A woman, Mollie Wood, and her friend, have gone viral on TikTok for posting about a distressing experience they had in their local Wetherspoons pub, The Back of Beyond in Reading, after being kicked out for wearing 'inappropriate' clothing. During the recent heatwave, Mollie and her friend entered the drinking spot wearing halter crop tops and high-waisted skirts and were initially permitted entry by a female bouncer.
However, whilst walking to a table, Mollie says they were stopped by a male manager who deemed the outfits 'inappropriate' and made a comparison between them and kicking out shirtless men who'd been watching the football. "I was in disbelief [that he would compare] my outfit to a topless man when I was fully clothed," Mollie told Cosmopolitan.
She says that the manager then made another disparaging remark - "I wouldn't allow my own children to wear clothing like this" - and that she was shocked by his attitude. "I was taken aback by the comments and the blatant misogynistic viewpoints he stood by," Mollie says, adding that she felt vulnerable being called out while surrounded by other members of the public, solely on the basis that she has cleavage.
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Mollie then says she queried the dress code, which the manager seemed unsure of, and explained she'd been allowed into the same pub a week earlier, while a different manager was in charge.
"I was extremely humiliated and embarrassed that my body had been oversexualized to the point of being compared to a naked man," she adds. "I left the pub in pure shock and close to tears. Once I'd realised the severity and blatant sexism of his comments, my friend and I returned to file a formal complaint against the management, citing the misconduct we'd experienced."
She describes the experience as a huge eye-opener in relation to the sexualization women face on a daily basis. "I felt so small and that my voice wasn't heard... As a woman, I dress purely for myself and to then be told that my body is viewed as an object, that has a right or wrong way of dressing, is completely disgusting to me."
Raising another very valid point, Mollie also says what is and isn't deemed as acceptable clothing for a female can change depending on their body shape and size – again, something that's wholly unfair and wrong. "As a woman with a larger chest, to be over sexualised [because I have] cleavage makes me feel extremely uncomfortable, as does the thought of my body being watched and viewed when walking into rooms (filled predominantly with men)."
She adds, "With any top I wear, compared to a smaller chested person I will always be further sexualised versus them getting compliments on their fashion choices... The continued over-sexualization of women's breasts continues to be a problem not only within my case but within the media, schools, workplaces and general daily life. The amount of countless, similar stories to mine that I've heard genuinely makes me feel sick."
Rightfully, Mollie also points out that she shouldn't have to moderate her clothing in order to avoid the male gaze or conform to societal pressures. "I shouldn't need to choose whether to hide or flaunt my body, and I shouldn't be scared or ashamed within my own body, through fear of being treated like a sexual object... Realistically even when women like myself try to reclaim our bodies, due to the lack of education of sexual consent we will always be viewed as objects."
Prior to heading to The Back of Beyond, Mollie and her friend also visited four other venues without any issue.
So far, she says that Wetherspoons have yet to respond or apologise for the incident. Cosmopolitan has reached out to Wetherspoons for comment.
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