a Hooters more than once (if at all), gotten to know the people who work there, or learned anything about the company itself. The company gives better benefits than almost any comparable job, and they treat their employees pretty well. I understand the concern about having to be cheerful/in costume when that may not reflect an employee’s own mood at that moment, but that’s not just inherent to capitalism, that’s part of life. We all end up playing roles that may not reflect our own moods; it’s part of living in society. The fact that in this case the required cheery face and uniform are for monetary gain may be the issue, and I recognize that is problematic, but it doesn’t make Hooters an unadulterated evil.

    As for what Morphienne said, I wonder how accurate her picture of the restaurant was when she didn’t even go inside. I can’t speak for other Hooters franchises, but the one in Davenport, IA, has a pretty (outwardly) diverse group of employees, varying in hair and skin color, shape and size, and yes, even gender. Perhaps your view of the establishment is skewed by your not having frequented it? Or perhaps that store is just unrepresentative. One data point is an anecdote, after all, and doesn’t reflect the overall practices of an entire corporation.

    As for the contest, I find it distasteful. I don’t find it as distasteful as the parents who put their kids in every beauty pageant that pops up, or the ones who run websites of their children “modeling”. It was an ill-advised idea, not an evil one.

  21. 21
    Echidne says:

    I think there is an externality effect in working for Hooters and similar types of jobs, meaning that the transaction between a worker and an employer doesn’t only affect them but also other people, and these other people have no say in the transaction. This is because what Hooters is using to sell its product is the idea of women’s breasts. This is a generic thing, and though it’s correct to say that any one woman may decide to work in a job like that, it’s also correct to state that the customers who go to Hooters to look at breasts are not especially interested in the special individual’s breasts or their abilities, but the generic female mammary glands.

    The externality that I think exists is in the fact that some of this customers cannot discriminate between those women who choose to use their breasts this way, and all the other women in the world, and may start behaving in the same ogling manner elsewhere, and may even start demanding women to reveal their breasts more. I’ve heard anecdotal evidence of this.

    This is probably not a major cause of women’s objectification in this society, but it does contribute to that in a small way. Which means that I wouldn’t go to Hooters, because they are not aiming to please me. Rather, they use people who are like me to please people who are not like me. This wouldn’t be that bad if there were other places where the roles are reversed, but these are far and few inbetween.

  22. 22
    emjaybee says:

    Yes, I think what bothers me about Hooters is exactly the disingenuousness that led to the creation of Little Miss Hooters. The repeated laughable insistence by the parent corporation that the name “Hooters” has *anything* to do with an owl as opposed to women’s breasts. For one, the women don’t dress up in owl costumes. For another, I’m pretty sure an equivalent “Cocky’s” with men in tight pants would be objectionable to a lot of Hooters customers.

    Yes the women choose to work there. But that doesn’t mean the communities into which a Hooters wants to move have to accept the corporation’s assertion that it is not sex work. It is. It is one step removed (I won’t say up) from a topless joint. And Hooters shouldn’t be able to hide behind a paper thin marketing conceit to allow it to be classified otherwise. Communities have laws deciding how and where they will allow sex-based businesses, and Hooters should be subject to them, instead of being lumped in with Bennigan’s or Chili’s.

  23. 23
    Elayne Riggs says:

    I’m not so sure mounds of analysis are even required all the time to know when something is Just Wrong.

  24. 24
    Patrick O says:

    Other than the knee-jerk anti-sex attitude of what I would consider the extreme wing of feminism, I for a long time could not understand
    the anti sex attitudes of many people on the
    “left” ( which I consider as pro-human rights).

    For the record, I see no real objection to
    Little Miss Hooters, or Hooters, or strip shows,
    or sex workers, or pornography…….

    Basically I would like to see a world where
    people were as free and open about sexuality
    as any other part of life.

    While liberals are somewhat less infected with
    the anti-sex attitudes of our culture than
    conservatives, I have noticed something else
    in play which makes them react just as badly -
    Defensiveness.

    The believe they need to react rabidly to anything
    with the slightest hint of “kiddie porn” or
    pedophilia in an effort to Cover Your Ass.

    Wouldn’t want to be accused of being a liberal
    chld molester by the right, after all ;)

    For a long time I was a member of the S/m
    Leather community where we would have nice long
    discussions on the best ways to torture someones
    private parts while simultaneously bringing them to orgasm.

    As you might imagine, the subject of “consent” is
    a HUGE topic in such cirles, with many experts
    and tracts written and many denunciations of
    the “vanilla” majority for persecuting their
    “lifestyle”.

    In such circles if you were to see just the
    mention of the “Little Miss Hooters” contest,
    you would see such an outbreak of flames it
    would put the Christian Coalition to shame.

    The only reason that I can see for this is
    CYA – they need to prove that they are
    “anti-pedophilia” ( even if none is involved)
    in order to hold up their claim to legitimacy
    as a moral “alternative lifestyle”.

    You probably see this most often from gays -
    a natural consequence of accusations from the
    right that all gays are pedophiles.

    Does everyone realize that if Amp were to draw
    a cartoon of a slightly sexual Little Miss Hooters,
    with maybe a tiny hint of Janet Jackson wardrobe malfuntion,
    that would be a Federal crime with a mandatory
    15 year sentence ?

    Does that sound rational to ANYONE ?

    Or is it more of a sign that the left is in
    pure defense mode against the right as far
    as sex is concerned, and everyone has decided
    that the best way to cover their asses is to
    throw the pedophiles to the wolves ?

  25. 25
    lucia says:

    Patrick,
    I think most people, liberal and conservative are appalled by pedophilia. I sincerely doubt they are just pretending to “cover their ass”. I know I am not.

    In my opinioin, adults should be given wide latitude in deciding what they wish to do sexually with other consenting adults. I may find what they do distasteful, but I find cauliflower distasteful. That is no reason to ban something.

    At the same time, I find pedophila appaling, harmful and I believe it should be a crime.

    I’m not entirely sure why you are jumping to the conclusion that I must by hypocritical to think something adults are free to do is not something kids should do. There are tons of things I don’t think kids should do that adults may do. Drive, vote, drink and purchase liquor, enter contracts etc. We often limit children’s behavior for the child’s protection. (We sometimes limit it for adults protection. I suspect a drunken 6 year old behind the wheel of a care could do a lot of damage both to themselves and to others.)

  26. 26
    Patrick O says:

    “There are tons of things I don’t think kids should do that adults may do. Drive, vote, drink and purchase liquor, enter contracts etc. We often limit children’s behavior for the child’s protection. (We sometimes limit it for adults protection. I suspect a drunken 6 year old behind the wheel of a care could do a lot of damage both to themselves and to others.)”

    Sure – but that isn’t what we are talking about I
    hope.

    Little Miss hooters is “play adult” like cowboys
    and indians or Mr. Junior Firefighter.

    Really, the only reason to disaprove would be if
    one disapproved of real grownup Hooters girls,
    which I don’t.

  27. 27
    Nick Kiddle says:

    It’s possible to be genuinely appalled by both paedophilia and the irrational witch-hunts for anything that could be mistaken for paedophilia in a bad light. As long as we think that dressing children up in adult clothes (icky though it undeniably is) or taking bathtime snaps of a two-year-old compares in any way to child molestation, we make it impossible to meaningfully deal with the problem of paedophilia.

  28. 28
    Patrick O says:

    “It’s possible to be genuinely appalled by both paedophilia and the irrational witch-hunts for anything that could be mistaken for paedophilia in a bad light.”

