Hooters update: Round one to the yapping virgins!*

// 28 April 2008

I am delighted to announce that the No to Hooters in Sheffield campaign have successfully persuaded the developers not to take on Hooters in Sheffield’s Leopold Square. Of course, the articles in the local and national press, over one thousand signatures on our petition, a live debate on national radio and a substantial feature on the local BBC evening news programme which got thousands of people discussing the issue had nothing to do with their decision:

…we do not agree with the negative publicity and misconceptions surrounding the Hooters brand. Indeed, we consider that a well-run sports themed restaurant serviced off of West Street would fit in well and add a different dimension to those operators already present.

Quite how Hooters can be interpreted as a sports themed restaurant when they openly promote themselves as being based on female sex appeal, I have no idea, but even if the developers (officially, at least) are buying the PR people’s line, this campaign has allowed us to get the issue of female sexual objectification and its influence on women’s lives to a wide public audience, and we’re all really rather chuffed.

Of course, we’re under no illusion that this means Hooters will give up trying to open in Sheffield, but they should know that we mean business and they’re in for some tough times ahead if they think they’re bringing their retrograde, sexist excuse for an eating establishment to the Steel City.

*Just one among many delightful insults left by male Hooters fans on our facebook page.

Comments From You

Sophia // Posted 29 April 2008 at 9:10 am

Yippeee! And well done to you in particular Laura – you really went for it going on the TV and radio. Bloody brave stuff.

What riles me about this more than anything is the way Hooters lie about their business model and the powers-that-be believe it – ‘a well-run sports themed restaurant’??? What a joke. This is not just about sexism, it is about communities being lied to and their elected representatives (in the case of local councils) being manipulated by a multinational with no interest whatsoever in giving anything back. This should anger even those who don’t care about the sexism issue.

E-Visible Woman // Posted 29 April 2008 at 9:41 am


I think this will really help to encourage people – all is not in vain! We really can win sometimes!

Anna // Posted 29 April 2008 at 9:51 am

“Sports-themed”? Are they saying that misogyny is an intrinsic part of sport? (or at least, the way sport is perceived in this country). I wouldn’t even have gone that far myself, but now they mention it, I have to concede they’ve got a point.

Anna // Posted 29 April 2008 at 10:45 am

Excellent, and where IS your facebook page? I tried group searching “Hooters” on facebook and got so depressed with page after page of “I don’t go to Hooters for the food” and “When I grow up, I’m going to be a Hooter’s girl” I had to stop looking.

JENNIFER DREW // Posted 29 April 2008 at 11:29 am

Who said feminist activism is dead? Well done Sheffield Feminists for getting the issue of female sexual commodification out to a wider audience. Yes, Laura Hooters aren’t about to give up and I’ve no doubt they’re already working on strategies. Still round one to Sheffield Feminists and their allies.

Hannah // Posted 29 April 2008 at 11:36 am

Well done everyone! This is really great news.

Feminist Avatar // Posted 29 April 2008 at 12:43 pm

The developers probably don’t want to piss off Hooters as they will probably want to do business with them in the future!

But this is great news. Well done all.

Laura // Posted 29 April 2008 at 1:20 pm

Hi Anna, I’ve added the link to the facebook group into the post x

Soirore // Posted 29 April 2008 at 1:52 pm

Hurrah! This is a great result and will hopefully set an example for other towns.

But please can we not have campaigns via facebook as it’s exclusionary. I know that you campaigned wider than this but it would be nice if anti-facebook people could access info.

Fanny Blood // Posted 29 April 2008 at 2:05 pm

Shame we didn’t build up this sort of campaign in Southend on Sea. I’m actually rather gutted about it all. Although, I guess Southend on Sea isn’t the most classiest of town’s now is it? It was inevitable.


