This latest discovery isn’t breaking news by any means, but rather confirms a longstanding theory. A recent study found that working at Hooters is bad for women’s health (as well as other restaurant chains like it).
Waitresses at any restaurant work to make sure the customer is happy. But, as we all know, waitresses at certain specific chains are expected to provide a “sexy” element to their customer service. According to University of Tennessee psychology professor Dawn Szymanski and graduate student Renee Mikorski, these specific waitresses are at higher risk of developing anxiety and eating disorders because of their work environment.
Szymanski and Mikorski surveyed 252 participants between the ages of 18 and 66, all of whom are servers in the United States. The participants were asked about whether they were encouraged to wear sexually revealing uniforms at their workplace, whether male customers stared or made comments, and how the power structure between males and females within the staff of their restaurant worked.
At some of these chains, customers and supervisors are encouraged to “grade” waitresses based on their appearance, which is basically an institutionalized form of body shaming. The study found that these same servers lacked power at their workplace and experienced sexual harassment more often than their counterparts at other restaurants.
Szymanski and Mikorski’s study, entitled Sexually Objectifying Environments: Power, Rumination, and Waitresses’ Anxiety and Disordered Eating, builds on previous studies that found that servers at these chains often develop negative emotions and psychological problems due to workplace objectification.
She hopes their study better informs the public, and makes customers rethink their monetary support of Hooters and similar restaurant chains.