TTC Ballet Campaign Gets unflattering review from Body Confidence Canada
TTC Ballet Campaign
Gets unflattering review from Body Confidence Canada as it promotes unhealthy body image stereotypes
An image from TTC’s ‘We Move You’ campaign.
“No Pants” Day
If you’ve ever found riding the subway at rush hour to be something less than graceful, you’re not alone.
The TTC’s new promotional partnership with the National Ballet – dubbed We Move You – is drawing criticism from one organization that says it perpetuates “unrealistic and highly regimented bodies as some sort of an ideal of ‘beauty.’”
The campaign, which officially launched Thursday, shows dancers from the National Ballet of Canada in photos and online videos dancing and posing in subway stations, on streetcars and in buses.
But Jill Andrew, co-founder of the Body Confidence Canada Awards, worries the images send the wrong messages about what healthy, confident humans should look like.
“We can’t deny that there is a lot of body-based discrimination that happens … within our moves around the city,” Andrew said.
“My experience as a racialized woman, as a fat woman, I’ve been called an f-ing fat black b—- on the TTC,” she said. “Is this video really moving me? Is this video at all depicting me on the move?”
Andrew’s organization is campaigning to have discrimination based on size and appearance made illegal in Ontario.
She said she doesn’t disagree with promoting Toronto’s vibrant arts and culture scene; she just wants to see more of a focus on imagery that represents who Torontonians really are.
“The body types of most ballet dancers do not adequately represent those of most Canadians and, I dare say, most TTC users,” she said.
“This is simply an opportunity to reflect on who is being left out by an ad campaign such as this.”
Stuart Green, a spokesman for the TTC, said the commission is proud of the images, and the partnership.
“People tend to look at these campaigns as being to cross-promote the various elements that go into making Toronto a vibrant and thriving city,” he said.
Green said the TTC does similar partnerships with a wide variety of organizations, including major sports teams like the Raptors and the Toronto FC. With those promotions, which also feature talented, athletic bodies, body-image hasn’t been an issue.
He also pointed to the TTC’s involvement with the annual Pride celebrations and the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games.
“That’s an area where there would have been a whole host of nationalities and athletic abilities highlighted,” he said.
“There’s a great simpatico between the TTC and a whole host of organizations. The National Ballet is just one of the organizations that we partner with to promote what we do, which is public transit,” Green said.