This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost Canada, which closed in 2021.

'Breastaurants' Are Hurting Employees' Mental Health

Anxiety and disordered eating are just a part if it.

As if wearing high heels and short skirts while waiting tables wasn't bad enough, now researchers say working at restaurants that sell a side of sexual objectification can also have an impact on your mental health.

According to a new study published in the Psychology of Women Quarterly, working in "breastaurants" like Hooters — which earn money by objectifying women's bodies — can be harmful to the mental health of female staff.

As part of the study, researchers interviewed 252 female servers between the ages of 18 and 66. The women were asked to give "yes" or "no" responses to a series of statements about their work environment.

Getty Images

Based on the responses, the researchers found the more objectifying the workplace, the more likely a server was to have anxiety or disordered eating.

The researchers hypothesized that this is due to women having less status and autonomy than men at work.

"Some women are immersed in subcultures and settings where treating women as sex objects is not only promoted but culturally sanctioned," Dawn M. Szymanski, author of the study, told PsyPost. "One example of this is the so-called 'breastaurants' that put women's bodies and sexuality on display and elicit and approve of the male gaze."

Michael Dalder / Reuters

In a piece for The Conversation, Szymanski noted that women who worked in these types of establishments often received lewd comments from customers, sexual advances, and other forms of sexual harassment which resulted in servers feeling a wide variety of negative emotions, but they stay because they tend to make more money and have more work flexibility.

In many cases, servers admitted to feeling a "double-bind" where they would feel uncomfortable with a client but would say nothing because they are a hefty tipper.


Szymanski went on to write that her study shows a clear correlation: the more a woman's body and sexuality is displayed at work, the less happy she is with her job.

This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost Canada. Certain site features have been disabled. If you have questions or concerns, please check our FAQ or contact