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NOW Blasts Hooters for Serving Children

The once-coherent feminist group has targeted Hooters as an 'adult' business, and a hostile environment for children

NOW Blasts Hooters for Serving Children

ORANGE COUNTY, Calif.—You don’t hear about the National Organization for Women (NOW) that much anymore, but maybe there’s a reason for that. The onetime feminist group has apparently morphed into another crazy child protection crowd going after every establishment that even acknowledges that sex is a part of human existence. There can be no other explanation for the letter the group fired off to California District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, complaining about two Hooters restaurants in the area.

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“On a typical evening, Hooters, Inc. serves children younger than 18 years of age and offers child menus, high chairs and booster seats," the letter said. "They also display and sell products of prurient nature, including T-shirts in child sizes with statements such as 'Future Hooters Girl.'"

According to the Orange County Register, “NOW plans to ask state Attorney General Jerry Brown to conduct his own investigation.” They want Hooters to have an age requirement, similar to those imposed upon actual “adult" business like strip clubs and adult book stores.

The letter was sent after local members of NOW visited two Hooters restaurants in Anaheim and Costa Mesa.

"Members physically went and brought their children to see the children's menu and the items sold," Patricia Bellasalma, president of NOW's California chapter, said. "They took them to see whether they would serve them."

The OC Register continued, “Bellasalma said the group targeted Hooters restaurants because they offer ‘sexual entertainment,’ but choose to have locations near popular tourist spots or in shopping malls. Other adult businesses, Bellasalma said, wouldn't escape the attention of authorities if they served children. NOW is making similar complaints in San Francisco, Sacramento and San Mateo counties.”

In the understatement of the century, Hooters corporate said the complaint is “ridiculous” and a “waste of taxpayer money.”

On its website, the organization’s About page reads, “Since its founding in 1966, NOW's goal has been to take action to bring about equality for all women. NOW works to eliminate discrimination and harassment in the workplace, schools, the justice system, and all other sectors of society; secure abortion, birth control and reproductive rights for all women; end all forms of violence against women; eradicate racism, sexism and homophobia; and promote equality and justice in our society.”

Presumably, it is the Hooters tank-tops that triggers the harassment clause. If so, though, the kids are no doubt totally unaware they are being harassed. Maybe Hooters violated the “sexism” provision by serving kids. Or maybe it has something to do with “promoting equality and justice.”

Or maybe they’re just fucking nuts. I may need to revisit my self-classification as a male feminist if this sort of nonsense is what the real feminists are up to these days. The serious issue here underneath the frivolity of the complaint is that NOW seems to be utterly ashamed of the female breast, even if it's covered! Maybe it’s time for NOW devotees to toss away their Dworkin manifestos.






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Tom Hymes

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