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When You Hate Corporate Pride But Love Your Lady Gaga Oreos

rainbow pride
Via Shutterstock

There are worse things than a mega corp slapping a rainbow on a tweet.

June is Pride Month(tm), and you know what that means! It means that LGBTQ+ people all over gather together to complain about Pride Month. Yes, what richer, storied, and insufferable tradition do we have as a community than complaining about our community's second biggest event and tradition? It all started way back in the year after Stonewall when organizers tried to decide how to best carry forward their new found sense of community and activism. One group thought they should gather and march down to city hall to protest anti-LGBTQ+ laws and help organize support for the homeless LGBTQ+ youth of the city, another group wanted to overthrow global capitalism. So you see, our community has always been torn between different ideas.

Now we carry forward our founding traditions into the 21st century by complaining about Pride in June. We don't complain in September when Pride committees start organizing for next year. We don't complain in January when organizers are ramping up fundraising and start getting permits and entertainment. No, we wait till late May when pretty much everything is already done and we didn't do a damn thing other than buy some jello shots from a drag queen to help. Okay, I'll be fair, this isn't a unique trait to LGBTQ+ people, everyone bitches about how nothing is organized how they want it when they wouldn't even know where to begin to start. Hey, it's something that proves we really are just like everyone else.

Of course everyone bitches about "Rainbow Capitalism" now. You know, when corporations slap a rainbow on something and tweet some platitudes, and LGBTQ+ people who really need to log off and touch grass act like it's the worst crime against gay people ever. How horrible, we're a marketing demographic. I'm old enough to remember when we were a perfectly acceptable punchline for comedians and being out as queer was career death, now we're data Facebook collects to sell to marketers. Look, you wanted progress, this is what it looks like. I don't get what the problem with being pandered to is. I really don't. Every other aspect of your life is commodified. Look at those ads on the sides of this article. You see that ad for sneakers, makeup, hemorrhoid creme, or whatever? Those are your ads. Mine is for erectile dysfunction. Screw you ads. But yeah, everything else in your life is already broken down by age, income, race, gender, where you live, where you go (yeah, that location tracking on your phone does more than run a map), where you've shopped before; all of it is run through a spreadsheet and slapped into a power point presentation for a Madison Avenue ad firm to sell you toilet paper. Why should being queer be any different?

Besides, it's what we've fought for. We've fought for almost a century to be accepted by society. Did you think it was all going to be just laws protecting employment and watching gay couples kiss on TV? You're a consumer and we live in a capitalist society. We've reached a level of social acceptance where it's a bigger liability for corporations to not pander to us than not to. Which brings up another thing. If corporations listened to your complaints about rainbow logos and merchandise and stopped doing it, along with no longer making commercials where gay couples cuddle beside a lake to sell prescription foot fungus ointment, how many of you would be pissed because they're erasing us and we're "not represented"? You know that old saying about being careful what you wish for? Well, wish granted.

Some of you bitch about certain corporations but seem to fine with others. Oh don't deny it. How many bags of Lady Gaga Oreos you still got stashed in your cabinet? Some of you are perfectly fine with being pandered and marketed to as long as it's done the way you want it and it's the things you like. Some of these corporations you're mad are slapping rainbows on things you don't like because of your personal politics. A great example, Raytheon. Yeah, Raytheon, the defense contractor. Now, I don't deny that they are an enormous company that sells military technology, but that's not all they sell. They also sell aviation equipment that helps the cargo planes that air-freighted that pop socket for your cell phone, you know, the one with the lesbian pride symbol on it, all the way from the Chinese sweatshop where it was made by a woman in a factory with suicide nets.

Now I know the argument you're gonna make, "Yeah, I have a cell phone made by Chinese slave labor, but that doesn't mean we can't improve society somewhat." You're right of course. We should always want to improve society somewhat. We can't help that our society is so complex that we have no choice but to consume unethically. But that's not the point. The point is, is that we do live in that incredibly complex society and you shouldn't get cranky when someone chooses to consume unethically in a different way than you do that is not deliberately destructive. I mean, the guy gleefully murdering baby pandas for their luxurious fur, yeah, fuck that guy. But in a society where almost every mega corp has some sort of defense or government contract, or conducts business in some horribly unethical way, we're all villains for consuming goods and services. Remember those Lady Gaga Oreos I mentioned? Oreo is a Nabisco brand, Nabisco is owned Mondelez International, which is currently part of a class action lawsuit for using child slave labor to harvest cocoa beans in West Africa.

We do indeed live in a society don't we?

Look, corporations aren't gonna stop slapping trendy, socially appealing changes to their logos and pander to the zeitgeist in order to get you buy their shit, because it works. You bought those stupid Oreos didn't you? We live in a society, and we want to be accepted by that society. The society we live in is a capitalist, consumerist, appearance-driven, super trendy one, and corporations are just doing what they're designed to do; sell you crap. Don't get mad that being LGBTQ+ is now so normie that you're just another marketing demographic to sell sodas and sneakers to. Maybe you shouldn't have built a personal brand around being an oppressed outsider, because there's no copyright on that.

Amanda Kerri is an Oklahoma-based writer, comedian, and frequent contributor to The Advocate. Follow her on Twitter @Amanda_Kerri.

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