Pride and Capitalism
Updated: Jan 12
June: The month of Pride.
Pride- The month of harebrained marketing strategies capitalizing on queer people.
Every year, queer people around the world get to celebrate their unique identities in the accepting atmosphere of fellow queers. However, capitalism has stuck its grubby, soot-stained paws into pride in the hopes of eking out a few bucks at the expense of the LGBTQ+ community(as is usual with the system of unregulated capitalism.) These companies turn pride into a gag: rainbow clothes, rainbow flags, rainbow everything that essentially makes pride a month of flashy rainbows and nothing more.
Let’s begin with how this system of rainbow capitalism came into existence. In the 1990s, the acceptance of queer people increased as a result of liberalization and progressive attitudes. With this acceptance, the number of queer people breaking into high-paying white-collared jobs usually reserved for cishet white men increased. As a result of this influx, the purchasing power of these individuals increased, hence they spent on luxury items. Companies took notice of this rising demographic and the growing market but didn’t act on it as a majority of their customers were still conservative. They risked a good portion of their customers if they chose to cater to a small, but rising demographic. Means of advertising hadn’t reached the standard of today, as a result, queer people still remained marginalized.
Cut to today, the era of social media. The concept of companies changing their normal, usual logos into rainbow versions was started to show solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community. However with the advent of hyper-aggressive selling techniques, the number of companies doing this sky-rocketed. The process remained the same but the intent behind it changed, it changed drastically.
Marketing strategies have evolved such that it ensures maximum outputs with the least input. It’s all about efficiency and finding ways to increase profit at the cost of anything. Be it salary cuts, compromising on the quality of raw materials, or finding tax breaks: the list is endless. Now, when these money-hungry conglomerates find that there’s a marginalized community, they do their best not to support them but to get their money. The idea of solidarity has gone out the window and into the gutter. As soon as their “selling season” is over, the excessive rainbows are gone as they prepare for the next thing that they can exploit.
So what can you do to reduce this wild capitalism? If you’re going to buy any pride merch for yourself or anyone else, do a little research on the company. Check their track record and if they have donated to LGBTQ+ charities. If you can’t find any conclusive evidence, make sure to educate others about these companies as one person’s ignorance could lead to a secretly homophobic millionaire profiting of you.
Now, the choice rests in your hands.