Pink capitalism

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Queer bloc protesting against rainbow capitalism during Dublin Pride 2016.

Pink capitalism (also called rainbow capitalism[1], homocapitalism[2] or gay capitalism[3]) is a term used to describe, from a critical perspective, the incorporation of the LGBT movement and sexual diversity to capitalism and the market economy; especially as this incorporation pertains to the gay, cisgender, western, white, and upper middle class communities and market.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13]

Specifically, the term refers to the targeted inclusion of the gay community, which has acquired sufficient purchasing power (referred to in this context as pink money) to generate a market focused specifically on them. Examples of such targeted inclusion are bars and nightclubs, LGBT tourism, or specialized culture consumption.[14][15]

The term is often used in discussions of the conflict between an increasing opportunity for homosocialization and the drive towards an assimilation of sexual diversity caused by companies' definition of new consumption patterns. The new body aesthetics and fashion trends set by advertising canons employing pink capitalism, for example, are sometimes argued to push gender-diverse communities towards socially accepted sexual standards.[7][14][16][17]

Historical context[edit]

According to some authors[who?], the global evolution of "pink capitalism" has been parallel to the development of modern capitalism in the West. Although historical evidence shows that diversity of sexualities has always existed[citation needed], different periods in businesses' development targeted at the LGBTI community, which have contributed to the construction of diverse sexual identities, can be distinguished[when?].[3][18][19][20]

Underground phase[edit]

LGBT Club Eldorado in Berlin during the 1920s.

Since the last decades of the 19th century, bars, cabarets, brothels, and even some magazines targeted specifically at the gay community have existed in cities across Europe and the United States. Although members of the LGBTI community were still often publicly persecuted, the creation of these businesses corresponded to the beginning of the first drive for LGBTQ rights. This first LGBT movement was disintegrated between the First and Second World Wars and the rise of fascism in Europe.[21][20]

Community-building phase[edit]

After the Second World War, Western culture was influenced by the homophobia of fascism.[22] Although LGBTI consumption remained marginal, during this time various homophile associations were created to seek positive assessment of homosexuality by society through meetings, publications, or charity parties.[clarification needed] These associations opposed behaviors associated with homosexuals deemed marginal and perverted, such as promiscuity, cruising, prostitution, saunas, and erotic magazines.[23][24]

Integration in media culture phase[edit]

Stonewall Inn in 1969.

The Stonewall riots of 1969 marked the beginning of the LGBT liberation movement, characterized by increased public visibility of homosexuality, the aim of decriminalizing homosexuality, and increased social and political integration. The movement resulted in a negative social response, in part driven by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, which in turn led to the development of the queer movement by discriminated gay groups.[25]

During the 1990s, the discrimination of the gay community diminished, broadening LGBT people's access to formerly heteronormative jobs. This resulted in increased purchasing power for the LGBT community, or the creation of "pink money". Homosexuals in particular represented a large portion of this purchasing power. The trend is closely related to that of DINKs, couples with two incomes and no children.[16]

These processes are especially evident in the dynamics of gay neighborhoods, which attracted LGBT people[when?] with their affordability and the social security provided by living with other sexual minorities. These neighborhoods, after decreasing social stigma made them "trendy", then gradually underwent the gentrification process. Rising prices expelled the LGBT population that could not afford the new expenses[timeframe?].[26][27] An increasingly specialized market developed around LGBTI community in parallel with these other events. This market specifically serving the needs of the LGBTI community by selling services and products exclusively designed to meet their needs. Different companies and firms in turn began incorporating the defense of LGBT rights into their company policies and codes of conduct, and even financing LGBT events.[6][8][16][28]

This kind of sociosexual relations appraisement is characteristic of gay modelling, which has its origin in the companies' new formation of a concentrated sexual market through rainbow capitalism.