    Thank you – I think you said it much better than
    my rant :))

  29. 29
    Samantha says:

    “As long as we think that dressing children up in adult clothes (icky though it undeniably is) or taking bathtime snaps of a two-year-old compares in any way to child molestation, we make it impossible to meaningfully deal with the problem of paedophilia.”

    Actually, I’d say it’s just the opposite: thinking it’s possible to dress little girls up in an overtly sexualized manner without contributing to the general hypersexualizing of little girls makes it impossible to deal with men who make the decision to rape little girls. America is the #1 producer of child porn on Earth, and millions of visual depictions of small children enjoying being used to make porn millions of men will pay to watch contributes to a society where more little girls are raped.

    The way you’re saying it makes it sound as if child rape wouldn’t be the enormous problem it is if only feminists would shut up about how dressing children up as sexy women contributes to the hypersexualization of little girls. In a country where an estimated 40% of women report being sexually abused as children, to say it is the critique of such things as Little Miss Hooters by feminists which contributes to child rape is far from the target when discussing why millions of men desire and act upon their desires to rape millions of children.

    Don’t shoot the messenger.

    Last week it came out that a respected public figure raped his 14 year old babysitter many years ago. Thne cover of the Willamette Week weekly newspaper calls Goldschmidt “having sex with” the 14 year old, “incomprehensible.” In the back of the same issue is an advertisement which promises to provide “Real Teens! Real Sex!”, meaning it should not be ‘incomprehensible’ to the editors that many adult men rape desire to stick their dicks inside girl child’s bodies.

    A poem I wrote:

    The Devil Makes Them Do It

    They say it ain’t the tv poisoning men’s minds
    forcing women to look behind
    say it ain’t Limb Bizkit, 50 Cent or Eminem
    could someone tell me why it is then
    rapes are up while other crimes are down
    but it’s ain’t our boys, just the Devil come to town
    yeah, must be that Satan throwing his weight around

    Cause it ain’t porn showing women like to be cut
    spit on, slapped, strangled then fucked
    ain’t Hugh Hefner, ain’t Larry Flynt
    to blame for women’s severe mistreatment
    it’s natural, biological, it’s all over the world
    it’s normal for men to prey on young girls

    Cause it ain’t Howard Stern, Dr. Laura, radio
    telling boys she means yes when she’s crying no
    ain’t Clarence Thomas’ fault, ain’t Rush Limbaugh’s
    that the Equal Rights Amendment never became law
    guess there aren’t enough people who support equality
    but it’s the Devil’s fault, not ours, the people all agree

    Ain’t the Willamette Week or the Mercury
    selling women in their ads just like negroes used to be
    it’s the true mark of freedom, the American Dream
    that the average US whore turns her first trick at 13
    pointing fingers at Goldschmidt, bad childraping man
    all the while three fingers pointing right back at them

    I really don’t believe that every four minutes
    moms applaud the rapes their sons are committing
    so it surely ain’t parents teaching them this behavior
    yet they learn somewhere that if you want her, take her
    but it ain’t gangsta rappers who have replaced ‘woman’ with
    ho, dyke, cunt, slut, cocksucking bitch

    So if it ain’t parents, the media, or tv
    help me comprehend what the source may be
    and while you’re at it can you help me understand
    the childfucking fantasies of my fellow man
    look’s like the Devil’s getting restless these days
    no, it ain’t us, it’s Lucifer at play
    surely only Satan could treat people this way

  30. 30
    Patrick O says:

    “In a country where an estimated 40% of women report being sexually abused as children, to say it is the critique of such things as Little Miss Hooters by feminists which contributes to child rape is far from the target when discussing why millions of men desire and act upon their desires to rape millions of children.”

    The first thing that you learn need to learn is
    that correlation is not causation.

    It is one of our most frequent errors in thinking.

  31. 31
    Jasper Lily says:

    What Elayne and Samantha said. Good grief. Honestly, does it take pages of analysis and debate and fricking nit-picking to say it is wrong to dress small girls up like adult sex objects? And parental consent? Well, a parent cannot consent for their child to have sex with an adult. If that were the case, molestation would be legal so long as it was in the family. So by extension, why should a parent be able to “consent” to any form of sexual activity FOR the child, including being used as a sex object?

    I mean really, the denseness and woman-hating of some so-called “liberals” is astounding to me. Liberalism is sounding more and more like libertarianism to me, me being a whacko “anti-sex” feminist because I think it’s wrong to put 4 year old girls in hot pants.

  32. 32
    Denny says:

    It’s shallow, foolish and degrading. So why do women work there and why do parents let their little girls participate? I usually chaulk stuff like this up to a phenomenon known as the LCD…the Lowest Common Denominator…or the boobocracy, as it was known in the mid 20th century, the great unwashed mindless masses, the consumers…you get the idea. Not big on critical thinking. The LCD is a very large number and getting larger. So this kind of stuff is what we get, and whole lot more disgusting stuff.

  33. 33
    Sheelzebub says:

    “Other than the knee-jerk anti-sex attitude of what I would consider the extreme wing of feminism, I for a long time could not understand
    the anti sex attitudes of many people on the
    “left” ( which I consider as pro-human rights).”

    I’m getting really sick of the accusation that feminists are anti-sex (next up: anyone who questions the status quo is part of a pooliiiiice state!!!). Just because someone looks at the sex industry differently from you doesn’t make them frigid.

    “For the record, I see no real objection to
    Little Miss Hooters, or Hooters, or strip shows,
    or sex workers, or pornography…….”

    I’ve got no objection to sex workers or pornography (except for the fact that it’s women doing the performing and serving and men doing the consuming, but I guess that makes me anti sex to balk at such a confining, archaic, and unimaginite take on sex–but I haven’t made a move to censor it, nor have many feminists who question the status quo). I do have a problem with dressing kids up in sexual outfits and entering them in a contest with a dumb slang word for breasts. The kid has no idea what any of it really means and it’s exploitive.

    “Basically I would like to see a world where
    people were as free and open about sexuality
    as any other part of life.”

    So would I–and for me this means tearing down the silly double-standards that women who are sexual are sluts, and the stupid and rather overdone idea that women can be sexual to please men, women can be sexual as objects in porn, but it will be a cold day in hell before they ever be able to be as sexual as men in the way that men are. No power for us, no men serving our needs. That doesn’t make me or other feminists who point out this double-standard anti-sexual.

    What you and other consenting adults do is your own business. And if you bothered to check, you’d see that many those so-called “anti-sex” feminists defend the right of people to participate in BDSM and “have nice long
    discussions on the best ways to torture someones [sic]
    private parts while simultaneously bringing them to orgasm.” The difference is that it is done with consenting adults.

  34. 34
    Patrick O says:

    “I’m getting really sick of the accusation that feminists are anti-sex (next up: anyone who questions the status quo is part of a pooliiiiice state!!!).”

    Then I wasn’t speaking about you – to be fair, I
    was careful to put “extreme” into my statement.

    “I do have a problem with dressing kids up in sexual outfits and entering them in a contest with a dumb slang word for breasts. The kid has no idea what any of it really means and it’s exploitive. ”

    Have you ever watched any of the Spanish TV channels ? :))

    This is just cultural – kids never “have any idea”
    and everything that their parents have them do
    is “exploitive” if someone disapproves of what
    the parents want.

    Pagan cultures, native american cultures, everywhere you look there would be child “play”
    and often religious ceremonies where children
    (not knowing what they were doing and being exploited by their parents) would act out adult
    roles – often with strong sexual overtones.
    (temple priestess, eetc..)

