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

Friday, 11 March 2011

Hooters and Bristol University Student Union - Part One

Just incase people think we’ve been quiet… we haven’t. So think again!
While the Hooters in Bristol has opened, we’re overjoyed to note that every time (without fail) we pass it (day or night, weekday or weekend), the place is usually almost deserted, with a few, lonely, sad men rattling around with the chilly women serving them grease on a tray. Even a visiting American friend (who doesn’t mind Hooters), said the Bristol one was a depressing example of an American chain. Hurrah.
But while it does remain a blot on Bristol’s copybook, we need to keep an eye on it and make sure the stain doesn’t spread. One thing we’ve been keeping watch on is whether Hooters takes it into their peabrains to start sponsoring sports teams at the Student Union, or advertising generally in the Student Union. Despite the Student Union having strict equality and gender policies, Hooters in Nottingham has managed to squirm its way into sponsoring not only university teams but SCHOOL sports teams (yuck).
Back in October, we were particularly unimpressed by a ‘for’ and ‘against’ piece in the student paper ‘Epigram’, which included a lot of ignorant and unhelpful comments (and a few out-and-out LIES) in the ‘for’ argument. I emailed the editor, the Student Union president, the equalities officer and a ton of others… this is a summary of that letter:

Dear [Epigram editor}

Today I picked up a copy of Epigram (dated October 25) and was dismayed but not surprised by the deliberately provocative and cheap journalism you have resorted to in favour of balanced and responsible reporting.

I’m specifically referring to your comment pieces for the Hooters breastaurant. [NAME REMOVED] has written a fair and sensible piece stating in a nutshell what she believes to be wrong with Hooters. While [NAME REMOVED] says that “boobies and chicken wings” are better than “vomit”: does she not think anyone will ever vomit outside Hooters?

[NAME REMOVED] asserts that protestors have labelled Hooters girls as prostitutes. As a newspaper editor, I am sure you have sourced the range of printed and valid evidence that you will know you legally require to back up such a slur against the anti-Hooters group, and I would call you to produce it in the light of making such a defamatory statement.

[NAME REMOVED] also digs out a tried reference to “bra burners”. If she had done a little homework she would realise that feminists never burned their bras, and this is a saggy myth brought out by people who know very little about something they have decided to be uptight about.

She makes reference to the “focus on food and a children’s menu”. Yet only paragraphs before she said “I will not attempt to claim that Hooters is a family fun restaurant”. I’m confused about what you think you think, [NAME REMOVED], and I think you are, too.

I will end by repeating a line from [NAME REMOVED]’s column: “This is not harmless.” She writes in reference to Hooters. I repeat it echoing her sentiments about Hooters, but also applying it to Epigram’s negative attitude to its female students. And yes, I noticed the editor and many of the staff are female.

Yours impatiently

(to be continued…)

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