Objectification

Study pinpoints effects on well-being of women who work in ‘breastaurants’

(REUTERS/Gil Cohen Magen)

Twin Peaks, Spice Rack, Hooters, Tilted Kilt Pub and Eatery.

Anxiety, anger, sadness, depressed mood, confusion, and degradation.

What do those two groups of words have in common? The first set contains the name of some of the country’s most successful “breastaurants” and the second group lists the feelings described by waitresses who work in those types of establishments, according to the results of an intriguing study performed by a University of Tennessee research team. The researchers endeavored to determine what impact working in sexually objectifying environments has on the emotional and psychological well-being of women employees.

By and large, the researchers found, the more workers’ bodies and sexuality were put on display — employers mandating wardrobes that draw attention to women’s physical and sexual attributes — the less happy the women were with their jobs. Some of the so-called breastaurants go further than demanding employees wear uniforms that sexualize — they even order them to maintain the body weight recorded at the time of their hiring and subject women to sexually-objectifying promotions, like wet T-shirt contests. All in all, it’s a recipe for sadness, especially for those waitresses who told researchers that in addition to some of the more predictably downtrodden aspects of the job, they also found themselves stalked, sexually harassed and being propositioned to provide sexual favors. The researchers did note a few positives, though they were greatly outweighed by the negatives. Some of the women surveyed reported making more money working for a breastaurant rather than a traditional restaurant, like an Applebee’s, and they maintained control over their work schedules.

The study goes much deeper and even explains why places like Hooters are legally allowed to deny men from working wait-staff jobs there — believe it or not, many have applied and been rejected.

Read the full story at Good.

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