Also known as pink capitalism or gay capitalism, Rainbow capitalism is where companies will incorporate the LGBTQ+ movement into their marketing, products etc. in order to capitalise off the the purchasing power that queer individuals have. Rainbow capitalism was a move by companies in order to validate themselves as an LGBTQ+ ally, and a place for LGBTQ+ consumers to buy stuff. Unfortunately, it thrives of white, cisgender, gay people – while erasing POC, disabled, trans, and neurodivergent queers (or any intersection of those identities) – because in our society, those people are as ‘social accepted’ in terms of consumption.
Overall, pink capitalism happens because LGBTQ+ individuals want to support companies that support them (which is totally understandable) – but why is it harmful? Rainbow capitalism is harmful because it works of profit and interests, therefore making capitalism the central focus point of any Pride event – with pride related commodities becoming an unfortunate vocal point for Pride, companies are benefiting from rainbow capitalism (and capitalism as a whole) – which has unfortunately resulted in these large corporations are taking over spaces that were originally for queer people to feel safe. As a result, Pride has become less about liberation, rights and freedom, and more about making profit.
Furthermore, the side effect of rainbow capitalism is that Pride has become more about people buying stuff and individuals showing their allyship through brought goods – and not activism. By ignoring the root oppression and the history of Pride, and the constant discrimination that happens due to the different intersections that the LGBTQ+ community face, rainbow capitalism continues to sweep Pride by storm.
But how can we solve this? Or at least try and make rainbow capitalism less prominent at pride? Well, here are my 5 tips on how to make rainbow capitalism not the vocal point of pride.
- Look into the company: investigate whether they have been actively involved with the LGBTQ+ community throughout the year (and not just during Pride season).
- INVESTIGATE SOME MORE: This could include looking into the companies discrimination policy or where your money is actually going. Or, like I mentioned in my first tip, see if the company is an active ally for the LGBTQ+ community all year round, and not just during pride month
- Try and find out where your money is going: you could also Look to see if the company donates some of their profits to LGBTQ+ charities / organisations that actively support the community. If they don’t try to find out why.
- But, improve your shopping habits first: Try and ask yourself, ‘why am I wanting to wear/buy/adorn myself with this item?‘ Your motivation and intentions when getting a commodity are important.
- Try and support small, queer businesses: especially those who fall under other minority groups (if possible)- so instead of supporting large corporations, try and support independant, queer creators / companies. I’ll provide the name of some queer companies / independant people when I upload this blog post.
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t visually show off your pride – because, for me at least, pride is about showing my identity, so having a jacket that is currently being filled with as much queer shit as I can find, it gives me a sense of pure joy and, well, pride. So feel free to buy as much stuff as you can afford. I also feel as though pride can unite our community, and maybe, unfortunately, the only day of the year where someone may feel can be their authentic self.
I just wanted to raise awareness of this topic, thats all. Plus, supporting queer people who make queer stuff is amazing, and who knows, you might find your new favourite store to buy stuff for more future prides!