Hooters comes to Sheffield
Laura // 2 March 2008
Yes, you read that right, the outdated and downright embarrassingly sexist US bar and restaurant staffed by sexyTM women is opening in Sheffield on the 22nd March. Female employees have to acknowledge and affirm the following:
1. My job duties require I wear the designated Hooters Girl uniform.
2. My job duties require that I interact with and entertain the customers.
3. The Hooters concept is based on female sex appeal and the work environment is one in which joking and sexual innuendo based on female sex appeal is commonplace.
I do not find my job duties, uniform requirements, or work environment to be offensive, intimidating, hostile, or unwelcome.
In other words, if you work here, verbal sexual harrassment – at the very least – is going to be part of your job description, no matter how much Hooters claim that they ‘forbid harrassment of any kind’. If I want a definition of harrassment, the creators of a chain of restaurants whose USP is ‘entertainment based on female sex appeal’ will be the last people I go to.
I’m sure it will also surprise no one to learn that, while the sex appeal can only be provided by women, men can take on managerial roles. No prizes for guessing who polices the appearance of the ‘girls’…
Needless to say, many of us here aren’t exactly creaming ourselves at the prospect, although the lovely Will from Nottingham clearly is:
Hooters is amazing. I live in Nottingham when not at Uni and Hooters in the UK is in no way degrading to women… so what the fuck… If you don’t want to be ‘degraded’, don’t work there. Simple as.*
Ah yes, a man telling women what is and isn’t degrading, what we should or shouldn’t do, and making himself out to be a neandertholic dickhead in the process, that’s just the way to shut us up. And, seriously, openly admitting that you think staring at women with big breasts is ‘amazing’? How is that anything but embarrassing? Way to represent your sex.
A NO to Hooters in Sheffield Facebook group has been set up, which I’ve been wallposting away on, and I thought I’d share the last exchange I had:
LILLY: From reading the contract, it doesn’t state anywhere that groping or sexual ‘harrassment’ is allowed. It says ‘sexual innuendo based on female sex appeal’.
That is something entirely different. As i recall, the hooters i visited in America had a sign on the door saying something along the lines of ‘touching the waitress inappropriately will result in your removal from the premises’.
Being a ‘well endowed’ female myself, i have had hundreds of comments about my chest whilst working as a waitress/barmaid, and i take it all in good humour, and usually have a bit of banter back. I’ve also had a customer grope me and recieve a slap across the face. Ok, YOU might not be comfortable with someone making comments about your chest, but i am, and undoubtedly the women who will chose to work there will too. If i had the body to match my rack, i’d probably work somewhere like that.
LAURA: Lilly, Sexual innuendo based on women’s sex appeal can very often be sexual harrassment; no physical elements need be involved for harrassment to take place. I get sexually harrassed at least once a week on the streets near my flat because dickhead men think they have the right to comment on my breasts, my body or just the fact that I am a woman walking alone at night. It makes me feel intimidated and afraid, and it is harrassment. These kind of comments could well be standard practice at Hooters.
Hooters may well claim to forbid harrassment, but by portraying women as sex objects for men they feed into a culture which views the verbal sexual harrassment of women as ‘just a bit of fun’, which values women on their sex appeal and body type rather than as individuals and which breeds a sense of entitlement to women’s bodies in many men. That’s why I object to it.
You may be comfortable with men commenting on your chest, but this isn’t just about being OK with sexual comments. The problem is that men in this society believe they have the right to comment on women’s bodies and many of us spend a fuckload of time worrying about our bodies as a result. Women are worth so much more than what men think of our tits and arse. Establishments like Hooters would have us believe otherwise.
Letters will be written to local press and Sheffield Council, but we are wary about direct protest because we don’t want to upset or intimidate the female employees. If anyone has any creative ideas for non-intimidating actions we could take on the opening day, please do comment away!
You can sign the petition against Hooters here.
EDIT: Will messaged me to point out that Hooters is actually a really great place to watch football and rugby. Considering the total lack of other bars which televise sports, he is of course correct in his suggestion that female cleavage is not the reason men such as himself frequent this establishment. I really should listen to the menz before I open my pretty mouth again, shouldn’t I?