Clouds covering the rainbow

Rainbow capitalism isn’t all sunshine and representation


Grace Joseffer

Pride and capitalism

Rainbow Capitalism is corporations taking advantage of Pride Month as a way to get money. Businesses act like they are demonstrating support while they are actually using it as a marketing opportunity to profit off the LGBTQ+ community, it is manipulation.

Last year in June, Popular Info showed 25 brands that had rainbow avatars on social media, sponsored Pride parades, and showed support to the LGBTQ+ community. However, corporations have donated more than $10 million to anti-LGBTQ+ politicians in the last two years. Those same companies brag about their 100% rating on the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) 2020 Corporate Equality Index, but the HRC does not take political donations into account.

Companies will be very pride friendly, until July 1 when they go back to heteronormativity; and this connects beyond LGBTQ+ in media and advertising. In a study conducted by Unilever, one in two people from marginalized communities (including LGBTQ+ people) felt they have been stereotyped in some way through advertising. Having “Pride” or a rainbow on a t-shirt isn’t good enough. LGBTQ+ merchandise can be great, but they do little to actually benefit the community. If companies only make pride themed products for the sake of profit, then what good does that do? 

Some companies do donate a small percentage of their earnings on their pride collections to LGBTQ+ charities, but others don’t at all. Why should companies be profiting off of the community? ”Real pride is not rainbow capitalism,” Sarah Hallonquist, an entrepreneur and activist, said in an article from the NY Times. “Real pride [is] ‘for queer people, by queer people.”

If their collection is representing the community, it should be given back to the community. A great example of this is Kellog’s “Together with Pride” cereal. Kellog’s collaborated with GLAAD (The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) on the cereal, they also donated a portion of the profit to GLAAD and had a place on the cereal box for people to write down their pronouns.  

Also, support from companies seems to only be during the month of June, Pride Month. As soon as July comes around, their support is hidden if they even are still supporting the LGBTQ+ community. Disney released the gay short film, “Out,” at the end of May 2020, but they have hardly had any outright LGBTQ+ representation in their mainstream media. Big companies supporting and representing the community is so important. If companies want to actually support the LGBTQ+ community, then they should support them all year round, not just during Pride Month.

 Showing “support” for the LGBTQ+ community and trying to sell your products to people in the community, is not all that helpful and can taint what pride actually is. 




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