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Rainbow Capitalism – Hurting or Helping?

rainbow themed products for pride month
IgorVetushko on Deposit Photos

Pride Month has arrived, and corporations are changing their social media logos and putting out products targeted to the LGBTQ+ community. This recent trend — “rainbow capitalism” —has been the source of much controversy. Are these brands appropriating the imagery and language of a community to make money? Or are they simply showing support?

What is “Rainbow Capitalism”?

“Rainbow capitalism” is a term that has emerged only in the past few years. It describes the way companies market specifically to the LGBTQ+ community: releasing merchandise during Pride Month to be seen as allies.

Some consumers see this as hypocritical, as many of these corporations are only releasing products while not doing anything else. Many in the LGBTQ+ community think these brands should not market to the community when they haven’t joined the cause and spoken out against injustice, especially considering many of these companies have a lot of influence.

“Brands need to approach Pride not as a marketing moment to sell products and profit from LGBTQ people, but [as] a time to loudly use their reach and influence to affirm our community and support advocacy organizations in authentic and impactful ways.”

Sarah Kate Ellis, CEO of media group GLAAD

Are brands doing their part?

Yet, some people view the sheer volume of advertising and support as progress. Brands creating rainbow logos and producing themed merchandise could be viewed as micro affirmations. A few decades ago, brands designing rainbow-colored clothes and merchandise with LGBTQ+ slang would have been risky. So, some members of the LGBTQ+ community believe since these companies are marketing so openly and abundantly, it’s a step forward.

Activism or pandering?

Is it activism or pandering? It depends on how you see it. What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

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