Taste The Colors of the Rainbow of Profit
LGTBQ+ People Have Money Too, Let’s Get It!
This is how I imagine the conversation goes at like every corporate company’s marketing strategy meeting for the summer quarter.
“What do we got coming up that we can profit from?”
“Hmm. Well. Next month is June. There’s Father’s Day?”
“Yeah, but like, no one really likes their fathers.”
“Come on really? What are we going to do with that?!”
“Juneteenth is a pretty big deal.”
“I don’t even know what the hell that is?! Give us something to really go on!”
“Umm… the first official day of summer happens.”
“Oh! What about the Gays?! The Gays have money they like to spend on stuff too!”
“Yeah, but what about the Gays?”
“June is Pride month.”
“Oh right. What’s there for the Gays to be so proud about again?”
(*The one gay person at end of table cringes*)
“Does it matter? We could just put a rainbow on everything for the month and everyone will think we’re so tolerant and accepting and then we’ll be loved by the gays and the straights and our profit margin will increase.”
“Wait. All we have to do is put a rainbow on all our marketing material for a month?”
“Yeah. And we could probably just get Steve the Intern to do it.”
“Is Steve gay?”
“I don’t know. He’s graphic designer?”
“Are graphic designer’s gay?”
Sure, that’s a hypothetical meeting, but as someone who has worked in marketing for many years, it’s not a stretch. In fact, Rainbow Washing might be becoming worse than October’s Pink-Washing for Breast Cancer Awareness.
As stated in above hypothetical conversation, Rainbow Washing is when a company uses the Rainbow Symbol, a symbol that represents all the different spectrums of sexualities and ways of being, less so to show support and more so to make a profit.
Of course, these companies may argue that they’re both trying to show support and make a profit. Sure, whatever, thanks for trying? But sorry, Budweiser still tastes like Budweiser even when you put two hot gay guys on a poster and stick a rainbow behind them. Yeah, I get it. Gay people also drink beer, but maybe we’d like your companies more if you thought about us more than one month out the year? Like, if you actually showed support by I don’t know, supporting us, than by just saying, “You Go, Ya Gays!”
(To be clear, I am not gay. I am attracted to people regardless of their gender identity. This does not mean I fuck everyone, but I’ve probably fucked more people than you.)
The most recent rainbow washing that got up my ass the most was this literal rainbow flag painting of two crosswalks along South Broadway here in Denver. It would be fine if a couple of people went out and threw down some ROY G BIV, but no, they have to make it way more complicated. They’ve estimated the cost to be around $25,000.
In the grand scheme of things $25,000 is nothing. BUT, to paint sidewalks when there are so many people in need of housing, food, medical care etc.? Nah, dudes, nah.
Then there was the whole Ipsy thing. I just started getting Ipsy a few months ago and I had really been enjoying it. Have to say, your marketing department has NO LGBT+ on staff (or they’re silenced) if you think it’s acceptable to say “authentic women v. trans women.” You all are selling makeup. EVERYONE wears makeup these days because that’s how good we’ve gotten at marketing… where you at?! Fucking authentic woman? That’s even worse than that bullshit phrase, “real women have ___.” Or “real women do ____” Real women? Authentic women?
(If you want to get super theoretical, there are no REAL or AUTHENTIC any ONE anymore. We are all copies of copies of copies, but that’s a major digression.)
Anyway, I appreciate that the company has issued an apology and on top of that they’re now working to learn more about the full spectrum of ways of being that exist on this planet.
Do marketing companies need to have this understanding? Why does it matter if Pepsi or United Airlines or Cover Girl or any or all companies grasp the concepts of intersectionality? Why does it matter if they know anything about the LGBTQ+ communities or being a minority or being from working class or how all of it intersects with each other to cause oppression and struggle?
I don’t know? Maybe because all of these people use money to buy things too (when they have it at least). And if you want us to buy things then we want you to understand us or at least make it seem like it’s not so obvious you’re using us.
How could you possibly do this?
Hmm. Well. Maybe start by hiring LGBTQ+, minorities, freaks, geeks, weirdos, to come on board and help you. And by hire, I mean equal pay. I mean giving these people agency. I mean listening to what we have to say and not just staffing us as another attempt to “look good.”
I get it, I get it. Of course it’s not ALL companies. Some companies actually are supportive blah blah. That’s not really what I’m saying.
I’m saying to all the companies out there Rainbow Washing to make a profit, we’re on to you, we’re watching you, and most of us would rather you have our backs then post a few extra pops of color on your ads for one month out the year.
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