It’s easy to mock brands for “rainbow capitalism.” Exposed as marketing as soon as right-wingers get angry, the talk stops being about “diversity” and becomes about “unity,” then progressives and conservatives compete over where the weathervane points next. Some companies, though, have shown more consistent solidarity with queer people and resistance to conservative steering efforts. “Great, Now I Have to Side With the Brands for Pride Month,” writes Miles Klee.
It’s almost embarrassing to be grateful that a handful of multibillion-dollar behemoths have ignored a disgusting moral panic, suggesting that they’d rather have gay and trans customers than extremists bent on erasing those identities from public life. After all, much of this support still boils down to, uh, colors. That certain brands merely avoided falling into the culture war trap is something of a meager, bittersweet victory.
They passed a crucial test of the moment, however, and in that sense… you maybe gotta hand it to them. The gestures that meant comparatively little in “normal” times take on new significance in an era of genocidal rhetoric about a vulnerable minority. By standing up to such orchestrated abuse, even if just online, you can send an implied message that no giant corporation would make explicit: “Fuck off, losers.”
If it seems that progressives are generally losing this “brands supporting Pride” thing, a part of it is because violence isn’t taken seriously when it comes from the Right. It turns out that threats wreck shareholder value fast when they’re posed like sports news and there’s no realistic prospect of it being managed.