In Spain, neither virile redefinition of homosexuality, nor gay model spreading, were made from the active homosexual movement of the time. [...] The penetration of the new model is carried out through private channels: by entrepreneurs who mimetically reproduce gay institutions already present in other countries [...] Institutionalization of homosexual universe "implies a search for efficiency and economy which involves, at the same time, maximizing efficiency (expressed quantitatively in number of partners and orgasms) and minimizing costs (waste of time and rejection of proposals)".[29]

— The gay model. Pink society. p. 82-84[19]


Although it is likely that without the political legitimacy given by the capitalist model of consumption some civil and political rights would not have been achieved, the acquisition of these has come at the expense of the integration of LGBT people in a heteronormative consumerist framework.[16] In this sense, pink capitalism is similar to patriarchal postfordist capitalism, which has promoted the integration of women into productive labour while at the same time stimulating the incorporation of men to reproductive labor.[20][8][30][31]

From sexual liberation to the gay male ideal[edit]

Some argue that capitalist society has not accepted all sexually-diverse people equally and a greater social tolerance exists if LGBTI people have greater access to resources, tying discussions of sexual identity to discussions of gender, ethnicity, ability, and social class.[32][33] Many critics maintain that only gay, cisgender, western, able-bodied, white, urban, and middle- or upperclass men tend to be accepted into the social context of consumption.[16][34][35] This framework may promote an homogeneous and heteronormative ideal of the gay man, who has a certain beauty, a muscular and hyper-sexualized body, masculine behavior, career success and a specific purchasing power, establishing which bodies are desirable and which are not, and marginalizing those do not fit this aesthetic model, even from the gay community itself.[6][7][16][36][37]

In the pre-gay period, youth is worth of sexual exchange, but the elderly homosexuals were not stigmatized. With the extension of gay model and institutionalization that this entails, a sex market is formed where one of the most appreciated goods for sexual intercourse, as well as virility, is youth. The overvaluation of youth imposed by the gay style involves a underestimation of the mature adult male.

— The gay model. Pink society. p. 93[19]

Symbolic and material rights[edit]

Symbolic rights of non-heterosexual couples in Europe:
  Equal marriage
  Civil union
  Foreign recognition
  No recognition
  Equal marriage forbidden by constitution

While rainbow capitalism has resulted in the achievement of some symbolic rights (such as equal marriage or recognition of gender identity), these rights are subordinated to the people's resources, income, and social position.[7][11][8]

In this regard, the trend the gay movement has not defined the political agenda, but instead has adapted heteropatriarchal and heteronormative capitalism into a new form of patriarchal capitalism. This new capitalism incorporates the social vision of family, property, body, economic organization, and sexual experience from the heterosexual community. It has struggled for equal marriage, without questioning the concept of marriage, making the fight for equal marriage a goal of the LGBT movement that makes it seem there is nothing else to fight for.[3][6][11][8][38]

Politics and LGBTI movement[edit]

Although the first political movements advocating sexual freedoms (like Queer anarchism) fell within the radical left, LGBT claims have only belatedly been integrated into the more moderate left political struggle – largely a result of rainbow capitalism.[6][8][36][39] Historically, the political left has treated the LGBT movement (similarly to the treatment of feminism[40]) as extravagance, without attending to the specific needs of non-heterosexual people, merely lumping them in with the rest of the working class.[41] Lesbians, transsexuals, and effeminate gays are relegated to unskilled jobs because they do not possess a certain patriarchal masculinity.[16][42][43]

Today the LGBT movement is increasingly being used for political and economic purposes; the achievement of "symbolic rights" for the community is used to justify profiting off celebrations of sexual identity.[12] The requirement of the protection of LGBT rights to give aid to developing countries,[2][44] and the use of LGBT equality to support nationalistic and anti-immigration policies are also examples of pink capitalism.[8][45] The LGBT community, traditionally skeptical of the governments, has become increasingly supportive of homonationalism.[11][46][47][48]

Current protest movements in Spain[edit]

In many parts of the globe, there have existed for decades political groups that denounce pink capitalism and commodification of LGBTI rights often as queer or pink blocs within LGBTI Pride Parades.[49][50][51][52][53][54][55][56]

Alternative Pride, Indignant Pride and Critical Pride (Orgullo Alternativo, Orgullo Indignado y Orgullo Crítico)[edit]

Critical Pride 2015 (Orgullo Crítico 2015) arriving at Puerta del Sol (Madrid).

