I didn’t know that term until I Googled “Tilted Kilt,” the Irish-themed restaurant at which my 18-year-old sister just acquired a hostess job. I had encouraged her to get a restaurant job. Sure, you’ll lose your faith in humanity. If you work at a restaurant, many people will assume “server” means “slave” and try to trip you, shake empty cups of ice at you to indicate their interest in a refill, pelt you with nickels, run out on the check. Slumpy old men will attempt to rub your hand (or other things) when you present them with a menu. But it’s good money and the hours work when you are in school.
So, my beautiful young sister listened to me for once and she got the job. Here’s the problem. This is the uniform (not my sister):
My immediate reaction to the image above (and my sister’s uniform photo on Instagram–a different photo) was abject horror. She’s not even a server. Just a hostess. So all of that and not even any tips.
But I am a feminist. Is there anything wrong per se with the image above, with any young women who decides to wear that uniform? Yes, this restaurant blatantly objectifies women for money, but am I not being paternalistic when I say that my sister or any other young woman should not wear that uniform? Women should be able to do whatever they want, right, as long as they aren’t hurting anyone? Be sex workers or astronauts! Hump stripper poles or study linguistics! It’s all good!!!
Except this is my sister. My sister who creepy guys will ogle (or worse!) as she clutches menus and leads them to their table. What is a hypocritical big sister to do?