Pride Month enters during the first month of summer every year. With it, company logos remodel themselves with rainbow colors. Storefronts and fast food chains plaster the front of their windows with stickers. Curated pride sections are shown off at many stores entrances. The list goes on and the rainbows are plentiful. However, Pride Month is deeper than the rainbow.
Representing the pride flag has become a way to avoid addressing issues within the LGBTQIA+ community, taking advantage of the symbol and its rich history. What serves as a reminder to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community and support the LGBTQIA+ rights movement now makes us think: is this allyship or just another way for corporations to capitalize on social equality?
‘Rainbow-washing’ occurs when people, companies, the government, or corporations fail to advocate properly for the LGBTQIA+. Still, aggressive marketing is done by these groups to take advantage of LGBTQIA+ issues for commercial benefit. Rather than making Pride Month about the LGBTQ+ community, it becomes about $$$. Rights within this community have been relentlessly fought for and the fight continues. Through steps taken and improvements made, it’s important to hold businesses, corporations, and individuals accountable for speaking. This would mean donating profits and having conversations. It also includes standing up for the community for more than a month… it’s a commitment.
By doing this, people can educate themselves. Pride Month is a time to honor, celebrate, and fight for the rights of the community. It’s also just as important to continue to speak up. Many Instagram users have posted graphics explaining rainbow-washing and their feelings towards it. Here are two posts that, indeed, did some influencing.
Many have flocked to TikTok, making informational videos and bringing attention to the marketing through recent trends.
While Pride Month is trending on TikTok, so is the recognition of how performative companies’ attempts can be. All in all, celebrating pride month should be vital. It’s about liberating the queer community. But, it’s not about capitalizing on the flag that represents them. Let’s celebrate it by being true advocates. Rainbow-washing helps us understand where work still needs to be done. So, next time you see a rainbow plastered across a product or storefront, take a second look!