M&S and Hooters Bristol (insert ‘joke’ here)

// 15 September 2010

Just to flag up one of the stories mentioned in our open thread this week – Hooters are planning to open a new ‘restaurant’ in Bristol, with the city council buying the disingenuous line that it’s “family-friendly”. The campaign against it is already up and running and they need your support – No To Hooters in Bristol.

The hugely influential parenting website Mumsnet has also picked up this story, primarily because it seems that Marks and Spencer, that bastion of family-friendly respectability, who happily hopped on the Mumsnet train in their ‘Let Girls Be Girls’ campaign against the “sexualisation” of young girls, are leasing the building to Hooters.

Have a read of the Mumsnet thread too and join their campaign.

Comments From You

sianushka // Posted 15 September 2010 at 1:40 pm

thanks for raising this carrie.

there are lots of things f word readers can do to help.

Please write to M&S and tell them you are angry about the decision.

more info here: http://www.ukfeminista.org.uk/blog/2010/08/27/67-masbuildinghooters.html

Download the flyer on our blog http://www.nohootersinbristol.blogspot.com and hand them out to M&S customers/leave them in M&S stores

If you like in Bristol write to your MP and ask them to ask the ombudsman to look into the transparency of the decision making process. we will be posting more info on this soon – with a model letter you can send.

You can also write to your local bristol cllr expressing your concern about the licensing decision, which, despite police objections over crime and disorder, went through because:

“hooters will offer something really different to the city.”

Write to the evening post and say you are disgusted by the one sided reporting done on this issue and the fact that so many of the comments from readers have been personal attacks on the women and men involved. (including verbal abuse about my family)

If you live in Bristol keep an eye on the blog as we will be organising guerilla action and demos etc for you to get involved in.

If you want to get more involved email me at the bfn email address, contact details on the home page of the website

http://www.bristolfeministnetwork.com/

Or visit our facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/group.php?gid=8119250015&ref=ts

sianushka // Posted 15 September 2010 at 2:55 pm

Also, if you support us in the campaign, please leave lots of lovely supportive comments on the blog!

i have to moderate the comments due to the level of abuse i have had on my own blog and on the evening post so it might take a while for your comment to appear.

but one of the criticisms we’ve had is that no one agrees with us, no one cares. the 900 signatures on our petition, and the strength of support we’ve had proves this assumption is false, but in my experience people who agree with you never comment on blog posts, and people who really disagree with you, and are abusive, comment all day long.

so the more we can show the world that this issue is important, and that people do care, the better!

http://www.nohootersinbristol.blogspot.com

Polly // Posted 16 September 2010 at 7:49 am

“this isn’t any woman hating, this is M&S woman hating?”

Or has that one been done?

Jessica // Posted 16 September 2010 at 10:21 am

I don’t live in Bristol, but I have worked in local government. The suggestion to write to your local MP is good, especially as reagrding the Ombudsman issue.

However, I would recommend that local campaigns focus more on local councillors. If you live in Bristol you can find your local councillor here: http://www.bristol.gov.uk/ccm/content/Council-Democracy/Elected-Representatives/councillor-finder.en

Councillors really do rely on the support of their electorate. If they believe that people in their ward do not agree with this decision, they will change their mind.

In particular, write to individual councillors on the Licensing Committee: http://www.bristol.gov.uk/ccm/content/Council-Democracy/Elected-Representatives/licensing-committee.en I strongly suspect that many individual letters are much more effective than a petition. Even a letter writing campaign with many copies of an identical letter is better than a petition.

I sure you know most of this already, as you’re running this campaign! However, I thought I’d post the advice for those people who might wish to write in as individuals.

sianushka // Posted 16 September 2010 at 12:58 pm

Hi jessica

thanks, and will spread your advice on contacting councillors.

we have been talking to the chair of the licensing committee who wants a dialogue with us. we were hoping to have a public debate with him tonight but he couldn’t make it so has been postponed until october (watch this space).

he is an interesting character. he sits on the domestic violence committee, yet passed the hooters license because ‘it will offer something really diferent to the city’. he was also the only member of the licensing committee to vote in favour of a new lap dancing club, on the grounds that they would only go and ‘win their appeal.’ needless to say, and thanks to much public pressure, they did not win the appeal.

his angle when talking to us is that his hands were tied and the licensing committee just ‘rubber stamp’ decisions and are constrained by law. obviously licensing law exists but i find it hard to believe that anyone would sit on a committee that just ‘rubber stamps’ decisions (what would be the point?) and obviously other cities with bars requesting to open in cumulative impact zones have not been opened. i also find it hard to believe that licensing law trumps equality legislation and equality impact legislation. although maybe it does?

clearly, sexism, treating women like objects and drunken brawling is going to offer something really different.

we also went and spoke at the full council meeting and were cheered by some councillors.

