Okay, I know it's like the most obvious uptight-feminist cliche ever, but god, I hate Hooters. I fucking hate Hooters so much. Mainly because I like to eat things that actually taste good, and also because I dislike being reminded that a lot of people's ideal woman is a pliant sex mannequin who delivers fried foods. But Hooters—not to be outdone by Hooters!—never fails to come up with new ways to remind me to hate Hooters. Here comes one now!
It's a new advertising campaign helmed by Jody Hill (creator of Eastbound and Down), starring a bored lifeguard, two talking owl puppets, and a swimming pool full of old ladies. The old ladies are doing water aerobics (unattractive people exercising in public? GROSS), and the lifeguard has to—GAG—look at them. In their bathing suits. Are you okay? Are you still conscious? Then, a little devil owl and a little angel owl pop up on his shoulders to let him know that Hooters exists.
Hooters! A land where all the servants are women and all the women are "girls" (their terminology, not mine)—specifically young, seminude, obedient girls laden with fried chicken and paid to flirt. A PARADISE. The old women in the pool, on the other hand, are the woooooooorst! "I just threw up in my beak," quips the devil owl, who apparently hasn't heard a new joke since 1992. At the sight of some cellulite on an old woman's leg, even the angel owl comes around: "Let's go to Hooters. Right now." Then the lifeguard runs off to eat a mountain of dirty onion rings flanked by thin, busty young women (the only good kind of woman, obv!) and, now unsupervised, all the old ladies drown. HOPEFULLY.
Okay. Of course I get that sex appeal is exchanged for tips in pretty much all corners of the food service industry. But the way Hooters formalizes that transaction and makes its employees (human beings, all!) sell themselves beneath novelty signs that say, "CAUTION: BLONDES THINKING" is just...hella gross. It's like some sort of old-timey misogyny theme park, where men get to treat women exactly how they did before all that pesky liberation got into the water supply. But hey, it's all in fun! It's a family restaurant! It's empowering, if you think about it!* Don't be so uptight, dummies!
But even if I didn't hate Hooters with the fiery passion of a million billion suns, this ad is still a failure because it's totally not funny or original or good. It appeals to only the most basic, embarrassing stereotype of a Hooters patron. And is that really what you want to be, dudes? Really? Eastbound and Down (which I like a lot—season one, at least) is...less than sensitive when it comes to pretty much everything, but it tempers that insensitivity by making its main character a pathetic, broken-down, abject failure of a human being who actually manages to say funny things. This commercial is just a stank bundle of cheap, hacky, antique jokes that prop up the patently damaging notion that women's societal value declines drastically with every cellulite dimple. Oh, thanks, guys. Thanks a lot. Now that I'm too embarrassed to go to the pool and exercise because some dickhead lifeguard and the voices in his head are going to be horking over my body, I guess I'll just cloak my shame in sweatpants and gorge on fried chicken all night! Does anybody know where I can get some hot wings?
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ADVERTISING STRIKES AGAIN. CURSES.