diversity in advertisement

I went to the website of my favourite outdoor equipment store and was pleasantly surprised (read: ecstatic!) to be greeted by the image above. It’s rare to see women of colour in advertising for products that aren’t specifically for us, and extremely rare to see women of colour associated with sports or the outdoors in advertising. My heart swelled for the inclusiveness of Canada and MEC.

Which is why I was genuinely surprised to then see this:

“The truth is that we haven’t represented the diversity of Canadians or of our 5 million members.

[…] As CEO of MEC, I promise that moving forward, we will make sure we’re inspiring and representing the diverse community that already exists in the outdoors.

This initiative isn’t about patting ourselves on the back. It’s also not about me, another straight white male with a voice in the outdoor industry. This is a conscious decision to change, and to challenge our industry partners to do the same.”

As part of this move, the company will start consciously marketing to transgender people. At the moment, its stores’ and website’s clothing section is still divided by gender, but it’s taking baby steps, like a Gift Ideas for Them blog post “in the spirit of getting out of the binary”.

Keep it up, MEC. And may other companies follow!

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