Sarah // Posted 16 September 2010 at 7:42 pm

I have been a feminist for years; as an English Literature and Sociology student I often have the opportunity to read and write about feminism, sexuality and gender, I keep up to date with current gender related affairs and often find myself having huge discussions with friends who are interested in feminism yet believe the general media stereotypes.

I recently read an article (I think through following a link from this website) which suggested that we all need to earn the right to be a feminist. I’m not sure yet my position on this, but it did make me consider my general inactivity.

Anyway, this is a long winded way of saying that I have taken some action, and emailed the chairperson of M&S. Sianushka, I am sorry to hear about the abuse you have received but be assured you have my full support, alongside, I’m sure, many other feminists like myself who regularly read the f word yet often do not comment.

sianushka // Posted 17 September 2010 at 8:55 am

thanks sarah, that’s really kind. it has been thrilling to see the support and see how much this issue has galvanized people to get involved.

Rose H // Posted 17 September 2010 at 6:18 pm

Can I suggest a mass breast-feeding sit-in as soon as the new Hooters opens? They reckon they’re ‘family friendly’ after all. Show them what breasts are really for…

Maggie // Posted 17 September 2010 at 11:41 pm

Rose H – great idea. Even those who are way past breast feeding and those with no babies could bring a doll and pretend to feed. .

coldharbour // Posted 18 September 2010 at 7:32 pm

@Rose & Maggie

Call me cynical but I don’t think a horde of women baring their lactating breasts is going to turn away the Hooters punters (no pun intended) in droves. I did actually know a girl at Uni who worked at Hooters in Pacific Beach when she was doing her undergraduate course in San Diego. She said there was this this kinda Woody Allen type guy who used to keep coming in, ordering some food and sitting just there for hours looking kinda nervous. Then one time for no apparent reason this normal middle-aged guy sitting with his family got up and started beating the shit out of this dude screaming in his face, when the cops finally arrived the family man explained that he saw the Woody Allen dude masturbating under the table and he just lost the rag. Turns out the franchise owner was a pretty big figure in the San Diego business community and seemed to know just about every editor of the local press. Long and short of it was it got hushed up in the local papers, wouldn’t really take a genius to work out why. I think you would have to be pretty naive not to think the interests of the council in this case are dominated by the interests of the business community, it’s pretty understandable then why the said chair probably does just rubber stamp everything after a wink and a nod.

sianushka // Posted 19 September 2010 at 10:19 am

coldharbour, i don’t think anyone is being naive about that fact, i think it is pretty clear that business interests are exactly at the forefront, and the women of bristol are being held hostage both to council/business interests and marks and spencer’s ‘commercial decision’

LIZZY // Posted 13 October 2010 at 9:26 pm

Hi just wanted to say well done to all those involved on this, but I realise i’m a little late, only just got back online and saw this. I’ve been boycotting this ‘family friendly’ store now for years once they started selling redtop tabloids depicting women as sex objects. I think they are would do anythig they could to make a profit, they really deserve to been show up for what they are, sexist, money grabbing and anti women, i’ve made various complaints to them over the last 5 years and they don’t even have the common courtesy to respond. Their latest billboard campaign really shows what they think of women ‘Red Time Story’ a pun of course on Bed Time Story, a woman in red underwear ready, of course for bed, I mean what else are we there for! check out this ad on their website and just imagine it on a huge billboard shoved right in your face, thank you M&S or should that be Misogyny & Stuff!! please feel free to complain to this company that was all for ‘Let Girls Be Girls! not that much evidence of it when it comes to making the tills ring eh! Well done to you all again a big achievement, I have also signed the petition, I dont live in the area but I totally share your concerns and would be there with you all if I could. You have my support, keep it going.

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