Following the pass of equal marriage in Spain, members of the LGBTQ community felt the Pride Parade was no longer protest demonstration and instead becoming a tourist business.[57][58][59] Since 2006, several demonstrations against LGBTI commodification have been held annually in suburbs of Madrid, called "Alternative Pride" or "Critical Pride" (Orgullo Alternativo or Orgullo Crítico).[60][61][62]

The first "Indignant Pride" (Orgullo Indignado) parade was held, calling for a different sexuality regardless of economic performance which should take into account gender, ethnicity, age, and social class intersectionalities besides other non-normative corporalities.[63][64]

Later, the event[which?] retrieved the name "Critical Pride" (Orgullo Crítico), based on in part on objections to pink capitalism.[65][66] Movements in other cities, such as Barcelona and Seville, have also been organizing events in this direction.[67][68][69][70][71]

Trans October (Octubre Trans)[edit]

Also in 2011, the momentum of 15-M collects for the International Day of Action for Trans Depathologization to vindicate the social space for other identities that did not fit within the gender binary system. Every October, various activities included in Trans October (Octubre Trans) are organized to question heteropatriarchy and pink capitalism.[72][73]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Roque Ramírez, Horacio N. (2011). "Gay Latino Cultural Citizenship. Predicaments of Identity and Visibility in San Francismo in the 1990s". In Hames-García, Michael; Martínez, Ernesto Javier. Gay Latino Studies. A Critical Reader. Duke University Press. pp. 175–197. ISBN 978-0-8223-4937-2.
  2. ^ a b Global homocapitalism. Radical Philosophy. November 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Drucker, Peter (2015). Warped: Gay Normality and Queer Anti-Capitalism. Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-22391-2.
  4. ^ Resisting the Rise of Pink Capitalism. Archived 2 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Morning Star. 25 June 2015.
  5. ^ Lily, Shangay (2016). Adiós Chueca. Memorias del gaypitalismo: la creación de la marca gay (in Spanish). Foca. ISBN 978-84-945283-3-0.
  6. ^ a b c d e (in Spanish) Capitalismo Rosa. Fefa Vila. (YT: Capitalismo Rosa (Intervención Fefa Vila)) Asociación Lesbianas Gays Transexuales y Bisexuales RQTR. 10 July 2015.
  7. ^ a b c d (in Spanish) Capitalismo Rosa. David Molina. (YT: Capitalismo Rosa (Intervención David Molina)) Asociación Lesbianas Gays Transexuales y Bisexuales RQTR. 10 July 2015.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g (in Spanish) Capitalismo Rosa. Josué González. (YT: Capitalismo Rosa (Intervención Josúe González)) Asociación Lesbianas Gays Transexuales y Bisexuales RQTR. 10 July 2015.
  9. ^ (in Spanish) Capitalismo rosa. (YT: Capitalismo rosa by Lorena Gracia) TVE. 2007.
  10. ^ "El capitalismo o la vida". Transfeminismos. Epistemes, fricciones y flujos (in Spanish). Txalaparta. 2013. pp. 89–174. ISBN 978-84-1531366-3.
  11. ^ a b c d (in Spanish) Tres debates sobre la homonormativización de las identidades gay y lesbiana. Asparkía. Investigación Feminista. 2015.
  12. ^ a b Vélez-Pelligrini, Laurentino (2008). "Los dilemas del Gaybusiness: mercado, consumo e identidad". Minorías sexuales y sociología de la diferencia (in Spanish). Ediciones de Intervención cultural. ISBN 978-84-96831-76-6.
  13. ^ (in Spanish) De Macondo a McOndo. Senderos de la postmodernidad latinoamericana. Diana Palaversich. Plaza y Valdés Editores. 2005.
  14. ^ a b (in Spanish) Zona Rosa como Territorio Queer. Entre la Empresarialidad, el Consumo y el Crisol de Identidades Gay. Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana. November 2013.
  15. ^ (in Spanish) El mercado gay, sexy para hacer negocios. CNN Expansión. 1 February 2010.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g Cashing in on queers: from liberation to commodification. Canadian Online Journal of Queer Studies in Education. 2006.
