Recently, I toured the soon-to-open Burwell’s Stone Fire Grill, where co-owner Ken Emery explained their “Ladies Steakhouse” concept. As much as I tried, I just couldn’t seem to grasp this strategy. He assured me the restaurant wouldn’t scare men away with kittens and rainbows, an adolescent image for women that punched my inner feminist squarely in the face.

The well-meaning restaurateurs have substantially renovated the former Gilligan’s in order to open up the space to create an environment fit for their concept. “We’ve found that there are certain elements that make traditional steakhouses feel like a boy’s club,” notes Emery. “We want to add another dimension and create an atmosphere that is more approachable for everyone.”

To find out what qualities make one steakhouse more appealing to women than another, Emery and fellow co-owner John Thomas crafted a focus group to gain insight. What they learned is that women need space for socializing where they can “see and be seen.” To that end, there will be 10 different social pockets, including a 21-seat bar, a lounge area, a VIP wine cellar, a community table, and finally, the “most romantic table in Charleston,” (’cause chicks dig the romance). With no real divides and the ceiling open to the second floor loft, these areas are designed so guests can mingle with or observe others (OMG, she wore that?). Emery also appears particularly excited for the bathrooms. Perhaps to give the ladies more room to primp, these luxuriously large restrooms could qualify as spa lounges.

Chicks also like wood (no pun intended). “Our focus group found that wood is an attractive element in restaurants,” Emery says. Hence, the restaurant chose to restore the 1894 wood boards that rise from the first floor into the loft area. The ambiance strives to be sophisticated and electric, contrasting cool and warm colors in a muted fire and water motif. The website describes this atmosphere, “It is this energy, this magnetism, and this sexual polarity that defines Burwell’s from inside to out.” Wait, magnetism, sexual polarity, what? Are we talking about a steakhouse here?

They’ve glammed up the menu too, giving gals more options because, as the website declares, “Traditionally, women were bound to ‘one’ cut of beef, the filet mignon.” This claim continues, “Burwell’s has completely redesigned and modernized the age-old steak menu to include several cuts exceptionally well suited for women, as well as the men.” That’s right, Emery and Thomas want to break through those oppressive chains of culinary prison and offer innovative cuts of steaks to appeal to the ladies. At last, this modern age we live in will now incorporate a place for women to tear into a steak without feeling fat.

Now, I know I’m not the only one raising an eyebrow at this venture, especially on the heels of the “Bic For Her” fiasco, when the pen company was roasted for its female-specific ballpoint design with feminine colors and a smaller barrel for lady hands. And this quote from the website doesn’t really clear things up: “This steakhouse is not designed exclusively for females. Rather, it is best explained with one simple word….’Lingerie.’ Both men and women love it!” What is this gender-specific world of dining where lingerie and steak share our devotion?

Emery assures us that catering to women is not new, and, in fact, other female-specific steakhouses are on the rise. Eva Longoria is opening her own female friendly steakhouse in Las Vegas called Chic.

When asked about the challenge to make this less about stereotypes and more as a general improvement, Emery says, “We’re not trying to play on sexuality like Eva Longoria is at Chic. In fact, trimming down cuts also coincides well with the current trends in the meat market.” Emery continues, “Truth is, meat prices are on the rise. On top of that, American families are moving towards lighter, healthier portions. Trimming the meat makes sense in that right too.”

Emery has apparently been reading the Atlantic Monthly and wants to welcome women as directors of change, citing their role as the drivers of our new society. The website claims, “America is more of a two-income society. Women are in the workplace and attending all those work conferences. And women are hugely responsible for their own, their businesses, and their families dining decisions.”

Of course, this recognition of womanpower misses the point because their marketing strategy is based entirely on silly stereotypes where delicate women would buckle under the weight of the steak knife needed to slice into a big fat T-Bone.

Yeah, I get it. It’s just a restaurant. And, yes, the decisions in this case are small — what steak to eat — but it indicates much more in how marketing ploys are mining gender stereotypes to appeal to a mythical creature and burnish their bottom line. Real women don’t just eat salads so let’s rethink whether our restaurants need to reflect our gender.

After all, lingerie, fancy cocktails, and plush bathrooms aside, what we’re left with at Burwell’s is two dudes eagerly stumbling around trying to find out what women want, and that’s never a good thing.