The first Pride ever took place around the 1950s and 1960s in the United States. Annual reminders began in 1965 and took place each July 4 at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. It’s no secret the popularity of these Prides has increased. And so has the attention of brands. But what are the motives of these companies? And what the fuck is “pinkwashing”?
Pinkwashing, also called queer-baiting, is very similar to greenwashing. But this time it’s about “supporting” the LGBTQ+ community. Lately, almost every brand has brought out its own LGBTQ+ (clothing) line. We can only applaud brands publicly supporting and creating awareness around this community, but what’s the use of it when the community only exists during June?
Creating a rainbow-inspired collection is, unfortunately, not enough. Especially since everyone knows that supporting diversity sells. So, the motives sometimes are just money. And that is a problem. You cannot support such a vulnerable community, sell products for them and in their name, and not give (money) back. Another problem is excluding LGBTQ+ people in the process. For example, excluding them to design and promote the collection.
In short: Pinkwashing is a brand reaping the benefits of selling diversity without actually doing the legwork to better the lives of the LGBTQ+ community. The brands don’t work with LGBTQ+ creatives, don’t fund LGBTQ+ projects and organizations, and it pretends the LGBTQ+ community doesn’t exist the rest of the year. And that’s just not how it works.