The UK does not want 'Hooters'. It is a retrograde step for a country dedicated to gender equality

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

It's a Knockout!

Read this news story if you want to spread your horror around!

"Hooters-Like Salon Goes for Final Approval"

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Response from Mumsnet on M&S/Hooters link

Kate from Mumsnet has posted the following on the Hooters/M&S thread:


We thought we should give you a quick update on where we're at re the M&S Hooters thang.

Some of you have asked whether we can ask M&S to review their association with Let Girls Be Girls, because doing business with Hooters is in conflict with supporting the campaign - if not technically, then in spirit. M&S have said in a statement that the decision is a purely commercial one - but clearly, not many MNers feel that this lets them off the hook.

We're pretty sympathetic to this point of view, and we're disappointed that M&S has chosen not to take note of the strong opposition amongst MNers. You might have seen Justine's interview in the Independent on Sunday, in which she expressed the strength of feeling here.

But after considerable thought, we've decided to hold fire for now. The Let Girls Be Girls campaign has a very specific remit - retailers who sign up commit 'not to sell products which play upon, emphasise or exploit' children's sexuality. While Hooters may be objectionable, it's not yet clear that they are objectionable on those terms - and right now we think that retroactively expanding the terms of the campaign would be a mistake.

But do rest assured that we're keeping a close eye on these threads - and of course don't feel deterred from using the boards to take your protest further. The best MN campaigns are usually driven by MNers and we are of course, more than happy to facilitate and comment in the press when asked.

Monday, 27 September 2010

The Mystery of the Vanishing Licence Application

This evening, at 9.30pm, I was walking past the Booby's site on Harbourside, just to double check the colouring of the licence application in the window (there was a rumour going round that if it was printed on the wrong colour paper, we could have a case). And there it was, where I've seen it so often, bold as brass, next to the brassy photo of a bold looking Hooters Girl not wearing much.

For now, I'll gloss over the interaction I had with in irate builder who spotted me looking at the sign to check the colour of the paper (sadly it was the palest blue I've ever seen, but just blue enough not to be the offencing white that we needed). As I walked down the road, he was just getting in his truck to drive off, but he got out when he saw me and came over, ready for an argument. His first words were, "You won't get it closed down." So I asked what made him think I wanted to get it closed down, I was just looking at the window. Anyway, we had a bit of a chat, which resulted in me walking off to be shouted at, "Get a life." (As opposed to, "Get a job with scruples.")

Anyway, not 15 minutes later, a fellow campaigner texted me to say the notice had gone. Which struck me as odd, so I rang her to double check we were talking about the same thing, and we were.

Now why would the builder (the only person visible on the premises, which had its lights off) be in such a hurry to go back into a building site that he was clearly leaving, just to remove a sign? Was he concerned that maybe the licence WAS on the wrong colour paper? Will it be replaced tomorrow, reprinted on a bright blue paper? I may well pop down in my lunch break to check.

Things I forget in my post re the job application...

Other recollections from my interview are coming back to me in dribs and drabs. Here’s some more…

Alex also told me there would be competitive eating, ie: see how many marshmallows you can stuff in your gob at once.

Oh, and he asked if I had made cocktails, so I said yes (does pouring a can of Coke into some rum in my kitchen count? I can add some cranberry juice to some vodka, too, if required). However, I was under the impression (having sat through the tedious licensing hearing on September 1) that there was going to be no back bar and therefore no cocktails. Hmm.

Alex had made it clear from the start that on the Saturday they were only interviewing for hosts. However, while we were chatting I saw a large man come in and start filling in a form. So I queried Alex on this, and he said that guy was applying for a job in the kitchen. (Although, he’d just said Saturday was only for hosts. Confusing). I asked if all the hosts were female, and he said mostly, but there were some men.

NB: Does anyone, anywhere have anything to add to this – because this is brand new information to me, and I’ve done tons of Hooters research in the past month or two, and never encountered news of a Hooters Boy. Presumably their rarity would make them an interesting topic of conversation if they existed? The lesser spotted Hooters Boy. Or perhaps they are less photogenic than the girls. If they do exist, I am curious to know what they wear. Presumably, nothing but their pants.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Applying for a job as Hooters' Girl - part three: busted.

Alex greeted me warmly, asked my name, shook my hand, asked what post I was applying for (and told me they were only interviewing hostesses today), and led me over to a “comfy chair” in the corner for our interview.

