Thursday, September 6, 2012

Do We Really Need Gendered Restaurants?

[I originally posted this at my general-interestbloviation blog, but since it relates to restaurants, I thought it would be worth cross-posting here.]

In the grand scheme of things, restaurant concepts aren't the most consequential of all possible things, so I won't take up too much of your time with it, but this story of a "steakhouse for women" bounced off my head today.

At some level, I get it: The traditional steakhouse ambiance — baked potatoes and great slabs of bloody beef, served up with multiple martinis, cocooned in an environment of dark tones and leather upholstery — is the quintessence of Hollywood masculinity. But does a separate-but-equal feminine counterpart work against that stereotype... or does it simply reinforce it?

Restaurants have all sorts of "hooks," some clever, some silly, and some borderline offensive, and ultimately there are more important things in the world... as hours of watching the Democratic National Convention this evening have driven home for me.

But all things being equal, I think I'd rather live in a world without gendered restaurants.

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