Opinion: Have we been Pinkwashing Pride?

By: Amara Iqbal 

As the rainbow season rolls around in May and ends in September, it has become an advantage for retailers in the UK to boost their sales, by changing their logos and marketing their brands with a pride-themed rainbow.

The term ‘Pinkwashing’ has been used where corporations would promote their brands to appear as gay- friendly to the modern world and society. Brands understand that the ‘pink dollar’ is good money, as the LGBT community is a multi-billion-dollar target market, which is estimated to be valued at $836 billion.

Brands including H&M, Boohoo and Calvin Klein have some way able to retail clothing brands for Pride, printing rainbow-themed designs on shirts and jackets. Other brands such as Bubly Sparkling water, Pride Listerine and even a rainbow printed sandwich made with bacon, tomato, guacamole and lettuce from M&S.

The questions that have been roaming on our minds is how many of these companies are actually giving back to the LGBT community? Or, are these companies just tagging along with what is mainstream to promote their brands? Would eating a £3 sandwich where the brand has slapped a rainbow-themed design actually help to promote LGBT rights?

Apart from Twitter making fun of the sandwich, or people assuming the portion of the money made from the sandwich will go to the LGBT charities, M&S had donated £10,000 to Albert Kennedy Trust which is the national LGBT Youth Homelessness charity organisation, and €1000 to belong to Youth services that work with LGBT young people in Ireland.

Even clothing brands Boohoo who had launched their Pride month collection called LoveWithoutLimits, where 10 per cent of each sale would be donated to pride charities. Other brands including H&M, Morphe, UGG, Marc Jacobs would also donate a certain percentage of the sales they make to the LGBT community.

It would seem that no matter what the brand’s intentions they are doing what they can to show their support, even it means slapping a logo on a sandwich to show their support. As much as it helps the brand, it does help the community by bringing a more colourful world to remind us how far we have come from LGBT rights.

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