We chatted for maybe 30-40 minutes, during which I learned he had worked for TGI Friday for eight years, was the kitchen manager of the Bristol Hooters, and his girlfriend disapproved of him working there (as do her friends). Fortunately he had a lot of statistics to quote about the amount of money Hooters Girls raise for charity (especially breast cancer charities – despite him saying Breast Cancer Research did not want to be linked to them) to appease her. Although when I asked exactly what sort of activities the girls did to raise money he was rather vague, and said something about comedy night. “Do the girls tell jokes?” I asked. He looked at me like I was stupid, “No”. Oh.

Anyway, he wasn’t that interested in my relevant experience. I said I’d worked in bars for eight years. He didn’t ask what I did at those bars, what the bars were called, where they were (I just said “London” and had made up two names on the application form), how I dealt with drunks and trouble makers etc. Apparently not relevant.

He did say, “Do you mind if I ask your age?”, obviously realising I wasn’t 18. On the verge of lying, I admitted I was 32 and asked apologetically, “Is that too old?” He was quick to say they didn’t discriminate by age, and that it was sometimes helpful to have an “older” person (I repeat, 32 – “older”) to supervise the other hostesses who were mostly a lot younger and “less experienced”. In short, at 32 I was a matronly figure. Flattering.

I said I used to live in Nottingham and had gone to the Hooters there regularly. He was quick to stress the Bristol one would be more “classy”. The Nottingham one is more of a bar, this is more of a restaurant. No stand-up drinking, no over-crowding… when asked, he started to say no t-shirt competitions or no cheerleader chance routines, but then in the next minute he backtracked and said there would be some singing and dancing from the girls, and probably some beauty competitions on special occasions.

He said the Bristol bar was keen to get away from the stag night and footy crowd reputation of the Nottingham one, and that is why they were situated where they were (ie, close to meat market club Oceana, and within spitting distance of what the police call the most violent area of Bristol). I learned customers would be allowed two drinks each, and then hostesses would have to ask management approval to serve customers with more drinks. He did not say what would happen if a customer had got drunk somewhere else beforehand and then arrived at Hooters, beyond something vague about the door staff only allowing people in at their discretion.

When I asked what happened if a customer got a bit too ‘friendly’ with any of the hostesses, I was told (and this is hilarious) that they had good relations with the police (a ha ha ha ha ha ha), that they could call the police if need be (because an attacker is sure to wait 10 mins for the police to arrive before assaulting a woman), and there were men in the kitchen who could come out and calm a situation if required. How reassuring. No offence to Alex as he seemed as naïve as a newborn baby, but he’s one of the kitchen staff and he looked barely taller than me (5ft 5), and it didn’t look like he worked out much. I wouldn’t fancy my chances of him rescuing me from an attacker.

He told me a lot of guff about charity work, which was boring, and I didn’t listen properly as it sounded like PR wank. I was also getting tired of hearing the word “girls” bandied about with such patronising abandon.

When some other women came in to apply, and then walked out shouting “Sexist” loudly during my interview, Alex looked very embarrassed and said to me, “I’m sorry you had to hear that.” Oh bless him. I took the opportunity to ask what he thought about the negative reaction Hooters had been getting from some groups. He said it was all overblown, people had misunderstood the brand, and it was a very family-friendly place. (He’s a liar, it seems).

He said they’d let me know in seven days, and gave me a special Hooters pen to take home and treasure. I’ve put it in a safe place. The bin.

- Sadly, after I got home an hour and a half later, a person called Annette Ainsworth ( had sent a rather blunt email saying:

“Thank you for completing an application form today for the position of Host, our records show that you left without speaking to a member of management re this opportunity.”

Which confused me, as after our interview, Alex had shaken my hand and walked me to the lift to say goodbye. I will email back to let them know that my email address does not accept messages from sexist scum.

Applying for a job as Hooters' Girl - part two

Ooh, my nerves, my nerves. Saturday has dawned, I’m all of a-fluster. Why? Because today, at 1pm, I will get one step nearer to fulfilling my dream of becoming a world famous Hooters Girl. Tacky and unrefined it may be, but it would be great to work somewhere with such a positive attitude to women, in such a women-friendly environment, to meet all those lovely gentlemen AND to get paid for it. What would be better?

So I put a bit of slap on, a low-cut top and my very best Converse (well, I can’t sell my soul completely), and headed off to Harbourside. It was a lovely late-September day, the sun was out, and masses of families and young people were having a hoot enjoying BrisFest by the side of the water. A great family day out.

