Culture News & Commentary

Is the Rainbow-Wash Wearing Off

It's been dubbed "Rainbow Capitalism," and an increasing number of folks, even within the LGBTQ+ community, are beginning to recognize it for the disingenuous, virtue signalling, money-grab that it is.

Well, it’s Pride Month, again. Not that anyone needed reminding. It’s hard to miss it, given the fact that for the entire month of June, corporations and government departments are proudly waving the LGBTQ+ flag.

And I don’t just mean some organizations either. Virtually every major company you can think of has updated their official logos across their social media accounts with a rainbow-themed filter.

It’s so contagious, you’d be hard-pressed to find a significant organization with an online presence that hasn’t joined the parade.

Rainbow-themed corporate and government logos.

Of course, that’s only when it’s not financially detrimental to do so. While everything might appear rainbow-washed in the West, a curious absence of colour remains in other parts of the world.

In particular, those places where LGBTQ activism might require some level of sacrifice. When business is involved, that means fewer profits. And isn’t that really what they’re all about?

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Screenshot of official accounts not celebrating LGBTQ+ Pride in the Middle East.

Obviously, these organizations believe they have something to gain when they offer superficial assent to LGBTQ Pride through rainbow-themed marketing. This is what their selective approach would suggest.

They’ll fly the flag in support of practically any cause, from environmentalism to abortion, or Black Lives Matter. The only prerequisite is that everybody else is doing it first, regardless of the blatant hypocrisy.

The reluctance to campaign where these ideas have not been embraced, and when it’s not regarded fashionable to do so, only suggests these organizations are not really about advancing the “cause” at all. They may fly the rainbow flag, but the only banner most of these organizations march under is green. Money, not woke activism, is their end. The colour-blind can see that.

It’s been dubbed “Rainbow Capitalism,” and an increasing number of folks, even within the LGBTQ+ community, are beginning to recognize it for the disingenuous, virtue signal that it is.

In recent months, many companies now donning the rainbow filter have been called out for undermining the very cause they’re supposedly backing by giving significant donations to political candidates opposed to legislation that LGBTQ+ advocates say will further the rainbow agenda.

You may take no issue with advancing conservative or Christian politicians, but let’s not pretend this isn’t rank hypocrisy on the part of corporates.

A recent piece on Salon laments: “Many of the corporations that proudly don rainbow symbols and pro-LGBTQ messaging exclusively during Pride either spend the entire year actively perpetuating the oppression of the most marginalized, or even donating large sums of money to anti-LGBTQ politicians.”

OpenSecrets reports that throughout 2016, 2018, and the first quarter of the 2020 election cycles, 17 major companies Political Action Committees (PACs), all of whom actively promote their involvement with Pride organizations or LGBTQ advocacy groups, “gave more than $17 million dollars to representatives who recently opposed the Equality Acts.”

Even CNN reported, “a growing chorus of LGBTQ voices are ridiculing the way Pride Month is being marketed by large companies, especially as they grow bolder with their use of queer language and imagery.”

Adding, “Maybe it’s rainbow capitalism — the idea that some companies use LGBTQ allyship for their own gain. Maybe it’s simply bad design. But something doesn’t sit right.”

Medusa, a “non-binary musician and LGBTQ advocate based in New York,” was recently cited in a piece for the Independent, describing rainbow capitalism as blatant exploitation.

“Pride month gives corporations the delicious opportunity to disguise their capitalism as activism; when else is blatant exploitation rewarded with praise?” she said. “An abundance of colorful products might foster the illusion of acceptance, but this support is conditional. Is your identity marketable enough to exploit? If not, can it be reduced to something that is?”

Medusa continued: “The success of a rainbow campaign is not measured by the progress it affects, but by the profit it yields. And, like seasonal allergies, this interest in LGBTQ+ issues fades by late summer.”

But what if there’s another aspect we’re missing?

During his recent ‘The Truth of It’ tour, Martyn Iles, the director of the Australian Christian Lobby, was thrown a question on this subject when he was asked why corporates go woke.

Iles noted that big corporates were once the enemy of the hard-left. The Marxist-types were concerned about an economic social divide between the haves and have-nots. It wasn’t that long ago that the Left was marching on Wall Street, railing against the rich who are supposedly hoarding the world’s wealth and condemning the 1% who are said to profit off our labours.

“The corporates were the symbol of evil,” Iles said. “So, if you are an airline, a big bank, a telco, what’s the easiest thing for you to do to make Cancel Culture, protest culture, activism leave you alone? Just go woke.

“You’ve got banks who are financing things the Cultural Marxists can’t abide, but because they put a rainbow flag on top of their branch, and they call their ATMs “GAYTMS” … they get a leave-pass, because they’ve bowed the knee,” Iles told his audience.

This is doubly revealing. Not only does it highlight just how disingenuous some of these corporates are by waving two contradictory flags, one in each hand, it also exposes something about the totalitarian nature of this current culture.

Every rainbow-washed corporate has been convinced that by publicly subjecting themselves to a particular ideology they’ll gain something not afforded to them otherwise. In other words, their political affirmation is believed to bring with it a certain level of “privilege.”

Or as Iles went on to say, they’ve been given a leave-pass because “they’ve bowed the knee to the agenda, and they’re promoting the politics. And that really is the way to redemption for everyone, for these people: You change your politics and you’re safe.”

But as the rainbow-wash fades, the month comes to an end, and corporate logos revert back to their original branding, more and more folks will continue to catch on to the hypocrisy that is “rainbow capitalism.”

And when they do, what these corporates will discover is that mere lip service will no longer suffice. Once upon a time, they demanded tolerance. The demand for tolerance became a demand for public affirmation. Now, if you know what’s best for you, you better hope that public affirmation is consistent with your full political endorsement.

Pride-themed logos may have taken the target off the backs of rich corporates for a time, but the rainbow-wash just might be beginning to wear off.