Rio Di Halla has a new restaurant that combines delicious food and muscular, strong waitresses who wear sports bras and shorts. Tomboy Country Steakhouse was inspired by the Tomboy Outback Steakhouse internet meme. Is this new restaurant a new hope for women’s empowerment? Or, Is it a step backward for workplace equality? The Daily Amazon investigated.
The Tomboy Strong Waitresses
We talked to some of the strong waitresses to hear their perspective on working at the restaurant. Most of them were enthusiastic about the job and felt proud of their athletic bodies. “I’ve always been into sports, and it feels great to show off and inspire other women,” said Lana, a 21-year-old waitress. She’s currently on a varsity baseball team. “I’m totally a tomboy. I’ve grown up playing sports and beating up on my brothers. You’ll find me in a jeans and t-shirt most of the time.”
“I love it!” said Maria, a very muscular 24-year-old who also competes as a professional bodybuilder. “I work hard to maintain my body and it’s nice to have a place where I can show it. I feel like it sets us apart from other restaurants and makes us unique. We’re the strongest waitresses you’ll ever meet.”
However, some of the staff expressed concerns about how customers might treat them or make inappropriate comments. Jessica, an 18-year-old student, had mixed feelings about taking on the job. With the rising costs of education, she decided to take a chance. “On one hand, I like that we’re breaking the mold of traditional gender roles and showcasing strong, athletic women,” she said. “But on the other hand, I don’t want to feel objectified or like I’m on display for male customers to ogle.”
Sarah, a 27-year-old post-graduate student, knew this all too well having been a waitress at other restaurants chains. “It always starts off as innocent flirting, then it gets creepy. Seriously, I’m not here to be someone’s waifu, wheyfu or whatever. I’m here to work.”
Managing the Strong Waitress Image
Cleothyia Hanson, Executive Vice-President, Marketing for Tomboy Country Steakhouse, said that the company was aware of the environment their waitresses faced. “We value all of our employees and our wage and scheduling options are among the best in the industry,” she said. “If you look at our tomboy wait staff, they are all healthy, strong and beautiful women who, if provoked, will kick your ass, hard.” Hanson herself is an accomplished martial artist who also teaches self-defense training classes for the restaurant’s employees. “Sadly, we’ve seen the type of wait staff most other restaurants hire and I think it’s very obvious of the unhealthy trend among their female staff. We’re different. We promote an empowering look for our female staff that embodies something healthier and as you can see, it’s caught on like hot, meaty steaks on a grill.”
Some critics argue that this message might be lost on customers who come to the restaurant for other reasons. “Let’s be frank, most of the customers who go there are not there for the food or the philosophy,” said Lily Joudia, a local actress and feminist activist who has been vocal about the restaurant’s marketing strategy. “They are there to ogle at the waitresses’ abs and fulfill their fantasies.”
Dr. Maria Perez, a gender studies professor at Rio Di Halla University, praised the restaurant for challenging the norm, but was skeptical of its long-term effects. “The fact that the waitresses are required to wear tight sports bras, and shorts and have to adopt a tomboyish look suggests that their appearance is more important than their skills or qualifications. This can create a hostile work environment and discourage women who don’t fit that athletic, tomboy mold from applying.”
Evolving Tomboy Country
The focus of adopting a specific, yet different look for strong waitresses by Tomboy Country Steakhouse raises important questions about the intersection of feminism, objectification, and business. While it is commendable that the brand promotes athleticism and diversity, it is also important to recognize the risks and limitations of such a marketing strategy. Society should continue to challenge narrow beauty standards and embrace diverse forms of strength and beauty.