    There was nothing sexual about this – just as
    the Little Miss Hooters contest is not sexual.
    The cause of my rant was the hysteria that causes
    many – any you see it here – to equate anything
    with children involved as sexual exploitation and
    child abuse )

    The second, more valid to my eyes, objection would be if one disapproved of the process of
    sociallizing a girl to the role of Hooters employee. This is reasonable if you disapprove
    of this kind of work.

    Personally, the most exploitive and degrading occupation that I can imagine is being a
    US Army recruit, and I don’t think that it is
    a good idea to encourage young boys to consider
    such a sad career choice by playing with GI Joe.

    But again – if anyone honestly looks they can see
    that we are currently experiencing a cultural
    hysteria that affects anything with even a hint
    of sexuality in childhood.

  35. 35
    Sheelzebub says:

    Sexuality among children is normal. And no one habthat I know of freaks out when kids are curious or express themselves among other kids (playing doctor, etc.)

    It’s a whole different ballgame when it’s the adults doing involving them.

    It’s niaeve to say that Little Miss Hooters isn’t sexual. Hooters is an establishment that gets its business from displaying sexualized young women in tight outfits. The name of the business is slang for women’s breasts, that’s the selling point. You may as well call the business Titties (and call the pagent Little Miss Titties).

    The reaction you see here is the same reaction you’d get if you saw kids being entered into a suicide bomber contest, a pimp contest, or kids being recruited/conscripted into an army/militia. They are too young to consent and too young to know what any of it really means. They are not engaging in play where they explore the world around them, this is being engineered by adults.

    Finally, I hardly think the people in this thread who disagree with your position and/or who think this is exploitive are hysterical. It’s disingenious to claim that gosh, you didn’t mean me or anyone else here when you bandied around the anti-sex comment but then declare the discussion around Amp’s post as hysterical.

  36. 36
    brent says:

    Acid test:

    1) Is “Little Miss Hooters” an innocent event?

    2) Should parents be allowed to enter their sons in the “Little Miss Hooters” pageant?

    If your answers differ, explain why.

  37. 37
    Patrick O says:

    “It’s niaeve to say that Little Miss Hooters isn’t sexual.”

    It isn’t sexual. Big Miss Hooters – yes, Little
    Miss Hooters no – play acting.

    “The reaction you see here is the same reaction you’d get if you saw kids being entered into a suicide bomber contest, a pimp contest, or kids being recruited/conscripted into an army/militia.”

    That is true – and how you would feel about it
    would depend upon how you felt about suicide
    bombers, the army, pimps, or working for Hooters.

    Personally I cannot put working for Hooters in the
    same category as suicide bombers – you ask me
    about hysteria, doesn’t that seem a little over the top ?

  38. 38
    Hestia says:

    Patrick, I’m going to disagree that it’s all about how you feel about the profession in question. Regardless of what you think about a woman’s choice to be a Hooters employee, it’s clear that she’s valued not for her waitressing, but for her sex appeal. Whether or not that’s acceptable for adults, unacceptable for adults to force it on, or even encourage it in, their children. Especially if the audience isn’t other children, but adults themselves.

    There’s no hysteria in here. There’s no, “Omigod, a boob on TV!” or even any “Eek! Thongs for adolescents!” Disgust is a perfectly sane, logical response to the Miss Hooters contest, in light of the harm sexual objectification can cause. (Of course, if you don’t believe it is harmful, then sure, the contest is completely innocent.)

    I’d like to hear you answer the question about the difference between child’s play and play created and sponsored by adults. It’s not like some little kid stood up and said, “I want to be a Hooters girl!” Instead, some adult said, “Hey, why don’t we put little girls in orange hot pants and a tight T-shirt?” That’s the creepy part, for me. I’m less concerned about the children than I am about the grown-ups who came up with the idea in the first place.

    I’d also like to hear your answer to Brent’s questions.

  39. 39
    Hestia says:

    Edit this sentence:

    Whether or not that’s acceptable for adults, unacceptable for adults to force it on, or even encourage it in, their children.

    To read:

    Whether or not that’s acceptable for adults, it’s unacceptable for adults to force it on their children.

  40. 40
    acm says:

    It’s because we’re dressing them in clothes that say “Hooters” when they don’t even have hooters yet.

    Hooters, in short, exists in a space wherein ALL women are ROUTINELY treated as consumable objects

    I think that the combination of these two quotes is the basis for my squick factor here.
    1) Hooters is about the notion that women aren’t just people with sexual attributes, but actually boobs on legs. That’s much more demeaning than simple objectivification, because it’s totally dehumanizing.
    2) To apply the same calculus to little girls leads to the apparent statement that they are, in essence, just vessels for future boobs. This both dismisses them as individuals and removes any “illusion” of their having an innocent childhood. Like 14th century girls waiting to be married off at 12, these toddlers are just waiting to develop boobs and thus significance (at least to the male world)…

    ick!

  41. 41
    Patrick O says:

    “Regardless of what you think about a woman’s choice to be a Hooters employee, it’s clear that she’s valued not for her waitressing, but for her sex appeal.”

    Agreed.

    “Whether or not that’s acceptable for adults, unacceptable for adults to force it on, or even encourage it in, their children.”

    But they aren’t – thats where the “anything about children it is pedophilia” reaction sets
    in.
    These girls are not being judged on their sex appeal – they have none.
    They probably will be judged for being “cute” – Perhaps some are the
    daughters of Hooters waitresses that think their mom is cool.
    Myabe they’ll have a baton twirling contest – who knows – but
    they are NOT being used for “sexual purposes” and I think that
    someone would have to make a huge stretch to claim they were being harmed in
    any way.

    (Of course, if you don’t believe it is harmful, then sure, the contest is completely innocent.)

    Exactly.

    “I’d like to hear you answer the question about the difference between child’s play and play created and sponsored by adults.”
    When I was using childs play I was speaking of this kind of event – sponsored and guided
    by adults.

    Like little girls in white brides dresses for their first communion – Native american
    boys in initiation rites, boys learning to salute in the boy scouts.

    “That’s the creepy part, for me. I’m less concerned about the children than I am about the grown-ups who came up with the idea in the first place.”

    I understand how people have a squick factor – but I suggest that it really isn’t justified,
    we have just been so bombarded with stories about pedophilia and hints that anything
    sexual in children is pedophilia that many see harm where there is none – it is
    a gut reaction.

    A few years ago, we were having the same reaction to ritual satanic child abuse —
    luckily that one is fading ;)

  42. 42
    Sheelzebub says:

    Play acting refers to kids who play together, without the instruction or guidance of adults, Patrick. Hardly the same thing as a pagent orchestrated by adults for a business that sells young women in tight t-shirts.

    “Personally I cannot put working for Hooters in the same category as suicide bombers – you ask me
    about hysteria, doesn’t that seem a little over the top?”

    I didn’t put working for Hooters in the same category as suicide bombers–I pointed out the logical conclusion of your assertion that it’s just fine for adults to direct kids into doing things that they don’t fully know about or understand (and this did actually happen–remember the outcry of the photo of the baby dressed up as a suicide bomber?). What is over the top is your insistence that any view opposed to yours is hysteria.

  43. 43
    Patrick O says:

    “Play acting refers to kids who play together, without the instruction or guidance of adults, Patrick. Hardly the same thing as a pagent orchestrated by adults for a business that sells young women in tight t-shirts.”

