Oh Selena Gomez. I love your girl power anthem. I love your big old charitable heart. But if you were my teenage daughter, I'd have to knock some sense into you. I don't care if your boyfriend is Justin Bieber. When he says, "Let's go to Hooters," you say, "Thanks but how about having a little more respect for me, huh?"
I know, I know, they've got great wings. But it's a place that's all about objectifying women. And the last thing I want my daughter thinking is, "Ooh, yes, my boyfriend wants to take me out for a meal where he gets to stare at another woman's boobies in a tight shirt while I sit there and LIKE it."
And yet Selena didn't just go to Hooters with the Biebs, she shared a photo of their trip with her fans via Instagram. The picture of the 17-year-old Bieber shows him looking at the Hooters' menu with the caption: "he's staring really hard at something."
Oh right, maybe there's a hot chick on there. That's hilarious!
Here's the thing. Selena seems like a pretty with it, together chick. She's smart. Talented. The whole nine. I have had no problem so far with letting my daughter look up to her. But not only will I not tell my daughter about this little Hooters incident, I hope Selena herself takes a deeper look at her little joke and realizes she's BETTER than that.
Girls who are subjected to men objectifying them specifically because of their gender have been shown to suffer detrimental effects. Studies have found the women will shut down, literally turning off their voices to allow the man to "enjoy" her body over her mind.
Now let's take that one step further. People afraid to speak up within the confines of a relationship are also more likely to be victims of domestic abuse. Outside of the relationship, they're more like to limit themselves in other social interactions -- so she may just be your timid teen daughter today, but tomorrow she'll be the woman passed over for a promotion because she's too afraid to stick up for herself.
Women can be made uncomfortable at any age, but the teen years are particularly precarious because girls are just coming to grips with a new body, with hormones, and with the issue of having to speak for themselves and defend themselves rather than having parents do it for them.
It may just be one measly trip to Hooters, but if your teen daughter's boyfriend thinks this is cool, does he really respect her? Would you feel comfortable sending your teenager on a date to Hooters?
Image by Jeanne Sager