Respect set back 30 years

ROSSLYN de SOUZA is a locally treasured arts and hospitality guru who has started a one-woman campaign to brighten Freo’s streets and its empty shops with pop-up art exhibitions. Nearly every day she can be found walking Freo’s streets and cleaning up around her temporary galleries. But she reckons there’s something else that needs cleaning up now.

I WRITE to express my objection to the recent introduction of a skimpy bar in the Fremantle CBD. 

Formerly Ballers Sports Bar and music venue, renamed The Rec Skimpy Bar (male and female / “adult entertainment 18+”) in the Hoyts Family Cinema complex. 

It has been advertised as a skimpy bar with “filfy Fridays” since June.

The Fremantle community was alerted via an article in Perth Now, followed by a double page spread in Saturday’s The West on July 8.

Written by a young journalist, the article stated that she would attend again and yet, by her admission, most of the men present were over 50! 

The Fremantle community dismissed skimpy bars in the mid 1990s with good reason. 

The West’s “spectacular” coverage has set respect for women back by 30 years.

A young skimpy bar maid was quoted as saying that she deflects unwelcome comments from leering males, with humour. 

This is exactly the reason this type of “entertainment” is unwelcome. 

• Ros de Souza setting up one of her galleries and giving stark Woodsons Arcade a bit of arty colour and life.

It sends the wrong message to young people that the empowerment they feel in this “look but don’t touch” situation is without consequences. 

Wrong! It condones objectification and encourages poor behaviour from a breed of male we are all too familiar with in Fremantle.

Other bars will seek to follow and before long we will be back to last century thinking.

Big money has been spent on excellent projects in Fremantle over the past several years – all with liquor licenses – all offering a legitimate point of difference. 

The owner of The Rec by his own admission needs to attract patrons in order to survive. 

If the only point of difference offered by The Rec is booze with “Tits n Bums” on the side, then it should not be in business.

This is not a ticketed burlesque show supported by a long theatrical history as an art form. It is voyeurism.


Fremantle is also a college and university town. 

Young people are everywhere from 3pm onwards when The Rec opens on certain days. 

If we retake the skimpy path, Fremantle will not only be the laughing stock it will be known as sleaze city, a reputation not easily rescinded.

Fremantle does not need more “sports bars” or liquor outlets in the CBD. 

It certainly does not need this type of industry. 

Fremantle already fights against a reputation for drink spiking, poor social behaviour when the bars close, and vandalism while under the influence.

The residents and business people I have spoken to in both Fremantle and Perth are shocked that a skimpy bar would be considered in this day and age of the ME TOO

movement, with self esteem and body issues prevalent in young women, on-line porn addiction in young men and an increase in domestic violence!

The front entry of The Rec states restricted tavern licence. Sports bar and music venue. 

Has the License Owner applied to change his restricted tavern license for 18+ entertainment or, took a punt and simply opened? 

The name of the Licensee and registration number, a legal requirement, is not visible.

The longer The Rec stays open in its current capacity the more negative the long-term outcome for our city, which seems to be on a trajectory to emulate Northridge.

A healthy and robust community requires effort and consideration of each other. 

I don’t see this happening here.

One response to “Respect set back 30 years

  1. I agree with Rosslyn’s sentiments. I was surprised when I heard that a skimpy bar was opening next to the cinema. It isn’t my thing, but if people want to enjoy their time in a skimpy bar or strip club, go ahead. But the location choice is extraordinary. Right next to a place that families and young people attend daily, and in a corner of Fremantle that is aimed more at family friendly activities. There are plenty more areas around Fremantle that a skimpy bar would be more appropriately located, and probably be more successful. Though personally, I don’t think Freo is the place for a skimpy bar at all. As Rosslyn implied, it is very last century

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