Pride For Profit

Gabby Lund, Reporter

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With June being the month dedicated to pride and honoring the Stonewall riots, there have been many companies that have shared their support towards the LGBTQ+ community. The most common way these companies show their support is by temporarily changing their logos to something involving a rainbow. Facebook has done it with their current profile picture, as did Victoria’s Secret with their logos on social media, while other companies, such as Chipotle and H&M, walk at pride festivals to show their support. There have been many mixed opinions with the way companies promote themselves; some seem to love it and some seem to hate it, as they think it is just a marketing scheme. Companies know what they are doing during the month of June, they know exactly what to do to make money. They don’t truly care for the community and if they did, they would be donating or helping out in other ways.

 

Pink capitalism, also known as rainbow capitalism or gay capitalism, is when buisinesses incorperate the LGBTQ+ community into their marketing and products in order to profit off of the purchasing power that queer people and allies have. Companies try and show themselves as queer friendly to get LGBTQ+ supporters to buy their products, but many think that the companies are just pretending to support the community to make a profit. This marketing scheme is one that has gotten many reactions from people. While some people seem to not have an issue with it, many are noticing the trend and not agreeing with it. For example, Oakley Pastoor Price, a freshman at Milwaukie High School, is one of the people that have an issue with it and sees how it could be damaging. “Absolutely! Rainbow capitalism can be harmful because it makes people think they can support just by doing little things, when in reality, you have to support everyone or no one- you can’t just support one thing.”

 

Like Oakley, allies of the LGBTQ+ have seen that there seem to be flaws in the way brands show their support. When it comes to showing support online, most brands are immediately on board, but that is basically where it stops. These brands are not showing their support offline, and doing anything to help the community. Companies may be showing support online, and even at pride, but supporting the community around them isn’t as hard as it is made out to be. While there are many brands that may only show support online, there are just as many companies that are actually making a change. Target is just one company that is doing more than just promoting themselves online; this year they are donating $100,000 to an LGBTQ+ non profit organization.

 

Similar to other companies in the month of June, Victoria’s Secret was another company that jumped on the pride bandwagon, but they received the most backlash out of the bunch. Back in November of 2018, former Victoria’s Secret chief marketing officer, Ed Razek, told Vogue that transgender people were not part of the fashion show’s “fantasy”. Razek was insinuating that transgender people could not sell the fantasy that the company was wanting, and that they were not deemed good enough to be shown on the television special. At the beginning of this month PINK, owned by the same company as Victoria’s Secret, tried to show their support of the LGBTQ+ community by changing their logo to one involving a rainbow – but it wasn’t long until people were bringing up Razek’s comment. People online were quick to call them out for their hypocrisy, and are reminding the brand that the “T” in LGBTQ+ stands for transgender, something that the company previously seemed to not be in favor of. 17 year old Dylan Roberts shared his thoughts on Victoria’s Secret using pride as a marketing plot, “It makes me super angry that VS is using gay people as a sales point when they have stated many times before that they do not support some aspects of the lgbt community and it makes me feel violated in a way to know that they think they can do this and get away with it.”

 

At the end of the day, supporting the LGBTQ+ community online doesn’t always mean that you’re supporting them, as demonstrated by the multiple big corporate companies that use pride as a way to sell their brands. It may not be obvious that they are just trying to profit off of this month of celebrating, but that is truly what they are doing. This is no innocent concept— if they are not donating to the community or trying to help in other ways, they do not care. They are doing this to make money off of those in the community or that are trying to show their support. There are many ways to support the LGBTQ+ community without completely feeding into the greed of corporations. Donating money to non profit organizations focused on the community is one of the best ways to start and help out. When you’re wanting to buy clothing or something to celebrate the month, shopping at a place that donates their money to help the community is another great option. Instead of making a quick purchase, stop and think about who you’re giving your money to. As more and more people celebrate the month, decide if you want to give your money to the community or a big company that doesn’t care about anything other than making a quick buck.

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