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

Friday, 26 November 2010

Hell Yeah, it’s Hooters in Cardiff

Cardiff Hooters opened it’s sweaty, baseball-bat encrusted doors on Monday, and has since enjoyed a flurry of favourable reports on the Cardiff Blog arm of the Guardian newspaper’s website. Here are some links:

Here’s one, here’s another one, and, oh look, here’s one more. Here’s their restaurant review.
Good lord, there's ANOTHER one. I’ll stop here, but doubtless there are other, older references, too. Yawny, yawn yawn.

All this coverage would be fine if, instead of masquerading as unbiased news reportage, it actually was unbiased news reportage. Instead, while reporting the news (ie, a bar called Hooters has opened on a high street in central Cardiff, and some silly old stick-in-the-muds moaned), the stories have all been given a twist of supercilious sneer towards the campaigners, and a ‘Hell yeah, to Hooters.’ No mention of the soft porn elements of Hooters ANYWHERE. Yet go in any Hooters (or even visit their website), and they're spunked up in your face. Nice. So none of these many stories have actually given readers the full information. Hmm.

Fortunately, the open-minded folk over at the Cardiff Guardian offered a tentative arm to us to put forward our factually-rounded opinions, which we did, after gritting our teeth and visiting the new breastaurant. We were really pleased with this offer and gratefully welcomed the opportunity to finally put across the fully-informed side of the Hooters soft porn business. However, upon reflection, the Cardiff Guardian Blog decided the piece was full of “unsubstantiated points” and did not wish to print it. Oh. (NB: I assured them that every single word was true and offered to send them references to substantiate every point they doubted, but they declined to answer). Oh well.

So, sadly, yet ANOTHER example of a newspaper brand not wishing to allow its readers to know the full story of a current topic. One which is especially relevant in light of yesterday being the UN’s International End Violence Against Women Day.

Suffice to say that visiting Cardiff Hooters was depressing. Not least for that fact that despite it only having been open for four days, neither the staff nor customers seemed very happy. But I thought Hooters made you happy? There were even posters there to tell me so. I found these most informative. Along with the vests worn by the staff that said 'Hooters', so that I knew where their breasts were.

My male friend and I queued among pumped young men in tight t-shirts, and observed that 95% of the customers fitted this description. Despite being primed to expect cheers on arrival, no one received such a welcome. All we got was a badly managed queue, and an instruction to wait. A bit later, a cross Hooters’ girl looked at us then walked off. We weren’t the only ones being ignored. After half an hour of no service we left. Even the seated customers didn’t look like they were having quite as good a time at Hooters as they’d been led to believe. And surprisingly few of them actually had any food in front of them.

Considering that Bill McTaggart, who has the dubious honour of owning the UK Hooters franchise, was wandering around looking like an old man baffled to find himself at a teenage slumber party, I’d have thought service would have been better. To be clear: he was fully clothed.
  • Hooters needs to acknowledge it is part of the sex industry, and take responsibility for the part it plays in the normalisation of violence against women. 
  • Newspapers (whether national, local or online) need to stop printing half the story, and indulge their readers with the full facts. How else can people make an informed decision? Well, that’s what I was taught at my journalism course, but maybe that’s a silly, old-fashioned notion.

1 comment:

  1. I'd like to add that since posting this piece, Cardiff Guardian have got in touch to clarify the issues they wanted substantiated, and have been sent the references. Just so we're all square.


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