Welcome to 'Grab'n'Go' Bikini Hut - a coffee shop in Washington State that offers coffees, teas(e), and other hot liquids made by bikini-clad baristas.
The city of Everett, about 30 miles north of Seattle, is home to numerous bikini barista espresso stands, where servers dressed in everything from tasteful two-piece swimsuits to pasties and G-strings serve up lattes and Americanos at a drive-thru window.
But these successful entrepreneurs - having found an angle that differentiates them from your ubiquitous Starbucks numbness - face being shut down by local officials who are set to tighten the city’s regulations on what constitutes lewd behavior and push to institute a dress code that bans employees from wearing bikinis or showing too much bare skin.
Jovanna Edge, who co-owns five “Hillbilly Hotties” stands, denies that any illegal activity is encouraged and balks at the city’s claim that the stands -- with prices comparable to Starbucks -- attract crime or demean women.
She added that without the bikinis, the baristas would not make as much money as they do.
“My business generates more money than a regular, non-bikini-barista, stand because my employees express themselves through their manner of dress,” Edge said.
“By wearing a bikini, my employees expose messages through tattoos and scars, and they are able to open conversations that attract customers willing to pay more at my business than other coffee stands.”
As Fox News reports, the laws are just the final straw in a years-long battle against bikini baristas stands.
“The Constitution doesn’t allow the government to regulate the content of speech because the government disagrees with it,” Derek Newman, an attorney representing one of the baristas, told the Seattle Times.
“If the First Amendment was so limited, NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality would not be protected expression because the president interprets this as anti-American sentiment.”
Everett lawmakers have been steamed about the coffee stands for years – arguing everything from obscenity to mob ties – officials are taking a page out of the headlines and citing a new argument: The skin-flaunting coffee servers could turn men into the next Harvey Weinstein.
“The male gaze on bikinied women is on the continuum of sexualization of women,” wrote Mary Anne Layden, the director of the Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology program at the University of Pennsylvania and an expert witness for the city of Everett.
“When you make the body a commodity, and sex a product which you sell, one outcome is sexual violence... If you can sell it, you can steal it.”
By this logic - the question has to be asked of every 'accuser' that has come forward in recent weeks, calling out everyone from Kevin Spacey to John Conyers and Roy Moore, what were they wearing before they were abused? Can you imagine the leftist uproar?
* * *
The baristas also say that their rights are being impinged upon and instead of feeling degraded when wearing a bikini, they feel empowered.
“This is about women’s rights,” coffee server Natalie Bjerk said, according to the Daily Star.
“The city council should not tell me what I can and cannot wear when I go to work; it’s a violation of my First Amendment rights.”
One such barista from Ladybug Espresso strongly agrees:
Welcome to the Land of The Free!!!