As if embattled Broadway hasn’t suffered enough due to COVID lockdowns, its own excessive mandates, and increasingly insufferable shows chock full of virtue signaling, in comes another measure that will likely impact The Great White Way’s bottom line.
Show business is hellbent on dictating woke social mores. Thanks to New York City Bill INT 0209, the Committee on Civil and Human Rights seeks to elevate fringe ideas and promote mental and physical health issues that might literally get someone killed.
Sponsored by 34 council members out of 51, Bill INT 0209 “prohibit[s] discrimination on the basis of a person’s actual or perceived height or weight in relation to opportunities of employment.”
Get ready to spend $145 per ticket to watch a potentially obese Elphaba defy gravity and break a broomstick, or a 350-pound Odette (White Swan) in Swan Lake flutter like a swan performing the technically grueling pas de deux before crushing Prince Siegfried. Imagine the Lion King reimagined with a stout and portly cast that can’t physically keep up with eight performances per week, each one two hours and thirty minutes long, filled with nonstop exercise including running, jumping, singing, and dancing.
Will Broadway have to conform its rehearsals just like the United States armed forces had to lower its standards to be more inclusive to the new recruits that can’t keep up?
Activists championing Bill INT 0209, such as Stephanie Lexis, “see this as an opportunity to increase diversity on the Broadway stage.” In another attempt to fix something that’s not broken, such as svelte ballerinas easily able to fly off their feet and be lifted up by their partners, and attractive Broadway stars mesmerizing the audience, “Fatphobia and Achondroplasiaphobia remain prevalent, and when combined with traditional binary gender roles and their strictures, legions of talented performers are shut out of the theatre industry for not conforming,” goes the new belief.
So, it isn’t just “a person’s actual or perceived height or weight” as Bill INT 0209 cites, as if "perceived" is a matter of opinion and not science-based fact such as scale or measure, but it’s also “binary gender roles” that are under attack. In other words, the real goal is to make way for transgender individuals to occupy the roles of Odette in Swan Lake, Elphaba in Wicked, Christine Daaé in The Phantom of the Opera, and so on.
Bill INT 0209 notes that there is an “exemption for employers needing to consider height or weight in employment decisions only where height or weight is a bona fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the business and would also exempt operators or providers of public accommodations only where height or weight requirements would qualify as bona fide considerations of public health and safety.”
Currently, a ballerina’s “look” is meant to showcase and create perfect, balletic lines and graceful movements on stage. The average height of an American ballerina is about 5 foot 2 inches to 5 foot 8 inches with a weight ideally ranging from 85 to 130 lbs in correspondence with height. Male ballet dancers are to be lean and strong as opposed to bulky like a weightlifter, which precludes the necessary flexibility.
If Bill INT 0209 passes, how can a male dancer not be at mental and physical risk with a 350 pound “ballerina” hurling towards him at breakneck speed? This is just dealing with the “fatphobia” aspect the Bill seeks to remedy. Then, there’s the height concerns. How safe is it for a male ballet dancer to lift a 6-foot, trans-identified male, such as Sophie Rebecca?
Activist Lexis, also the founder of the Broadway Body Positivity Project, which promotes “body inclusivity” at colleges and regional theaters says the quiet part out loud. The aim is to combat so-called “disordered body image in students, and to break the cycle amongst teaching staff. Additionally, the Project consults with numerous regional productions to ensure equitable body diversity and to help established theatre makers adjust their ingrained bias' against performers of non-standard body dimensions.” Government is once again injecting itself into the private sector to promote woke ideology, and Bill INT 0209 is a pathway for transgender people to have an avenue to replace women via height, weight, and “equitable body diversity.”
Using the “diversity” argument, government is creating a harmful and fallacious new “beauty” standard in which a bearded, heavy-set man in lipstick and a tutu will be the new prima ballerina.
Obesity is a killer - this is settled science. A staggering 41.9 percent of adults suffer from obesity, and black adults have the highest amount, clocking in at 49.9 percent. Hispanic adults have an obesity rate of 45.6 percent. American taxpayers spend $150 billion per year fighting obesity; is promoting it really something to be encouraged? Apparently, yes, if it provides a venue to install transgender people onto the stage by force from the government.
Broadway is one of the main attractions in New York City, for locals and tourists alike. COVID lockdowns between the 2021/2022 season resulted in 42 weeks rather than 52 in addition to many performance cancellations. The gross revenue of Broadway shows during this time period amounted to approximately $845 million. Prior, it had generated over $1.8 billion in 2018/2019 and welcomed 14.8 million admissions. Then, there’s the spillover revenue, which is immense - transportation, restaurants, boutiques, dry-cleaning, primping and preening, etc. Moreover, theater has generally been a family experience, from the Nutcracker to Frozen, to The Rockettes, to Aladdin. They go to be dazzled by the beauty, artists, and experience in totality.
The public has watched companies tank that decide to embrace standards the majority find unpalatable. By way of example, Victoria Secret’s Ed Razek, former chief marketing officer, resigned days after the lingerie brand hired its first openly transgender model. The brand has been called regressive for previously only using thin and curvaceous models and for being “dangerous and out of step with the current emphasis on body positivity.” However, trading one body type (thin) for another (plus-size or transgender) has been financially disastrous. As of November, 2022, Victoria's Secret total sales fell 8.5% in the third quarter.
Broadway should expect a similar financial nosedive if Bill INT 0209 passes.