Having just gone to Winnipeg Pride this past weekend, I’m well aware that Pride Season has begun. For many gymbots, this is where their gym routines go into overdrive as they strive to have the perfect body. In this funny mock exercise video released by Tourism Toronto in partnership with Pride Toronto, they poke fun at getting your body ready for pride by teaching you the “Pride Pump 2000X“.
“With a parade that is watched by over 1 million festival goers annually, Toronto Pride has grown into one of the largest Pride Celebrations in the world. Championing the rights of all facets of Toronto’s diverse queer community, from Family Pride to the Dyke March to the Trans March to a boisterous street festival with everything in between, Toronto Pride has something for every queer.”
The video has been criticized by Toronto Life in that they believe the video just reinforces all the gay and lesbian stereotypes that are often deemed to be inappropriate jokes. They wonder how Toronto Pride can expect to be taken seriously with a video like this. Watch the video below followed by Toronto Life’s take on the video and then share your thoughts on it.
In the video, instructor Brody wears skintight shorts to show off his glistening oil-rubbed skin, promoting a gym lifestyle centred on the fact that all gay men and women want is “the best chest.” Amid “sparkle crunches,” a “disco break,” a requisite “bear” appearance and a lesbian who is grossed out by a penis (some may be surprised to note that this woman has a deep voice), we can’t help but wonder how out of touch (or straight?) the person who cooked up Pride Toronto’s painful-to-watch and setting-back-the-movement promotional video was. If gay activism is on the rise, how will the community be taken seriously if the organization that fronts the city’s largest gay celebration backs these old-hat, shouldn’t-be jokes? If they were looking to shoot fish in a barrel, why didn’t the Pride committee just hire Big Gay Al?
I can see where Toronto Life is coming from with their observations. There is no denying that gay stereotypes have been brought into play in this video, and you know, perhaps they went too far with it. That said, it’s quite obviously not meant to be taken seriously so I’m a little torn. Perhaps a more tasteful and meaningful approach to promoting pride would have been more well received by both the LGBT community and the straight community. We don’t want to send the wrong message out to people that this is what pride means to us. I want my parents, straight friends, and the younger gays that are just coming out to know that it means so much more.
In recent years, whenever I’m watching a pride parade, it’s the signs like “I love my gay son” or just last weekend I saw “Straight Christian Parents, Ex-Gay Homophobes” that make my eyes water. To me, respecting what others have done before us to give us the freedoms we have, as well as bringing to light what others are still going through is the real reason why this all takes place. Yes, a big part of pride is a week (or weekend) jam packed with celebration and parties, but beneath all of that we are celebrating our freedom and being PROUD of who we are (hence the word “pride”). Who we are is much more than what is portrayed in this video.
So what do you think? Should this video not be taken so seriously or should they have chosen another concept?