    I don’t know about you, but the only subject I am discussing is is a pagent orchestrated by adults…

    “I didn’t put working for Hooters in the same category as suicide bombers–I pointed out the logical conclusion of your assertion that it’s just fine for adults to direct kids into doing things that they don’t fully know about or understand (and this did actually happen–remember the outcry of the photo of the baby dressed up as a suicide bomber?). ”

    Parents spend all of their lives directing kids
    into doing what they don’t understand….
    The only issue is whether or not what the parents
    direct the kids to do is harmful – such as
    emulating suicide bombers.

    You SEEM to be making a moral equavelence to this
    and parents havong child participate in a
    Little Miss Hooters contest, and claiming that
    it is somehow harmful and should be disapproved.

    Perhaps hysteria is not the reason for your
    claim – but I do not see any rational basis
    for any claim of harm to Little Miss Hooters.
    There are certainly many many other practices
    which are much much more “harmful” that we
    pass over without objection, or even encourage.

  44. 44
    Hestia says:

    I still disagree. No, the children in such a pageant aren’t being used for “sexual” purposes–but they are being used for “sexual objectification” purposes. And it’s not only children, but specifically girls. Young girls should not be taught at an early age that their value comes largely from their looks–whether they’re being considered “cute” OR “sexy.”

    Arguably, the only reason pageants exist is so adults can ooh and ahh. I’d go so far as to say it isn’t intended as entertainment for children at all.

    So this is the basis for a claim of harm: That girls (not boys) are learning that what they look like, and what other people think of them, matters more than who they are or what they can do. (I don’t like adult beauty pageants, either, but at least adults know what they’re doing.) Considering the state of women’s self-image today, I’m surprised that anyone would think a Little Miss Hooters contest is acceptable.

    First Communion, Boy Scouts ceremonies, or Native American rituals have nothing to do with a beauty pageant. There’s actually substance to these events; they represent a child’s changing role within a particular religion, group, or culture. What exactly does Little Miss Hooters represent? What is its significance?

  45. 45
    jam says:

    > “Play acting refers to kids who play together, without the instruction or guidance of adults,
    > Patrick. Hardly the same thing as a pagent orchestrated by adults for a business that
    > sells young women in tight t-shirts.”
    >
    > I don’t know about you, but the only subject I am discussing is is a pagent orchestrated
    > by adults…

    i believe Sheelzebub is referring to the fact that the term &/or phrase “play acting” is used within child developmental psychology & other related fields in a rather definite way… i.e., “kids who play together, without the instruction or guidance of adults.”

    btw, you state: “These girls are not being judged on their sex appeal – they have none.”

    i’m curious as to how you know this…? it does seem to be the central issue of the debate at hand & yet you state it as if it’s a known fact. if it was a known fact, i doubt the debate would be happening.

    i don’t think that the problem is people acknowledging or denying that children are sexual beings. i believe it’s that a particular brand of adult sexuality is being foisted upon them (& rather exploitative one at that). i think this is where Brent’s second question above would be worth repeating.

    i was also wondering, when you say there are “many many other practices which are much much more “harmful” that we pass over without objection, or even encourage,” what many many practices are you referring to?

  46. 46
    Patrick O says:

    “So this is the basis for a claim of harm: That girls (not boys) are learning that what they look like, and what other people think of them, matters more than who they are or what they can do.”

    That is not a fair statment.

    They may be learning that what they look like and what other people
    think of them matters.

    It does not mean that it matters “more than who they are or….”.

    In ANY contest or pagent or whatever the subject being judged is
    the important thing – a contestant in a spelling bee is NOT learning
    that the only thing they are valued for is their dictionary like
    memory and all of their other qualities are worthless.

  47. 47
    Patrick O says:

    “btw, you state: “These girls are not being judged on their sex appeal – they have none.”

    “i’m curious as to how you know this…? it does seem to be the central issue of the debate at hand & yet you state it as if it’s a known fact. if it was a known fact, i doubt the debate would be happening. ”

    I don’t think so. I know that 5 year olds are not
    sexually appealing to me or any one that I know -
    the only people that they might be sexually appealing to are true pedophiles and I think that
    everyone pretty much agreed at the beginning of
    this discussion that they did not think this was
    some kind of pedophile event.

    Rather they were squicked for some reason which
    people like Hestia are attempting to define – that
    somehow it is holding up an ainappropriate role
    model or something like that.

    “i was also wondering, when you say there are “many many other practices which are much much more “harmful” that we pass over without objection, or even encourage,” what many many practices are you referring to?”

    I wouldn’t even know where to begin…

    I know people who are very incensed that people
    have their boys circumsized – they regard this
    as religiously based child abuse.

    Ditto having girls of about the age of Little Miss
    Hooters having their ears pierced for earrings.

    (Both practices which I would hope eveeryone would
    agree cause more “harm” than this pagent does)

    Personally, I think that it is child abuse to
    send a gay child to a Catholic school, and to
    some churches.

    I KNOW for a fact these are much more harmful than
    this pagent could ever be.

    However much we may dislike the practices of
    others in raising their children, to live in
    a civil multicultural society we need to have
    some tolerance for the practices of others that
    may squick us.

    Else constant claims of damage to children is
    likely to come back and bite us in some unexpected place.

  48. 48
    ChurchofBruce says:

    I write erotica. A lot of my stuff is about teenagers (having sex with each *other*, not adults).

    I have two daughters, 8 and 3. When they get a little older, we plan to be *very* open with them about sex, talk about how their bodies are their own, provide birth control if requested, the whole bit. Prudes we are NOT.

    My older daughter has been in dance since she was three, and though I don’t see some of what was talked about upthread (the sexuality of young kids in dance) at her studio, she *does* probably have more body awareness than most kids her age because of the dance. And she’s a complete ham. :-)

    Even with all that–the idea of a Little Miss Hooters contest absolutely *does* squick me. Completely.

    What it is, is *organized* sexualization of children for the benefit of *adults*. And I’m not talking about pedophiles–I’m talking about these kids’ *parents*. That’s who benefits.

    And it’s very squicky.

    And thanks, Amp, that’s the first time I’ve ever heard ‘squick’ used outside of the erotica community :-D

  49. 49
    Anna in Cairo says:

    I have been reading this thread for days and trying to come up with what disgusts me about it. And today on the bus in to work it hit me. It is the same anger I feel towards parents that force their kids to practice the violin from the age of 3 four or five hours a day, or force their kids to skate, or play tennis, or whatever to become prodigies to feed their egos. My boy friend in high school (who I had not been in contact with for a matter of 15 years) killed himself last year with a drug overdose and what messed him up in the first place was parents trying to live out their lives through him. It is a really really strong form of child abuse. I think hitting kids is less harmful. I was in the PYP and I saw so many kids who were sooo messed up because of their parents forcing their own ambitions on them and not seeing that they were individuals with their own souls. And I am not against people taking music or sports lessons but I am against parents trying to make prodigies out of their poor kids before the kids know what they relaly want. And the hooters contest and other child beauty pageants are the same sort of sickness. I remember being so horrified by those pictures of the blond girl who was murdered a while ago and whose parents had been entering her in beauty pageants since some ungodly age (you will know this, I just forgot her name but it was a big US scandal and the parents were blamed for her murder by some elements of the scandal press). Anyhow sorry to rant.

  50. 50
    Charles says:

    Church of Bruce, what is your definition of squick?