Just around the corner from the new Hooters venue (where, sickeningly, the sign went up yesterday – I took some photos, which will be attached, before I got chased off by an irate builder in a hard hat – and no, that’s not a euphemism), is Bristol’s family-friendly science museum, @Bristol, where Hooters had hired some space for interviews. Following the signs (see attached photos), I went in, asked the receptionist for directions, and she pointed me to the lift and told me to go to the second floor.

En route to the lift, I passed lots of families with very young children, all having fun in the café and enjoying the exhibitions, or posing with the big statue of Morph. Ahh, lovely to see kids enjoying themselves. I even shared the lift with some very young children (maybe six years old?) as I headed up for the second floor. As I did, I wondered what other kind of young ladies would be sharing the lift with other young children that day, and what sort of scantily-dressed women here for the audition those kids were going to see. Tasteful.

Out on the second floor, a tacky piece of laminated A4 with ‘Hooters’ and the logo on was blu-tac-ed to the door, so I nervously went in. There was no one there, and it felt cold, empty and miserable. A young man, Alex, came out to greet me, and showed me into the ‘office’ – through a door with a poster of a Hooters’ girl tacked on. Inside were several people working there, who all looked at me doubtfully (I’m in my early 30s and look like a normal person, rather than a pneumatic doll), none of them offered me a drink from the many arranged on a table, but they gave me a form (the same as on the website) to fill in, before my interview.

To be continued…

Applying for a job as Hooters' Girl - part one

When an established Hooters breastaurant advertises for staff, you are encouraged to apply in person – obviously so they can assess what physical qualities you will bring to the team. However, as the Bristol (and Cardiff and Brighton) ones have yet to open their doors, the application process has been online. The downside for Hooters here being they don’t know what you look like.

Thankfully, Hooters decided to lease a room from @Bristol on the afternoon of Saturday, September 25 for three hours, to hold open interviews for prospective hostesses. It had very low-key advertising, and we only heard on the day before because someone who had applied had received an email saying:

“Thank you for your recent application to Hooters of Bristol via our website. Due to the volume of applicants we are holding an initial recruitment open day.

The event will be held at the - @Bristol, Anchor Road, Bristol, BS1 5DB (On the Harbourside) this Saturday the... 25th September between 1pm and 4pm.

You are invited to drop in and discuss our opportunities further with our management team. You will find us upstairs, just follow the signs!!!

We look forward to meeting you.”

(What a scary amount of exclamation points. !!!)

Well, we weren’t so keen on meeting them but felt after all this hype and publicity we’ve been helping to generate for them that it would only be polite to show our faces.  But before that, we quickly checked on the issue of @Bristol (a charity that rents its building from Bristol City Council) leasing a room to an exploitative breastaurant in order to recruit young staff, and pay them the minimum wage for such a demeaning and degrading job.

It was all especially concerning as, after the Dita Von Teese debacle at the Council-run Bristol Museum back in May, the council and its Chief Executive Jan Ormondroyd had promised Bristol Fawcett Society that nothing like this would ever happen again on council property. As a gesture, on Friday we learned Hooters had been told they could not put posters up of their girls anywhere on @Bristol. That’s OK then.

To be continued…

Sign of the Times

It's official. Depressingly, on Friday (September 24, a day late I'm told, by Hooters' new kitchen manager, Alex) the signage went up on the Bristol breastaurant. The interior is coming along a treat, too. Has anyone got a brick we can throw through their windows? (Of course, I don't mean that).

Monday, 20 September 2010

Hooters employs a girl for her looks shock!

Here's an interesting article from the Wall Street Journal blog about a former employee of Hooters who is suing for weight discrimination.

Apparently they don't have a waitress requirement but they do have a uniform requirement...

Extra extra small, extra small or small.  And with big 'hooters' of course!

Wall Street Journal blog

3 national newspapers and the local rag in 2 days

So what are M&S going to do now?  We wait with bated breath.  Will they keep trotting out that "it's a commercial decision?"  Or will they finally wake up to the fact that their reputation is suffering over this?

Place your bets now.....
Sunday Telegraph article

The Independent on Sunday article

The Sun article

Small World article

Jack Bristol article

The Evening Post article

Interesting article on Civitas about corporate responsibility following on the M&S/Hooters debacle

The Christian Institute - who mention David Cameron's concerns about the sexualisation of young girls

The India Times!

