Pride Month has become more and more of a commercial endeavor as much as it is a time to remember the fight for LGBTQ rights. Admittedly, I’ve been a bit curmudgeonly about this in the past, but the Wall Street Journal had a video on commercials that made me shift a bit of my thinking.
The video gives a long and detailed history of the portrayal of the LGBTQ community in ads. It’s easy for us to roll our eyes and sigh about seeing yet another gratuitous pride ad, especially in a world where there are legitimate legal threats to the safety of our community every day. But commercials hold a special place in popular culture and influence society in a number of ways. So seeing how it went from a winking, “in the know” type reference to ads with a transgender teenager shaving for the first time is pretty eye-opening.
It is a mixed feeling sometimes to see rainbow stuff slapped up at Michael’s craft store without any of the contexts of the blood, sweat, and tears that have come before…but at the same time, there’s something to be said for the subliminal ways commercials can hold up a mirror to society and showcase how different is still the same. If companies slapping rainbows on their signs for a month helps with that, maybe that’s an upside to seeing a riot become a moneymaker.