Happy Pride! June is Pride Month, during which members of the LGBTQ community celebrate their identities, shed light on the history of the movement, discuss terminology and issues we're facing, and more. In recent years, there has been so much momentum when it comes to rights and freedoms for LGBTQ folks, although there's still a ways to go. And with more exposure and acceptance comes something called rainbow capitalism. Here's what it means and why it's such a problem.
What is rainbow capitalism?
According to PBS, rainbow capitalism is a term that is used to describe big corporations, brands, and companies using rainbows, coming out with Pride merch, and more in order to show support for the LGBTQ community. On the surface, it's a great thing. For decades, many people never thought they would be able to see acceptance on such a grand scale, but not all support is genuine. Many companies only show support in order to persuade people to spend money.
Unfortunately, many brands and companies just slap a rainbow on their logos and talk about how much they love and support the community in June. Once July comes, it's all gone and everyone is back to business as usual. On its own, this isn't a bad thing, but considering how many of these same companies support legislation that would deny us rights and freedoms, it all looks rather fake.
For example, Amazon is currently promoting its Pride Out Loud campaign, stating, "We’re celebrating Pride and amplifying all voices of the LGBTQIA+ community." This is nice and all, but the company also donated thousands of dollars to senators Joni Ernst, Steve Daines, and Lindsey Graham, who all have publicly denounced LGBTQ rights.
According to The Guardian, a number of companies including CVS, AT&T, Walmart, and more have all publicly supported the LGBTQ community, but in private, they donate their money to politicians, policies, laws, and more that actively fight against LGBTQ rights.
The happiest place on Earth, aka Disney, is another company that has thrown the LGBTQ community under the bus. We all love our rainbow Mickey ears, but the company has been called out for supporting politicians who support the "Don't Say Gay" bill that's being discussed in Florida now.
Disney expressed support for the LGTBQ community, but many LGTBQ employees came forward saying that the company is not a beacon of support for LGBTQ representation.
On the bright side, we always have memes. Many people have taken to social media to talk about rainbow capitalism and express how they can see right through the facade these companies are trying to put forward. Here are some of the best ones.
This is literally the best one.
DoctorPhotograph has some incredible photoshop skills and when we saw this bottle of "Kraft Real Gayo," we could definitely believe this was from a real ad. This isn't exactly a meme, but it's better while giving the same energy as one. When this creator spoke to Distractify, it was clear that this is a commentary on the ridiculousness of all the rainbow marketing.
"It was a commentary on how hard companies will try to squeeze a buck out of the LGBTQ+ community," DoctorPhotograph told us.
The Instagram caption — which reads "Spreading pride just got easier 🌈" — made it that much better.
Elon Musk feels how we all feel.
Who knew that one of the best memes against rainbow capitalism would come from Elon Musk? We all know the feeling that comes over us when Pride Month is a few days away. While we love all the rainbow merch, every company changes its logo like clockwork.
Once June is over, so are the rainbows.
A lot of people in the LGBTQ community don't think we need to see rainbows all over the place all the time. But it feels like these companies go back to "normal" once Pride Month is over. Like they were only supporting us publicly for our money. That's probably true, but couldn't they at least act like it's not?
Rainbow capitalism isn't just about big companies.
A lot of smaller businesses can also participate in rainbow capitalism. Some slap a rainbow on something but make sure there's some kind of order minimum to make sure they profit off of you. If there are any special deals or promotions for June, it could be a good idea to think about how much it will cost you compared to other times of the year.
In addition, many companies will try to persuade you by offering to donate to an LGBTQ organization if you spend a certain amount of money with them. But remember you can always donate independently without going through a store.