    In my version of the term, neither you nor Amp are squicked by this, instead you are disturbed or disgusted or offended. The entire purpose of the term squick (at least within the a.s.b community where I first encountered it) is to distinguish a non-judgemental repulsion (a squick) from a judgemental repulsion. If you think that the practitioners of some act are sick and wrong (or even if you think that they need to seriously reexamine their motives or the implications of their actions), then you are NOT squicked by them or their actions. You may be disgusted or repulsed, or perhaps you merely disapprove or are concerned, but you are definitely not squicked.

    Also, to me, squicked is more for a “I don’t even want to think about it” level of disgust, not for a somewhat bothered or concerned level of disgust.

    Sorry to distract the thread. Its just a term I’m fond of that seems susceptible to overly broad use.

  51. 51
    jam says:

    PatrickO: thanks for your response. you raise some good points that i want to think about a bit more…

    in the meantime i just wanted to say this: in order to figure out what Little Miss Hooters is all about i think we simply have to look at what Hooters is all about. what does the name “Hooters” signify? i think we can all agree that it does not refer to owls, as the company is fond of saying. no, it’s about breasts, or more specifically it’s about breasts in a nudgenudgewinkwink context, because we’re obviously not talking about them as simple anatomical features. so, what then does Little Miss Hooters come out as meaning?

    let me see… how about “Little Miss Titties”…?

    how does that sound now?

  52. 52
    Richard Bellamy says:

    Thoughts on Little Miss Hooters (my thoughts on Big Mrs. Hooters are above):

    My adorable three year old daughter is the right age to enter a “Little Miss Hooters” contest. I am enough of a proud dad to think that she might win, and I know that she is outgoing and performance-oriented enough that if we entered her she would absolutely love it.

    Recently, I signed her up for kiddie acting classes once a week — something I never would have even thought to do if I hadn’t gotten to know my daughter’s personality and how after every TV show we watch together she assigns every member of the family a role and makes us re-enact the story. After several months of this, my wife and I looked at each other, and said, “This girl needs to take acting classes.”

    Of course, I would never sign her up for a beauty pageant. That is a reflection of my wife’s and my values. I do not think entering the pageant would harm my daughter — she’s a big showoff and would think it was a blast. I don’t think the contest organizers are too blame — they are meeting a desire of parents who have different values than I do. If not, then no one would enter. Meanwhile, I am enough of a relativist to have difficulty saying to the parents who would enter their child in a beauty pageant, “You have bad values” or “You are a bad parent.” I certainly wouldn’t take kindly to someone criticizing my “acting class” decision on the grounds that I am stifling her free-flowing creativity or over-scheduling my three year old (who also has a weekly music class and gym class and playgroup and library hour . . . things we also think are important to expose her too at a young age.)

    In the end, I’m happy to say, “It is a problem that we live in a culture where someone can hold a ‘Little Miss Hooters’ contest and people will enter their children rather than pursue alternate goals.” I am happy to promote alternatives — maybe a Little Mr./Miss Monologue context where three year children are judged based on public renditions of famous speeches. If the prizes were big enough and the contest conflicted with Little Miss Hooters, maybe people just wouldn’t go to the pageant.

    Where I am not happy is with singling out a pageant and saying, “This is bad and should be stopped.” The pageant is just a physical manifestation of what people want. Banning it is like “curing” a rash with a can of paint.

  53. 53
    Patrick O says:

    “in the meantime i just wanted to say this: in order to figure out what Little Miss Hooters is all about i think we simply have to look at what Hooters is all about. what does the name “Hooters” signify? i think we can all agree that it does not refer to owls, as the company is fond of saying. no, it’s about breasts, or more specifically it’s about breasts in a nudgenudgewinkwink context, because we’re obviously not talking about them as simple anatomical features. so, what then does Little Miss Hooters come out as meaning?

    let me see… how about “Little Miss Titties”…? ”

    I agree – in fact I was thinking of taking
    it a little farther and offering up the
    “Little Miss Courtesan” contest :)

    I think that what really bothers most people
    about this is the (albiet low level) comnercial
    sex worker aura of “Hooters girls” – and the idea
    that the contest sort of throws this occupation
    up as something that is worth emulating.

    (Again, unlike most I dont have a problem with
    commercial sex workers so it doesn’t bother me
    as much)

    I can’t imagaine ever considering entering my
    daughter in such a contest, or attending it,
    and I realize it is just a shabby commercial
    exploitation by HootersCorp – but shabby
    commercial exploitation is the AMerican Way
    of Life and it doesn’t seem llike a good idea
    to me to single this one out just because of
    its commercial sex relationship to HootersCorp.

  54. 54
    kyan gadac says:

    This may be a little OT, but the focus on pedophilia and child porngraphy and the consequent over the top reaction as exemplified by the Salon article (people being arrested for taking pictures of their children in the bath etc.) has a lot to do with the impact of the internet and the subsequent proliferation of hard core porn.(It also has a lot to do with the increasing awareness of the impact of sexual abuse on children).

    It’s easy to focus on child pornography because by banning this, one gives carte blanche to any other kind of pornography no matter how degrading or violent it might be. Whilst pornographers happily provide anti child porn public service messages, these serve to protect them from any questioning of what they put up involving ‘adult’ women.

    It used to be the case that censorship laws discriminated between ‘non-violent erotica’ and more extreme forms. But not any more. Women can be portrayed in a wide variety of degrading, humiliating positions without a murmur of criticism because it’s a first amendment privilege and they ‘might’ be consensual tears or terror in her eyes. It’s this lack of judgement that has led straight to the Abu Ghraib pictures. The pictures from AbuGhraib could not have been taken without the pre-existing numbness bought about by the unquestioning acceptance of web sites describing rape and humiliation etc. etc.

    The fig leaf that everybody hides behind is this anti child porn campaign and the hysteria over pedophilia but it really is a fig leaf for a much more pervasive campaign of violence and oppression against women and children.

  55. 55
    Hestia says:

    Patrick:

    In ANY contest or pagent or whatever the subject being judged is the important thing – a contestant in a spelling bee is NOT learning that the only thing they are valued for is their dictionary like memory and all of their other qualities are worthless.

    Yes, that’s correct about spelling bees and similar kinds of contests–but not about beauty pageants. Maybe it would be in an ideal world. But contemporary American culture does essentially tell women that what they look like matters more than their other qualities. Therefore, as part of and supported by American culture, I posit that children’s beauty pageants imply the same thing.

    I’m looking at this issue in context. There’s a distinct difference between a contest based on what one can do versus what one looks like.

    Else constant claims of damage to children is likely to come back and bite us in some unexpected place.

    This sounds too much like a “slippery slope” argument for me to take seriously.

    Also, as far as I’m concerned, that there are other things more harmful than beauty pageants is irrelevant. There are other things more harmful than punching someone in the nose, but we certainly don’t advocate that we all walk around with our fists raised.

    I’d still like to see you address Brent’s post and also the suggestion that adults are creating this kind of entertainment for themselves, not their children (as Anna illustrates). These are, I think, strong arguments against your position that you have yet to consider.

    Richard:

    The pageant is just a physical manifestation of what people want.

    I don’t like this argument. I’ve never believed that everyone should just be able to do what they want when it’s arguably harmful to someone else, as I believe a Little Miss Hooters contest would be–and as I believe acting classes, in and of themselves, aren’t.

