Hooters is an American restaurant chain specialising in beer, wings and “beautiful girls”.
Beautiful girls with beautiful Hooters, of course.
In its latest move to further market its brand and help the “desperate” club, Hooters has hooked up with an under 16 boys football team on the Gold Coast, with sponsorship in the form of money and two cheerleaders in tight Hooters tops and shorts, to cheer the boys on.
I was on Sunrise yesterday on the issue. I argued that embedding busty mascots in with 15 and 16 year old boys taught them that women are really part of the entertainment and rewards of playing the game. Why can’t boys just get on with the game without the dancing girls? We have seen so many times, evidence of demeaning views about women by too many sportsmen in this country. And too often, abusive behaviour has been made possible through a culture of collusion within male dominated sporting bodies. I’ve written about this before .
I’d be very interested to know if Australian Hooter employees have to agree to the conditions in the Hooters employment handbook as revealed in 2006.
Female employees are required to sign that they “acknowledge and affirm” the following:
- My job duties require I wear the designated Hooters Girl uniform.
- My job duties require that I interact with and entertain the customers.
- The Hooters concept is based on female sex appeal and the work environment is one in which joking and entertaining conversations are commonplace.
- I do not find my job duties, uniform requirements, or work environment to be offensive, intimidating, hostile, or unwelcome.
Reading these conditions, it’s like the girls are to be seen as some kind of Western chicken wing chain version of geishas. But what if they do find this demeaning? What if ‘joking and entertaining conversation’ becomes code for sexual jokes and harassment? What happens then?
Reducing women to their breasts can never advance equality and fair treatment for women. And that’s something Hooters will never be able to teach 15 and 16 year old boys – or any man.