Hotelier says skimpy ban would hit hard

Francesca MannGeraldton Guardian
Skimpy bar attendant Storm in Kalgoorlie.
Camera IconSkimpy bar attendant Storm in Kalgoorlie. Credit: Jodi Kingston

A Geraldton hotelier is defending the employment of skimpy barmaids in the face of a grassroots campaign to end the practice.

Jason Moylan, one of the owners of the Geraldton Beach Hotel, said any ban would be an “atrocious” decision that would put many people out of a job.

But not-for-profit group Collective Shout says the practice contributes to gender inequality, reducing women to objects for male enjoyment.

The push comes after Merriwa Tavern The Sixty30’s application for waitresses with bare breasts was knocked back by the director of Liquor Licensing.

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Collective Shout WA co-ordinator Caitlin Roper said she was happy with the director’s decision but more needed to be done.

“When are we ever going to get to the point where we stop treating women as objects for men’s entertainment?” she said.

“There’s no justification other than men want to look at women’s semi-naked bodies.

“These are such outdated ideas and it is an archaic practice.

“It has got to stop.”

Mr Moylan disagreed, noting women were not forced into working as skimpies.

Geraldton Beach Hotel hires the women through a Perth-based company and features skimpies from Monday-Friday.

“These girls are very clever and they’re using it to get through university,” he said.

“They’re not there for the men, they’re just another bar staff trying to earn a living in this world.

“If they don’t want to do it they don’t have to do it, but people have a choice and if they choose to do that, we should allow it and support that.”

With several other bars and hotels in Geraldton featuring skimpies, Mr Moylan said stopping the practice would have a significant impact on the hospitality industry.

“It would put more people out of work,” he said.

“If they want to put the dole queues up, go right ahead. It’s a tradition of a lot of towns; it helps bring people to these country bars.

“The industry is struggling as it is, and that’s our major entertainment for our workers.”

In Collective Shout’s complaint about The Sixty30’s application, Ms Roper said the treatment of women as sexual entertainment was linked to violence against women.

A 2012 analysis of the Australian Bureau of Statistic’s Personal Safety Survey found one in three Australian women have experienced physical violence.

Although the Government has enacted a 12-year national plan to reduce violence against women and children, Ms Roper said “sexploitation venues” undermined the initiative.

“There are plenty of politicians that are condemning violence against women,” she said.

“But there’s very few who appear to be engaged with the origin — the role of the sex industry and pornography and how all that feeds into the treatment of women.”

“We live in a world where women are at risk of violence, and are abused and sexually assaulted.

“It doesn’t really do much to be saying real men don’t hit women when there’s this ingrained sexism.”

The Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor’s standard entertainment condition, imposed on most licences, prohibits bare breasts and buttocks.

Exposure through see-through material, nipple stickers and G-strings is not permitted.

Requests to change the conditions are assessed on a case-by-case basis and take into account the public interest.

With The Sixty30, the director found the change was not in the public’s interest.

International Women’s Day was celebrated in March, commemorating the movement for women’s rights.

VideoA bar in Albany has removed urinals from the men’s toilet after complaints from people on social media.

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