    I agree with you completely when you say, “It is a problem that we live in a culture where someone can hold a ‘Little Miss Hooters’ contest and people will enter their children rather than pursue alternate goals.” I don’t think we should ban beauty pageants. I’d rather they disappear naturally, based on mass disapproval, which is what a lot of people in this thread are expressing. After all, the LMH contest did get shut down…

  56. 56
    Patrick O says:

    Yes, that’s correct about spelling bees and similar kinds of contests–but not about beauty pageants. Maybe it would be in an ideal world. But contemporary American culture does essentially tell women that what they look like matters more than their other qualities. Therefore, as part of and supported by American culture, I posit that children’s beauty pageants imply the same thing.

    Then you have a problem with contemporary American
    culture.

    So do I – many problems.

    And I guess that its quite right for you to object to something that you feel strongly about.

    What can I say – different value systems ?

    For me, when I hear people going into a hissy fit
    every time something like Little Miss Hooters
    comes along, making claims of “harm to children”
    when I see no actual harm, it has a de-sensitizing
    effect.

    I tend to be wary of “harm to children” claims,
    knowing that this is the nuclear weapon of
    idealogues with an axe to grind.

    (Don’t like Janets titties on TV – cry on camera
    about the harm done to your poor innocents watching Super Bowl thugs maul one another).

    BTW – you keep referring to “Brents Post”, but
    I really thought that I had answered whatever
    questions he posed – if you do have a question
    would you mind just asking it ?

  57. 57
    ChurchofBruce says:

    Charles posted:

    Church of Bruce, what is your definition of squick?

    In my version of the term, neither you nor Amp are squicked by this, instead you are disturbed or disgusted or offended. The entire purpose of the term squick (at least within the a.s.b community where I first encountered it) is to distinguish a non-judgemental repulsion (a squick) from a judgemental repulsion.

    I see your point. I guess my revulsion at the Little Hooters contest is more judgemental than you would commonly refer to as ‘squicky’. But to me, a squick isn’t completely dependent on judgemental/non-judgemental. It also has to do with rationality.

    I can *sort* of explain why a Little Hooters contest bothers me, probably more than I can explain why other things that ‘squick’ me do so. But not completely. So, my opposition to a Little Hooters contest isn’t exactly ‘splainable or completely rational.

    That’s what ‘squick’ connotes to me–it’s a ‘gut-level’ reaction. I remeber when Jon-Benet Ramsey first died, and they had all those pictures of her from her beauty contests looking like a miniature tart–and my first reaction wasn’t well thought-out or rational. It was just “Eeeeewwww!!!”

    Though my thoughts on a Little Hooters contest are a wee bit more rational–for reasons that somebody stated above, the connotation of the word ‘hooters’ in this context–my first reaction was still a non-rational “Eeeeewwwww!!!”

  58. 58
    Hestia says:

    For me, when I hear people going into a hissy fit every time something like Little Miss Hooters comes along, making claims of “harm to children” when I see no actual harm, it has a de-sensitizing effect.

    And for me, when I hear people calling what I believe is a legitimate concern a “hissy fit” (or, for that matter, “hysterical”), I get really annoyed. OK, it’s a difference in values, but I’m not calling your opinion uneducated, insensitive, or arrogant, am I?

    For Christ’s sake, I thought the Janet Jackson brouhaha was just stupid. Some people do go overboard in their “protect the children!” mission. I don’t think I’m one of them, and I don’t appreciate being treated like one. I’m sure other posters on this thread feel the same way.

    I’d like to know if you think parents should be allowed to enter sons in the Little Miss Hooters contest. (If I missed your answer, I apologize; I guess I wasn’t reading hard enough.) And I’d like to know if you think the LMH contest was invented by adults or children, and if you think it’s intended for an audience of adults or children, and if you think it matters, and why.

  59. 59
    Charles says:

    Church of Bruce,

    I see your point. It does seem reasonable to use squick to cover sources of disgust that are pre-rational, even if a rational analysis can be found to justify the disgust. I can accept your usage of it (and Amp’s as well, since he hedges on whether he is simply rationalizing a squick or legitimately morally disgusted).

    And it is nice to see squick get a larger use.

  60. 60
    Patrick O says:

    “I’d like to know if you think parents should be allowed to enter sons in the Little Miss Hooters contest.”

    Is that a serious question ? I would imagine that
    HootersCorp management would consider it with the
    same seriousness that they considers a guy
    applying for the job of Hooters hostess.

    “And I’d like to know if you think the LMH contest was invented by adults or children, and if you think it’s intended for an audience of adults or children, and if you think it matters, and why.”

    Again I didn’t consider that as a serious question – sorry if you meant it as one.

    From the beginning I have considered that the
    Little Miss Hooters contest was originated by
    some mental giant Hooters manager.

    I really think that we all have – don’t think a bunch of 5 year olds girls got together and
    said “Lets put on a play”.

    And I expect that the intended audience is adults – largely the parents of Little Miss Hooters contestants as well as any others that
    the publicity might draw in to increase business.

    I cant imageine that anyone has ever had any
    OTHER conception of the Little Miss Hooters
    contest since the beginning of the thread, so
    I can’t see how it “matters”.

  61. 61
    Richard Bellamy says:

    Hestia:

    I’ve never believed that everyone should just be able to do what they want when it’s arguably harmful to someone else, as I believe a Little Miss Hooters contest would be. . . I don’t think we should ban beauty pageants. I’d rather they disappear naturally, based on mass disapproval, which is what a lot of people in this thread are expressing. . . .After all, the LMH contest did get shut down…

    Disappearance based on mass disapproval is very difference from disappearing naturally due to lack of interest. I support the second, not the first.

    If the “Gay Pride Teen Rally of Omaha, Nebraska” gets cancelled due to massive community disapproval, I would not be drawing much of a significant distinction between “cancelled based on mass disapproval” and “banned.”

    Similarly, I don’t feel much better when the Klan rally is cancelled due to community protest. I do feel better when it is cancelled due to not enough Klan members to rally.

  62. 62
    Hestia says:

    Yes, Richard; that’s just what I meant. Sorry I wasn’t clearer.

    Patrick, the reason your answers to those two questions matter is that if you don’t believe the pageant should be opened to boys, then clearly it’s more than just an “innocent” event. So why shouldn’t boys be allowed in the contest? Because real Hooters employees aren’t male? Then that implies an agenda behind the pageant that parallels the acknowledged one behind the restaurant itself, which I don’t support.

    And the reason the audience matters is because children do not exist to entertain adults, and we need to question whether the impulse to use kids in this manner–to fulfill adult expectations or desires of any kind–should be encouraged.

    But in the end, it all comes down to whether you think that there’s a problem with how women are considered in contemporary American society. If you think there is none–and I suspect you do–then we might as well discontinue this discussion. You see no harm in turning girls and women into things to look at; I see great harm there. That’s all there is to it.

  63. 63
    Patrick O says:

    Patrick, the reason your answers to those two questions matter is that if you don’t believe the pageant should be opened to boys, then clearly it’s more than just an “innocent” event.

    I’m afraid that there is no logical reason that
    an event open only to girls is “guilty”.

    So why shouldn’t boys be allowed in the contest? Because real Hooters employees aren’t male? Then that implies an agenda behind the pageant that parallels the acknowledged one behind the restaurant itself, which I don’t support.

    I’m sorry, but that makes no sense to me.
    Would there be something “guilty” about not
    allowing a female to enter the “Mr. Speedo”
    competition ?

    I know – silly question – but I just don’t
    understand why anyone would think that boys
    should be Little Miss Hooters contestants :(

    But in the end, it all comes down to whether you think that there’s a problem with how women are considered in contemporary American society. If you think there is none–and I suspect you do–then we might as well discontinue this discussion.

