So, Cardiff Council have granted Hooters a license. Can’t say I’m massively surprised. CFN is hardly in a position to challenge a multinational company; the Licensing Act only allows for complaints if you’re a local resident or business owner; we found out about the license a few days before the deadline, unfortunately. I must say, too, it’s had quite a disproportionate amount of attention from the local media hasn’t it?! (Try getting press attention like that for a national violence against women campaign… just not sexy).
I’m pretty shocked at the dire levels of understanding and massive amounts of homophobia and misogyny which have characterised the (mostly online) debate, I must say. Nice to see that sexist comments haven’t evolved in the last 40 years (references to dungarees? Really, boys?!).
“Hairy-legged”, “flat-chested”, “dyke”, “rug-muncher”… yaaawn.
I guess if the Council needs any evidence of the kind of monosyllabic, homophobic, sexist idiots they’re catering to, it’s all there in black and white. And I guess no request to adhere to obligations under the Gender Equality Duty, or take into account research which shows links between establishments which promote the sexualisation of women with increased violence against them, or anything else boring or relevant or non-sensationalist can sway them. I understand that they’re strictly limited under the Licensing Act; perhaps it’s the Act that needs to change though eh?
A few things I’ve been particularly bothered by, seeing as I’m here:
1. “Shouldn’t you be campaigning for an end to violence against women / for equal pay / against lapdancing clubs?”
— Probably a personal gripe but, um, we are. Massively. As individuals, as members of organisations and as employees of organisations working hard on all of the above. When you view these issues as inter-connected, it make sense to tackle them all, no?
2. “These women choose to work there!”
— That’s not the point. The argument is not “do they jump or are they pushed?”; it’s not us trying to be moral guardians of anyone; in some ways, it’s not even predominantly about the women who work there (although you might want to check out the standard Hooters employment contract and make up your own minds about what would happen if harassment did occur, for example).
It’s about the message that Hooters (and other such establishments which work on the premise of turning women into sex objects) sends out to both men and women about what women’s role is in society, and the damage that does to both men and women, boys and girls, and gender equality more broadly. I could go into this further but it’s been well-documented elsewhere, including in comments from Anna below.
Also slightly ironic hearing the pro-choice slogan “it’s their right to choose!” thrown back at us, huh?!
3. “It’s bringing jobs to Cardiff in a recession!”
— Yep, and I know if I wasn’t such a hairy, rug-munching, flat-chested dyke – if I was a “normal” girl needing work and unable to find any, which is pretty likely considering the rubbish job market in Cardiff at the moment – I’d be considering all my options. If Hooters was one of them, I’d be much more likely to take that on than I would be in a time of economic stability. Freedom to choose when you need any job you can get becomes a bit more murky, if anything.
That’s my 5 cents. I’ve been avoiding the blogosphere like the plague that it is but feeling somewhat inspired. Over to the trolls. xoxox