A new report in Psychology of Women Quarterly finds women who work in restaurants that traffic in the objectification of women—colloquially known as “breastaurants”—are more prone to disordered eating and anxiety. It is an infuriating, if unsurprising finding. As Glamour’s article about the study mentions, ROC’s very own research efforts found that 80 percent of women tipped restaurant workers have experienced sexual harassment on the job.
It stands to reason that establishments like Hooters—restaurants that use sexual objectification as a marketing gimmick—would only make matters worse.
The researchers interviewed 252 U.S. breastaurant servers ages 18-66. They determined how much objectification these women experienced by having them rate their agreement with statements like “In the restaurant I work, male customers stare at female servers/waitresses” and “In the restaurant I work, female servers/waitresses are encouraged to wear sexually revealing clothing.”
“The more objectifying an environment these women were in, the more prone they were to disordered eating and anxiety. This appeared to be because women in highly objectifying workplaces experienced less personal autonomy and were afforded less status compared to men at work.
Sexual harassment in the restaurant industry is an epidemic. It is aided by the tipped minimum wage, which is as low as $2.13 per hour at the federal level. Such an abysmally low wage forces women tipped workers—who make up the majority of tipped workers—to rely on tips to make ends meet. As a result, they face disproportionate rates of sexual harassment and poverty. A fair, living wage for all would afford women tipped workers with the financial stability they need to provide for their families, plan for the future, and defend themselves against sexual harassment. America’s women need One Fair Wage.