    No, I absolutely believe that there is a problem
    with sexism in contemporary American society.

    I certainly believe in female equality, etc..

    Where we disagree is on our attitudes towards sexuality, and what relationship those attitudes
    have with feminism.

    I DON’T believe that all sex is rape, or that being viewed as a sex object is neccessarily evil
    or that being a sex worker is evil, etc…

    I realize that this is an attitude which has been
    incorporated into feminism but I don’t think that
    it is a correct or neccesary part of female equality.

    In fact, I see little difference between it and the Jerry Falwell school of sexual morality.


    You see no harm in turning girls and women into things to look at; I see great harm there. That’s all there is to it.

    That is true – throughout history we have engaged in the practice of admiring beautiful bodies -
    both male and female – in
    sculpture, painting, film and stage, by the millions.

    Not only do I not see harm – I see a positive good – in the aesthetic sense of beauty.

    I hate it that this anti-sex cultural attitude
    has been so intertwined with feminism.

  64. 64
    Ampersand says:

    Time constraints prevent me from really participating in this discussion, but I had to comment on this:

    “I DON’T believe that all sex is rape…”

    Patrick, has anyone here said “all sex is rape”? Unless I’ve missed it, no one here has said that, or said anything that can reasonably be interpreted that way.

    In fact, I’m not aware of any feminist who has said “all sex is rape,” although it’s often falsely claimed that MacKinnon said that.

    You’re welcome to continue posting on my website. However, please restrict yourself to criticising people for what they’ve actually said, rather than making up stuff they didn’t say, or recycling old and untrue stereotypes about what feminists believe.

  65. 65
    Patrick O says:

    “Patrick, has anyone here said “all sex is rape”? Unless I’ve missed it, no one here has said that, or said anything that can reasonably be interpreted that way.”

    In speaking of what I considered troubling ideas
    which have been, by some, represented as feminist
    ideas, I said:

    “I DON’T believe that all sex is rape, or that being viewed as a sex object is neccessarily evil
    or that being a sex worker is evil, etc…”

    I didn’t intend to – nor do I believe that my statement did, put words into anyone’s mouths.

    And yes, I had heard that MacKinnon had stated that – I stand corrected.

    I am sorry that it seems that my point of view is somehow offensive, but that’s happened before and
    when it happens it usually seems best for me to
    drop out of the subject, so consider me dropped ;)

  66. 66
    Samantha says:

    Patrick, you can’t both believe that there is rampant sexism working against female equal opportunity and also believe that throughout history male and female sexuality have gotten the same equal treatment from artists, films and culture in general. It’s called sexism for a reason, and that is because women are defined by their female sexuality in numerous ways men are not defined by their male sexuality. To say you believe in women’s equality but don’t see how that has anything to do with female sexuality being considered a Thing to be bought and sold misses the whole point of why it is called SEXism.

    Women aren’t discriminated against because we’re shorter than men or less hairy than men. We are discriminated against because most men look at women and see some things (human beings) they would like to sexually pleasure themselves with instead of seeing women and girls as fully human people with personalities and desires of their own unrelated to wetting his penis.

    The common view of all females (including Lolitas, Barely Legals, and Little Miss Hooters) as existing to service men has NOTHING to do with “aesthetic sense of beauty.” I have never confused a man harrassing me on the street with “Gimme a piece of that pussy” as a compliment to my beauty, and men don’t go to Hooters to appreciate the loveliness of the human body else men would also set up places for themselves to ‘appreciate’ the beauty of other men in similar ways. When a man hit on by a gay man beats the shit out of him, do you think it’s because he just never learned to appreciate his own beauty or to accept compliments? I think he beats the gay man up because the idea that a man might look at him the same way he looks at women scares the shit out of him because he knows all too well how he thinks of the gender he likes to fuck and it’s not how he wants anyone to think of him.

    “I just don’t understand why anyone would think that boys should be Little Miss Hooters contestants”

    Why is Little Mr. Hooters so unfathomable to you unless you think females are meant to be looked at in ways males are not? Doesn’t this make untrue your own assertion that “throughout history we have engaged in the practice of admiring beautiful bodies -
    both male and female”? Did history just end that now a distinction between males on display and females on display is made so that one is acceptable, even defendable to you and the other is just entirely incomprehensible?

    Joke in Playboy:

    He: Can I come home with you?
    She: No, I need my beautysleep.
    He: That’s all right, I’m not interested in any part of you that’s beautiful.

    Hooters is not about engaging in the practice of admiring beauty, and Little Miss Hooters is not about child beauty. They are about the desensitization of our culture to women and children’s sexual indignity and sexual humiliation.

  67. 67
    jam says:

    PatrickO- i think there’s something missing from your analysis: power.

    it is true that both male & female bodies have been put on display for centuries. the question is not whether they have been put on display in equal numbers or some such other abstraction. the question is rather who has the power to determine the meaning & import of such displayed images. throughout history, as we all know, there have been radical inequalities of power. one of the longest standing of these inequalities has been that of the oppression of women by men. one of the most potent ways men have performed such oppression is through controlling women’s bodies, both physically as well as through representation.

    “beauty” & “aesthetics” do not exist in some separate realm from this world of unequal power. such concepts have been formed & expressed within a context of outright slavery & domination based upon sex.

    like Ampersand points out, straw dogs never help anyone’s argument. all sex isn’t rape… very true. what feminist thought has illuminated, however, is that some forms definitely are, or that being a sex worker doesn’t make you evil, but the structure & function of many institutions around the world that exploit sex work are most definitely evil in that they are little more than slavery. similarly, being viewed as a sex object isn’t necessarily evil but within a certain context, like that of patriarchy or misogyny or any of the social institutions such forces have helped to create, it simply serves the ends of those in power & aids in the continuing subjugation of women.

    i don’t believe that being pro-sex means one has to support what one considers to be exploitation & disempowerment. indeed, i believe that if you’re truly pro-sex one of your main concerns should be how to free sex from all the fucked up trappings that have been laid upon it by this long history of misogyny & oppression to which we are all heir & under which we all continue to labor.

  68. 68
    ChurchofBruce says:

    I have never confused a man harrassing me on the street with “Gimme a piece of that pussy” as a compliment to my beauty, and men don’t go to Hooters to appreciate the loveliness of the human body else men would also set up places for themselves to ‘appreciate’ the beauty of other men in similar ways

    I agree with the first part but not necessarily to the second. I don’t like Hooters per se because it’s regimented–but I absolutely *do* notice the loveliness of the female body and not the male. I think female bodies are *far* more aesthetically pleasing than males. And this isn’t sexual, because I’m bi :-)

    I’m of course talking adults here. A Little Mr. Hooters contest would be identical to a Little Miss Hooters contest. At 5, there isn’t much difference in the bodies except what’s hidden behind the underpants. So, yes, I absolutely agree that having a Little Miss but not a Little Mister is sexist and has nothing to do with body aesthetics, because they’re the same at that age.

    But adults? Curves are more pleasing to this eye than hairy lumpiness, sorry :-)

  69. 69
    Hestia says:

    Patrick:

    I don’t know why you keep bringing up sex. I’ve made it very clear that that’s not what I’m talking about at all. My disapproval of the LMH pageant has no grounds in sexuality in and of itself.

