Tuesday, November 19, 2013

He Gave A Hoot

Randy Burbach is - or rather, was - a volunteer football coach at a middle school in Corbett, Oregon. To celebrate a successful season, Burbach offered to treat the team to a season-ending party. Sounds pretty harmless and routine, right? He certainly didn't expect to wind up in the national spotlight and to be dismissed from his volunteer position.

But that's exactly what happened.

Of course, there's a little more to the story. The fly in the ointment was the location chosen for the party - the local Hooters 'breastaurant.'

For those of you who've never been to a Hooters, it's basically a PG sports bar. Waitresses wear tank tops and tight shorts. The outfits are a little tacky and slightly on the revealing side, but most middle-school boys have seen more skin on cable TV than is flashed by the Hooters waitresses. However, as might be expected, an outcry arose over exposing impressionable youth to the objectification and exploitation of women.
Corbett Middle School’s athletic director sent a letter to parents saying he didn’t support the decision because he feels Hooters objectifies women.
Despite opposition from the school, and the dismissal of Burbach from his coaching position, the party went on as planned - with one significant change.
Hooters stepped in and said they'd pay for the party, donate $1,000 to the Corbett Middle School sports program and contribute 20 percent of store revenues on Saturday as well.

The 23-member team wasn't fully represented Saturday. Some had other commitments, some chose not to come out of moral concerns, Burbach said. He said he respects those who didn't attend, for standing up for their values...
Corbett Middle School football players arrive at Hooters for the team party.

Speaking of values, I can understand the objections of those opposed to the location. I have a daughter, after all. But I was impressed by the thoughtfulness and maturity shown by some of the attendees.
"It's unfortunate that it came to this," (Constantine Leontescu, parent of one of the players) said, witnessing the media cameras hovering around the team. His family was initially surprised at the location, Leontescu said, and decided not to go. But they changed their mind. They had a family talk, he said.

The talk was about how (their son Matei), 14, needs to look at women, how he needs to respect women while in public. Leontescu wasn't concerned Saturday would change his son's life.

"He just wants to be with his teammates mainly and have a good time," he said.

Another parent had a similar outlook.
Michelle Rolens, the mother of one of the players and the co-president of Corbett youth football, said she was OK with her son going to Hooters for the unofficial trip.

"I feel like this has gotten totally blown out of proportion," she said on Tuesday. "I hope that if anything I've taught my kids that I'm a very strong woman. I'm the primary breadwinner in my house, and I don't find it offensive to go to Hooters and see a little skin."
Even if you object to how Hooters 'uses' women, don't you think it's better to have a frank, open discussion with your kids about it than to stick your head in the sand and pretend such places don't exist.

Besides, their wings are pretty good...


Steve D said...

'I have a daughter, after all.'

And so long as you would be ok if your daughter became a Hooters girl...well, that's the test, isn't it?

CenTexTim said...

Steve, if that's what she wants, and if she's happy, then I'm happy.

That doesn't mean I wouldn't have a few reservations. Like I said, I can understand how some people might think that Hooters uses women to attract customers. But how is that different from ESPN using attractive female sideline reporters wearing tight sweaters to attract male viewers? Surely no one considers them serious journalists.

So what's the solution? Deny that many men like to look at pretty women? Dress them all up in burkas? Or let places like Hooters stay in business while teaching our young men and women to treat each other with respect, regardless of appearances?

Steve D said...

I mostly agree with you. Men liked to look at pretty women 5000 years ago and will still like to look at pretty women 5000 years from now. It’s not something that can or should be changed. However, if one has reservations a about their daughter, they should have the same general reservations about any other woman. My point is simply that many people (particularly men) have a double standard in this respect and it takes the right question to uncover it.

With regards to ESPN using pretty women to attract customers, I agree. In fact, Hooters is much more honest and open about it (to their credit).