Bristol feminists declare victory for equality as Hooters goes bust
BRISTOL feminists have declared a victory for equality following news that Hooters has closed.
The Harbourside restaurant, known for its skimpily-dressed waitresses, sparked protests when it opened in October 2010.
But Bristol Feminist Network and Bristol Fawcett groups had campaigned against the opening since its licence application.
They branded the American-styled "breastaurant" a negative step for the city and said they were pleased it had closed.
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Sian Norris, spokeswoman for the Bristol Feminist Network, said: "We believe that Hooters contributed to the normalisation of the sexual objectification of women on our high street.
"We have repeatedly argued and demonstrated that the impact of this objectification culture is very real and far-reaching."
The groups said that research showed treating women as objects negatively affected their self-esteem and mental health. They said that gender inequality was reinforced because women were valued for their sex appeal at the expense of their other attributes and qualities and men were more accepting of sexual harassment and interpersonal violence, rape myths, and sex role stereotypes.
Ms Norris said: "From its sexist and degrading imagery and language to its uniforms, signage and bikini contests, Hooters normalised a culture that values women as sex objects.
"We argued that an establishment that seeks to make profit from sexism in this way had no place in a forward thinking and equal opportunity minded city like Bristol. We are pleased to see that Bristol agreed with us."
Earlier this week Simon Thornton, from liquidators Houghton Stone Business Recovery, said the restaurant gone into liquidation and a creditors meeting will be held later this month. The collapse has been triggered by a lack of trade, mounting debts and a long-running legal dispute with another company.
"The fact that Hooters has now closed shows that its presence was not welcome in our city," Ms Norris added. "Potential patrons of the restaurant voted with their feet."
"We are of course sorry that its closure has resulted in women and men losing their jobs. However we hope that the premises are quickly filled, and new job opportunities created, by a company that doesn't seek to treat women as sex objects.
"We look forward to celebrating the opening of a new Harbourside restaurant soon, one that fits our vision for an equal and forward thinking Bristol."
The closure will not affect other Hooters restaurants but 39 full and part-time staff have been made redundant.