Link to Independent article on Parent Pages

Random US blog called Strangeguys!

South West Business News

Froxter (whatever that is!) article

The story was also discussed on Radio 5 last night and on Heart FM this morning.

EP says it treats sexism as 'general abuse'. That's OK,then.

Following today's story in the EP with them backtracking on the Hooters issue (I refuse to post a link and further their web traffic - but if you want to see it, I'm sure you know how to find it), I emailed their website moderators ( complaining about how many sexist and abusive comments were appearing, and why there was no drop-down box to brand them 'sexist' under 'report abuse' - yet there are boxes to brand comments as spam or impersonation etc. 
This was the reply I got:
"We take all reports of abuse very seriously and will remove any that breach our house rules.

We do not have a category for all different types of abuse as many can be classified as 'general abuse' with user notes to tell us more details.

The lack of a sexism category is not down to us not taking it seriously, it's down to us trying to keep the list concise so it's not too much for users to wade through."
So, just so we're clear, sexist comments and those endorsing violence against women (which appeared and were removed this morning), are merely 'general abuse' in the eyes of the EP, who can't see them for the infinitely more damaging comments from damaged minds that they are.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

National Press Coverage on Hooters

IN the Sunday Telegraph:

And in the Independent on Sunday (although their angle is purely on the mumsnet side of things, so the vast amount of campaigning BFN have been doing doesn't get a mention)

Interesting to see how the national press are able to write balanced and accurate stories about this issue, without suggesting that feminists are imposing their views on others, or have an axe to grind. Perhaps our local press could take note!

Friday, 17 September 2010

The Perfect Girl

This is exactly who Hooters would like to employ. I know, it's not a Hooters-endorsed picture, but it might as well be...

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Hooters girls fired for being 'fat'

If you are a family friendly restaurant with a wholesome image, why would you fire someone for being too fat?

Or is it because, in fact, Hooters merely wish to perpetuate a narrow view that sees women as only and always sex objects, rather than as full human beings?

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Have your children's birthday parties at Hooters!

Your child could have as much fun as this 12 year old!

12 year old's birthday party!

The Evening Post Hooters love affair

So, today yet another article appeared in the evening post about hooters.

i have lost count of the number that have appeared but needless to say it must be around 10 in the last two or three weeks.

I'd love to know how much money hooters are promising the post for a full page ad. are they paying them by the number of times they mention the word hooters, the number of articles or the number of hooters in the headlines? ha ha!

Needless to say, the evening post have certainly changed their tune from two years ago, when they didn't seem all that keen on welcoming the self styled 'breastaurant' to bristol.

I am not big headed enough to think that it might have something to do with the paper's dislike of feminists...?

Needless to say, the reporting has been fairly inaccurate and erratic to say the least. the article today barely makes sense, and seems to ramble on about how in the 60s there were lots of strip clubs in clifton, and now there aren't. Fascinating.

The post has covertly suggested that it was feminists who were trying to set the council's agenda, resulting in a host of comments about feminists imposing their views on the city. Of course, this is untrue. We didn't make a formal objection to the council (we didn't have time) and so the only people who imposed their views on anyone are the police (who's objection the council disregarded) and the councillors themselves, led by Guy Poultney. This was reported in the article the day after the decision was made to give hooters a licence, however perhaps the inclusion of a quote from me meant it came across that we were setting the agenda.

Other articles flat out criticised feminists for daring to have opinions and talk about them. Feminists who fought so the female journalist could have a career in the media, could vote for the Tory values the paper loves, who, you know, did a lot to make women's and men's lives better.

And then the comments. From the hilarious self styled Gene Hunt, who flung homophobic insults about like they were going out of fashion, to the endless suggestions that we are all fat, ugly and jealous (not that the two former points matter - but you know what i mean) to pictures being posted of what they imagine i look like, aspersion being cast on our private lives and even insults directed at my family.

You can't help but think the pro hooters crowd are strangely desperate and angry. they're shouting, criticising and frustrated name calling was all so surreal and immature, it made us feel stronger in our own argument.

Our petition had nearly 800 signatures when we presented it to the council. Clearly the anti feeling towards hooters is far stronger, and far greater than the Evening Post wishes to report, or the pro hooters crowd want to admit.

If the violent language is any signifier to the actions of the men who will soon be frequenting Hooters, i feel the police may well have been right to object to the license on the grounds of crime and disorder.

