Rainbow Capitalism

Photo courtesy of Blake Israel

As we enter Pride Month, we at the Technique editorial board wish to discuss the phenomenon of rainbow capitalism, which has become very prevalent in the past few years, especially with public pushes for corporate progressiveness. Rainbow capitalism is described as the influence of capitalism and consumerism on the LGBTQIA+ movement. While the facts surrounding rainbow capitalism are complex in nature, we wish to discuss some of its pros and cons. 

One such qualm is the brief nature of LGBTQIA+ support. These Pride campaigns often last only for the span of Pride Month. The efforts come across as performative; companies should instead continue to show their support throughout the year, not just during the highly visible month of June. The month-long pro-LGBTQIA+ spurt seems as though companies will only support and uplift the LGBTQIA+ community if they can benefit monetarily. 

Target pulling their Pride month products exemplifies how this line of merchandise is performative. After facing backlash from critics, Target immediately removed some of their Pride month products, which demonstrated how willing they were to appease those who oppose them and take a step back in their support.

This is not only the case with Pride-adjacent issues. Products like Walmart’s “Juneteenth Cheesecake Ice Cream” are an example of how a company’s supposed support ends up being offensive and disrespectful. Along the same vein, shallow efforts like changing a logo’s colors to rainbow, as exhibited by LinkedIn and Xbox, is by no means a show of genuine support. Even former President Donald Trump launched a pride collection, but rather than donating proceeds to LGBTQIA+ organizations, they went towards his reelection campaign. Many of these measures are ingenuine and appear as attempts to make money or give in to pressure.

Additionally, there are more effective ways to support LGBTQIA+ communities.  Progress towards more expansive collections in stores would be a far more effective means of driving inclusivity forward. It is imperative that products must service the groups that they intend to support. An example of this is Target selling binders, a vital and often difficult to find tool for non-binary and trans communities, in an easily accessible way thorough their stores and online.

 Hiring a more inclusive staff, as well as fostering a welcoming and safe environment for all minorities, is an important step in supporting these communities. Employees should feel comfortable communicating their needs and should also feel that those needs are truly being heard. While Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity (DEI) initiatives can be difficult to successfully cultivate, they are a necessary part of making positive change in supporting minorities like the LGBTQIA+ community. Without sufficient resources and time and effort being put into DEI programs, they are not taken seriously.  

It is extremely important that companies speak up and take measures to support the LGBTQIA+ community and other minorities. Certain states and their people in power, such as Florida and Governor Ron DeSantis, have enacted anti-LGBTQIA+ policy; it would be highly beneficial if companies, large and small, spoke out against such legislation. An example of this is AMC threatening to stop filming its hit show “The Walking Dead” in Georgia if the “Religious Freedom” Act, which created allowance for discrimination and termination of employees based on sexual orientation, was passed. Making changes both internally, by making space for these communities within their organizations, and externally, by standing up for these communities publicly, is the only way we can successfully uplift these communities and make an impact in the years.