    As far as the admiring beautiful bodies thing is concerned: Sure, we should look for beautiful things. But at this point we’re creating a parallel between beauty and value. A majority of women feel bad about themselves at least occasionally because they don’t think they’re pretty enough. Inculcating this kind of attitude at an early age is inadvisable. (Also, everything Samantha and jam said.)

    I just don’t understand why anyone would think that boys should be Little Miss Hooters contestants

    First, that’s the point I’m trying to make: There’s a reason the pageant is limited to girls, and that reason is a big part of what makes it unacceptable.

    Second, I don’t understand why parents shouldn’t be allowed to enter their sons into the contest if they want to. You’ll need to explain your position a little more clearly than, “I don’t get it.”

    Third, the idea that an adult beauty pageant might not include members of both sexes doesn’t negate the idea that a kids’ beauty pageant limited to girls is harmful. You seem to be saying something along the lines of, “Everybody else does it, so it can’t be that bad.” I don’t think that’s a very good argument in defense of anything.

    An aside re: what COBruce said:

    I think female bodies are *far* more aesthetically pleasing than males.

    I hear a lot of people say this, only without the “I think” part. They seem to believe it’s just a fact.

    Why? Biology? I have a really hard time believing that any preference is based purely on biology. Maybe we’ve learned to believe that women’s bodies are prettier than men’s. Or could it be because we almost never see men’s bodies depicted as lovely?

    And then there’s the sexual orientation disclaimer, which is a little weird: Why is it assumed that an appreciation of a body is sexual? If I, as a straight person, say that the male body is nicer to look at than the female body, is that statement somehow less legitimate just because I might possibly have an interest in something deeper than the surface of a thing? If it is, then clearly there’s something behind the “women are pretty and men aren’t” belief that transcends aesthetics.

    Also, when people allude to “women’s bodies,” they usually mean a specific kind of women’s bodies, which sort of negates the original statement.

    I’ve seen some–not as many as for women, but some–photographs, paintings, and sculptures that do a really good job of making men look truly beautiful. We don’t need to believe that women are lovely and men aren’t.

    I’m not saying women aren’t beautiful. I am saying that it’s an opinion, one that has little basis in objectivity and needs some reasoning to back it up.

  70. 70
    Hestia says:

    PS. Women are naturally hairy–maybe not as much as men, but legs don’t come automatically depilated–and curves are only streamlined lumps.

  71. 71
    Sheelzebub says:

    I’d like to add that I find men’s bodies more aesthetically pleasing than women’s bodies. Not that women are ugly, but I’d much rather look at a guy thankyouverymuch. It’s pretty telling that there isn’t anyone promoting the sexual liberation of men via sex work, and that such a concept is unfathomable to some people.

  72. 72
    Samantha says:

    “It’s pretty telling that there isn’t anyone promoting the sexual liberation of men via sex work, and that such a concept is unfathomable to some people.”

    So true.

  73. 73
    lucia says:

    I think female bodies are *far* more aesthetically pleasing than males. And this isn’t sexual, because I’m bi :-)
    Really?

    I think fit men are much more aesthetically pleasing. Recently, I have been disappointed by pro-football broadcasts because the camera’s seem to have fewer butt shots. My husband said it’s due to some new innovation that lets them get better full field shoots. Sigh….

    At least I can still sit in the bleachers and watch outfielders though.

  74. 74
    Lindsey says:

    What the hell is a “quasi-prostitute”? Talk about drinking the kool-aid!

    One is a prostitute, or she isn’t. There isn’t a “quasi” prostitute as that term denotes two things: sex and money. Period. Your taste in fashion or your morals do not change that.

    Along those lines, maybe the problem is with you.

  75. 75
    sylphhead says:

    “PS. Women are naturally hairy–maybe not as much as men, but legs don’t come automatically depilated–and curves are only streamlined lumps.”

    As long as we’re inserting this caveat, might I remind you that naturally, many men grow hair in their ears, nose, and back. Sometimes you get them between the toes, or those long-stranded couple of stragglers that stick out from right before the navel.

    What Patrick may be trying to say – and in which case I would concur – is that it’s not clear whether some strands of feminism find the imposed centrality of sexuality to the female identity offensive in and of itself, or merely because it is demanded of females and not of males. Obviously, there’s going to be significant overlap between the two, but there’s a fairly noticeable difference between the two positions:

    1) That women are expected to be sexually presentable to men more so than the other way around, and this is offensive in the same way that women are expected to clean and sacrifice their careers and change their last names more so than men are,

    and

    2) The designation of women as the ‘sex’ caste is a tool intended to demean, subjugate, and humiliate them.

    Any variation of the second position would be impossible to hold without also holding that there is something demeaning or humiliating about human sexuality itself. Sure, it could be that it was patriarchy who set the norms on what is demeaning and/or humiliating, but no one has to accept them as legitimate premises if they don’t want to. There’s a difference between acknowledging patriarchal norms in anticipation of public reaction to one’s views or plan of action, and designating them as axioms.

    By some slick osmosis, anti-feminist views about sexuality being an icky, icky thing may have seeped into the minds of some feminists and they react by dissociating women from it.

    As far as the Little Miss Hooters contest itself, I have a hard time seeing this as anything but some sort of Pedophile Idol. To all those who are trying to say that there’s no element of sex in what these girls are doing, let’s try the following thought experiment: take the same things that these girls are doing (dressing up as Hooter’s waitresses, talent show, etc. etc.), but instead make it a contest for elderly women. Would you still attend it? And to keep it all a family affair, I’ll enter all your mothers into the contest. Would you be willing to support it?

    “One is a prostitute, or she isn’t. There isn’t a “quasi” prostitute as that term denotes two things: sex and money. Period. Your taste in fashion or your morals do not change that.”

    Lindsey, would you feel differently if your daughters worked at Hooter’s, as opposed to Appleby’s? Or if you don’t have any daughters, your mother.

    You’d probably be quasi-mortified.

  76. 76
    Julie says:

    The whole Hooter’s concept is embarrassing and ridiculous. I have always pitied the young woman that perceives herself in such a fashion that she has no ability to earn a living beyond exposing her body and flirting with men. Many men have a very real problem with sexual issues and perversions and the very feeding of those problems can be devastating to some. Such behavior is but one step away from stripping, lap dances, and full prostitution. The very idea of putting precious, innocent little girls in this position is abominable, to say the least. It is not surprising to find those that would abuse the female gender for the love of money, but always appalling to find parents that would do no more to protect the little ones they’ve been so graciously gifted with. God, help us!

  77. 77
    RonF says:

    I have always pitied the young woman that perceives herself in such a fashion that she has no ability to earn a living beyond exposing her body and flirting with men.

    On what basis do you presume to make the assumption that a woman working at Hooters perceives that she has no ability to earn a living other than “exposing her body and flirting witih men”?

  78. 78
    Anonymous says:

    I don’t think anyone has actually used the word ‘brainwashing’ yet, so I thought I would be the first to. Here is how I think it would work: the children would always know that they had been part of little miss hooters – pretty much their entire mental development would have to account for this. As a teenager first coming to grips with what hooters does, they would have in the back of their minds that they were once a hooters girl. I can’t say for sure how this would affect them, but I guess I’d assume that it would be similar to how I imagine spelling bee entrants to be – always eager to spell a word out for anyone who wants one, and always ready with a ‘helpful’ grammar correction. I’m not saying they’d grow up to be stripper nazis, just that if a child has received praise/attention for something in the past, that they’ll often come back to it long after it stops being appreciated.

    Another issue I’m trying to fit my head around is “what if there had been a similar pageant targeted at the daughters of hooters employees?”