Aiming to be more diverse and less ‘pinkwashed,’ the cosmetics industry is taking a more subdued approach to its product campaigns during this year’s Pride month.
Celebrating LGBTQ+ life and campaigning for equality, every year Pride organisations come together to shine a light on the community and the challenges its members face on a daily basis. During the last few Pride months, there’s been a large increase in brands tapping into the movement to engage with consumers. This marketing tactic, when done mostly for economic gain, is what many critics refer to as ‘pinkwashing’ wherein brands jump on the LGBTQ+ bandwagon to capitalise on what originally began as a protest.
Emerging as a time for rainbow-filled advertisements and often insincere declarations of allyship, Pride month has become yet another opportunity for brands to financially exploit something without significantly helping the cause it’s designed to support.
However, in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the ensuing global protests that have dramatically re-focused conversations in recent weeks, brands – particularly those within the beauty industry – are making sure to either delay or rework their campaigns, avoiding tokenistic characterisations and ensuring their practices match their doctrines.
‘To be perfectly honest, I’m totally frustrated with the majority of companies who are jumping on this bandwagon of celebrating Pride as a capitalist game,’ says the founder of gender-fluid, lesbian-owned company Noto Botanics. ‘I feel that this year’s Pride is already way more authentic than last year’s Pride, as far as companies coming out, because they know they’re going to get called out a lot more easily.’
Never before has it been more important for the corporate world to approach its outlook on discrimination with commitment and credibility, to stretch beyond commercial interests and demonstrate genuine aid. Although there’s no shortage of this on social media and product packaging, brands cashing in on a movement they’re not tangibly helping have been too slow to recognise the need for more transparency, their roles in activism limited to launches and sales.
This does not, however, imply that all Pride month campaigns are ‘bad.’ Here, we round up a few of our favourite charitable beauty brands putting their money where their mouth is in the ongoing fight for equality and acceptance. Like Pride itself, they are loud, proud, and celebratory of LGBTQ+ lives so, if you’re seeking to indulge in some newness and get involved, this is where you should start.