Foxtail is a frat boy’s wet dream | Features | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper
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Foxtail is a frat boy’s wet dream 

That’s not a good thing. In fact, it’s very, very wrong.

click to enlarge Foxtail - CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
  • CP photo: Jared Wickerham
  • Foxtail

Walking into Foxtail on South Side is like entering a frat boy’s wet dream. The venue, formerly known as Diesel, boasts itself as “one of the city’s most attractive bars.” Attractive in whose eyes? Its hyper-sexualized environment was undoubtedly made with the male gaze in mind. 

Outside the building, Foxtail's name is illuminated in yellow lights with blinking bulbs rounding the sign’s perimeter. It’s a nod to Las Vegas: flashy, bright, and alluring. 

Inside, the blatant sexualization of women is like a slap in the face to any, well, woman. Bartenders, all women, were dressed in see-through mesh tops and short shorts. The hostesses wore bralettes, bikini bottoms, fishnets, and high socks. With full face makeup and similar body types (long hair, big chests, and flat stomachs), women’s appearances seemed to fit specific criteria.

The club’s name, Foxtail, is also a double entendre. In the sex-toy industry, a foxtail is a butt-plug that can make the wearer look as though they have a tail.

To the right of the bar, on the first floor, is a huge sign in neon purple, pink, and yellow that reads “trust me, love me, f*ck me.” Spray-painted on a brick wall towards the back is a giant set of black and white wings, similar to those on the wall next to Local, with one difference; written above the picture-taking spot is the phrase “my boyfriend is away…”

Upstairs, the signage continues. One with a mirrored background reads “I f*cking love f*cking you” in pink lettering. Another, poised above a painted pair of eyes, reads “well-behaved women rarely make history.” That saying is a popular take on the quote "well-behaved women seldom make history" from Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, a women’s studies professor at Harvard. But Ulrich meant to uplift women and motivate the breaking of gender norms, in Foxtail’s worldview “well-behaved women rarely make history” seems raunchy and sexual.

If a woman wants to wear minimal clothing, she should. If a woman wants to wear a full face of makeup because that’s what makes her feel beautiful, she should. But in the environment Foxtail fosters, the elements create a degrading experience.

This emphasis on appearance and sex encourages the separation of a woman’s body from her person. And when women are repeatedly objectified, their bodies hyper-sexualized, in a place such as Foxtail, harmful gender stereotypes that can trivialize violence against women are often reinforced, which goes against “well-behaved women rarely make history.”

Foxtail isn’t empowering women. It is pushing that women should look a certain way, that they should love sex and pleasing men. Its business strategy leaves nothing to the imagination and shows no imagination. Neither approach is likely to pay off in an increasingly progressive Pittsburgh. 

Foxtail is out of touch. Pittsburghers would do well to keep out.

Follow staff writer Jordan Snowden on Twitter @snowden_jordan

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