About-Face BlogBody ImageOn The PulseSexualization

Two Shots, Skim Milk, No Bikinis!

By July 14, 2008 3 Comments

Is it just me, or is the term “sex sells” getting as old as the phrase “surf’s up?”
Bikini Barristas
(Click the photo to watch the video on CNN’s site.)
CNN, being the intellectual news source that it is (ha!) reported on something quite relevant. Yes, they did a short piece on bikini-clad baristas in Seattle, Washington. Apparently, these baristas are making double and triple the usual tips because they are wearing bikinis while brewing coffee instead of um…clothes. The coffee kiosk is located across from the needle landmark Seattle is best known for.

The first thing I felt while watching this news clip was a distinct chill. The second was an extreme sense of irritation. I thought back to my family vacations as a child and wondered how I would have felt as a little girl seeing two young women in bikinis selling their, ahem “merchandise” (pun intended). How awkward would that be, especially if my parents were around? I would wonder if that is what it meant to be a woman — that in order to double my income, I would need to “flaunt it.”

And can we bring it back to the weather? What happens when it rains? Do they accessorize with Ugg boots to keep warm? Does someone make Ugg pasties for these poor girls? It all looks pretty gloomy in the video clip.

I could go on about the continued sexualization of women. I could also comment on the body types of these women. Would they receive less tips if they were 15 pounds heavier? Does the employer discriminate against applicants based on their sizes?

Instead, I am going to encourage action. If you live in Seattle and you know the coffee stand this news story is referring to, write or call them. Tell them to put clothes on their employees! Write to your local government’s tourism department and file a complaint. What is the real attraction to Seattle? And if you’re traveling to Seattle, please don’t encourage it by going to this stand, unless you’re going to take a stand.

–A.J.