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In October 2018, Canadian retailer Mountain Equipment Co-op publicly asked, “Do white people dominate the outdoors?” and acknowledged that their representations were “part of [a] problem.” Relying on Ahmed’s theorizations of diversity work, this paper offers an intersectional interrogation of Mountain Equipment Co-op’s (MEC’s) commitment to including more “diversity” in their representations and considers how both MEC’s statement and their early efforts to diversify simultaneously efface the gendered, ableist, fatphobic, settler colonial and racist structuring of “the outdoors” both in MEC’s practices and in “Canada” more broadly. Our analysis highlights how MEC’s practices continue to reflect and reproduce the appropriation of wilderness for a narrow range of bodies.
Laurendeau and Higham are with the Department of Sociology, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. Peers is with the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport and Recreation at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.