Laura // Posted 29 April 2008 at 2:54 pm

Hi Soirore,

I agree that facebook based campaigns are exclusionary, but in this case everything happened so quickly that we didn’t have a chance to create another website. We did have real life meetings, a workshop at FEM08 and I’ve been posting on here – there wasn’t much more we could do with the time and resources we had. We will be putting templates letters etc online soon. probably at FemSoc.

gareth // Posted 29 April 2008 at 3:41 pm

Hoo bloody rah!!! I’m so excited, speaking as a “wannabe femminst” and “virgin”. I was nearly convinced by the Pro-Hooters brigade after someone wrote that:

“Its 2008 not 1908!! Women can show more than there ankles nowadays!”

Do we really need another Edwardian themed bar?

Let’s crack on with the National campaign.

Soirore // Posted 29 April 2008 at 4:23 pm

Thanks Laura, that’s ace. I didn’t mean to be critical of your campaign as a whole as I know you worked from various angles.

Jessica // Posted 30 April 2008 at 11:02 pm

Thanks for fighting a battle no one asked you to fight. Unfortunately, you were too busy fielding the insults of a bunch of frat boys instead of dealing with normal girls who aren’t actually offended by this. You claim that establishments like Hooters make men think it is alright to objectify women, yet this in itself is a sexist opinion. All men are now mindless perverts who go to a bar, enjoy themselves and then walk out thinking all women are objects? I like men, and I like to think they have more sense than this. Your opinions are unfounded and dangerous. Please keep them to yourself, for the sake of me and the rest of womankind. I’d rather have the freedom of choice to work and go to a bar like Hooters, rather than have that freedom taken away from me by someone who thinks they know what’s best for women; I think that takes away women’s rights more than any restaurant ever could.

Laura // Posted 1 May 2008 at 9:33 am


Battles aren’t fought because people ask you to, we fought because we – and hundreds of others – wanted to.

No, of course men aren’t all mindless perverts, but the sad fact is that 1 in 3 women will suffer domestic violence, stalking or sexual victimisation at the hands of men during their lifetime. That’s a lof of men engaging in abusive behaviour towards women. As I’ve said before, of course Hooters isn’t responsible for this abuse, but it is part of a culture that portrays women as sex objects that exist for male pleasure, and this sexist attitude contributes towards the abusive treatment of women in society.

What have you really lost by Hooters not opening in Leopold Square? Real freedom is not about choice – I can choose between working in hundreds of different restaurants, or going out in thousands of different bars, but if while there I am subject to sexual harassment or paid 17% less than my male counterparts, I am not really free.

I am delighted that Hooters isn’t opening in Leopold Square, because I already get enough harassment from men on West Street at night; putting an establishment that bases itself on men staring at women’s breasts at the end of it would only make things worse.

Donna // Posted 7 August 2010 at 9:29 am

Hi there

sorry to respond to such an old blog but can you tell me what grounds were used to fight this? Hooters have applied to open in Cardiff and one of my local AMs has mailed me saying the following. If we cn’t stop it under these grounds what is the best way for Cardiff residents to do so?

“Thanks for the email. Being reasonably well versed in the Licensing Act, I don’t think that the objections based on the waitresses amount of clothing will succeed.

The application will be judged on the provisions of the Act, and will be open to appeal if ignored by the Licensing Committee. Unless there are grounds to refuse the licence, for example the police objecting over concerns of an increase in anti social behaviour, then it may be difficult to stop.

Sadly the powers in the Act are not as strong as they should be.”

Laura // Posted 7 August 2010 at 5:14 pm

Hi Donna – The Sheffield Hooters never got to the licensing stage; we got in there early and addressed our campaign to the developers who decided not to accept Hooters. So can’t help much I’m afraid, but you will have to try and tailor any arguments to the provisions of the Act. There has been some research suggesting that violence against women increased around strip clubs (not quite the same, I know) – perhaps you could look at that.

I did send Sally from the Cardiff feminist group some info earlier today on what Sheffield Fems did, don’t know if you’re in contact with her?

polly // Posted 7 August 2010 at 8:27 pm

The grounds on which residents of an area can object to a licensing application, and how to proceed, can be found at


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