Mumsnet don't want hooters either

They called it the Mumsnet election and there is no doubt that the forum for mums has a lot of clout in the media and political world.

It was mumsnet who accelerated the debate about sexualisation about young girls and set up a large and widely recognised campaign to try and put an end to it.

So successful, that British shopping PowerHouse Marks and Spencer signed up, committing themselves to help end the commercial sexualisation of young girls.

Imagine this mumsnet member's surprise then, when she discovered Marks and Spencer were helping Hooters set up in Bristol.

Hooters is the bar that not only sells babygrows (see post below) but tried to host an under 5 pageant, Little Miss Hooters (they didn't succeed)

Surely it is naive at best, and seriously hypocritical at worst for M&S, who have so proudly waved the mumsnet flag in their desire to end the sexualisation of little girls, to lease their buildings to a business who call themselves a breastaurant, host iced water wet t-shirt competitions, and generally prescribe to that charming notion that women are objects to be leered at, who should always laugh at mens' jokes and live to serve. But who, of course, are disposable once their hooters looks fade.

We haven't had an answer from M&S as to why, unlike Ask Pizza, they think it is ok to be associated with the Hooters business. Perhaps Mumsnet will have more success?

Getting the Lord Mayor to listen

HI all

Here's the footage from the council meeting where Steph got the longest applause of the night and Ches got the biggest cheers

Friday, 10 September 2010

It's not just sexual exploitation, it's M&S sexual exploitation

So good old M&S, trustworthy M&S, backbone of Britain M&S have decided to help Bristol get its the country's 3rd 'Hooters'.

We'd just like to say:                       Thanks Marks and Spencer!

I mean, really thank you!  Your lack of ethics and decision making based entirely on "commercial" factors will now mean that Hooters can offer "something different" to Bristol.  Did you know that the people of Bristol will soon be able to order some chicken breasts (fnarr, fnarr), some baps (hurr hurr) and some jugs (oh I kill myself!!) of beer, all served by a pretty young girl with her cleavage on show and wearing a pair of scratchy orange hotpants!

The good people of Bristol will also be able to:

*view bikini contests whilst munching on their chicken wings, 
*judge iced wet t-shirt competitions whilst enjoying their salad and 
*browse through the latest 'Hooters girl' calendar whilst ordering the food for their children's parties!

Bristol really is privileged to be getting this.  The city was looking a bit stale - I mean a lap dancing club just got turned down - so a good bit of old fashioned sexism will really shake up the vibrant nightlife in this quiet area (opposite residential apartment blocks).

If you'd like to write and thank Marks and Spencer for their thoughtfulness, the address is:

I'm sure they'd love to hear how grateful we are that they're helping to bring Hooters to Bristol!

Let's dress misogyny up as empowerment and try and convince everyone we're just talking about owls!

From the website:

"Claims that Hooters exploits attractive women are as ridiculous as saying the NFL exploits men who are big and fast. Hooters Girls have the same right to use their natural female sex appeal to earn a living as do super models Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell. To Hooters, the women’s rights movement is important because it guarantees women have the right to choose their own careers, be it a Supreme Court Justice or Hooters Girl.

The chain acknowledges that many consider "Hooters" a slang term for a portion of the female anatomy. Hooters does have an owl inside its logo and uses an owl theme sufficiently to allow debate to occur over the meaning's intent. The chain enjoys and benefits from this debate. In the end, we hope Hooters means a great place to eat."

Oh please.......

Ok, some people may have fallen for this argument (not naming any names but certain Lib Dem councillors spring to mind) but the intelligent people in this country think this kind of rhetoric is a load of old turkey twizzlers.

DVD fun for all the family

Since Hooters is such a family-friendly restaurant, why not get a copy of the best of Hooters' wet t-shirts competitions DVD, and sit down with the kids this weekend? Something for everyone. Even dad.

"It blows my mind"

An amusing bon mot from a Bristolian man who is less than convinced Hooters has "something different" to offer our city, whatever Cllr Poultney thinks.

Thanks, Tom.

Stock up on Imodium before you go there...

for your baby part two

And here's the one for girls.

Fancy starting off strict gender roles and low self esteem from the cradle? You can with Hooters!

for your baby...

Hooters now sell Babygrows emblazoned with sexist slogans.

It's not big. it's not clever

soon to be infamous...

Hooters is opening in Bristol

The council have given Hooters a licence to open on the Bristol waterfront, despite the men and women in Bristol saying they don't want this to happen.