  17. ^ (in Spanish) Capitalismo rosa: ser dinero o ser persona. Revista Hysteria. 16 March 2015.
  18. ^ Out in the Market: A History of the Gay Market Segment in the United States. Journal of Macromarketing. June 2002.
  19. ^ a b c Guasch, Óscar (1991). La sociedad rosa (in Spanish). Anagrama. ISBN 84-339-1352-2.
  20. ^ a b c D'Emilio, John (1997). "Capitalism and Gay Identity". The Gender/Sexuallity Reader. Culture, History and Political Economy. Routledge. pp. 169–178. ISBN 0-415-91004-8.
  21. ^ George., Chauncey, (1994). Gay New York : gender, urban culture, and the makings of the gay male world, 1890-1940. New York: Basic Books. p. 331. ISBN 9780465026210. OCLC 29877871.
  22. ^ Herzog, Dagmar (2007). Sex after Fascism: Memory and Morality in Twentieth-Century Germany. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-11702-0.
  23. ^ Stein, Marc (2012). "Homophile activism, 1940 – 69". Rethinking the Gay and Lesbian Movement. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-87409-0.
  24. ^ Gay Liberation Comes to France: The Front Homosexuel d’Action Révolutionnaire (FHAR) French history and civilization. 2005.
  25. ^ (in Spanish) Revolución Queer en el Madrid de los 90. Tercera Información. 26 October 2007.
  26. ^ The 'gaytrification' effect: why gay neighbourhoods are being priced out. The Guardian. 13 January 2016.
  27. ^ 'Pink capitalism' can't avoid the rules. Green Left. 2 February 2000.
  28. ^ Queer Anti-Capitalism: What's Left of Lesbian and Gay Liberation? Guilford Press. 2005.
  29. ^ (in French) L'homosexualité masculine, ou le bonheur dans le ghetto? Persee. 1982.
  30. ^ (in Spanish) "Es un engaño que el trabajo asalariado sea la clave para liberar a las mujeres". Entrevista a Silvia Federici. El 24 May 2014.
  31. ^ Cover, Rob (2004). "Material/queer theory: Performativity, subjectivity, and affinity-based struggles in the culture of late capitalism". Rethinking Marxism. 16: 293–310. doi:10.1080/0893569042000239299.
  32. ^ Gender, Sexuality and Capitalism. Pink Scare. 13 June 2012.
  33. ^ Capitalism and Heterosexism: Judith Butler & Nancy Fraser. 11 July 1998.
  34. ^ (in Spanish) ¿Y qué pasa con las lesbianas? El País. 2 July 2015.
  35. ^ (in Galician) "As persoas LGTBI que vivimos no rural somos vistas como exóticas. Ou se nos ignora ou se nos ridiculiza". Praza Pública. 20 April 2016.
  36. ^ a b Ellen Lewin; William L. Leap (2002). Out in Theory: The Emergence of Lesbian and Gay Anthropology. University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0-252-07076-3.
  37. ^ Consuming queer: the commodification of culture and its effects on social acceptance. Boston College Undergraduate Research. 2005.
  38. ^ Homonormativity, Homonationalism and the Other 'Other'. Huffington Post. 19 March 2015.
  39. ^ (in Spanish) Violencias interseccionales. Debates feministas y marcos teóricos en el tema de pobreza y violencia contra las mujeres en Latinoamérica. Central America Women's Network. January 2011.
  40. ^ Offen, Karen (2000). "Prologue. History, Memory, and Empowerment". European Feminisms, 1700–1950: A Political History. Stanford University Press. pp. 1–18. ISBN 0-8047-3419-4.
  41. ^ Hekma, Gert; Oosterhuis, Harry; Steakley, James (eds.). Gay Men and the Sexual History of the Political Left. pp. 69–96. ISBN 1-56024-724-X.
  42. ^ Poverty in the Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Community. The Williams Institute. March 2009.
  43. ^ Bias in the Workplace: Consistent Evidence of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination. The Williams Institute. June 2007.
  44. ^ The diplomacy of homocapitalism against Africa: Same-sex marriage and the West's promotion of homosexuality. World Affairs. May 2018.
  45. ^ (in Spanish) El ascenso de la extrema derecha en Europa, en clave LGTB. Dos manzanas. 2 June 2014.
  46. ^ Puar, Jasbir K. (2007). Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times. Duke University Press. ISBN 978-0-8223-4094-2.
  47. ^ The Hypocrisy of Homonationalism & Pinkwashing. Out. 6 October 2015.
  48. ^ (in Spanish) Conchita Wurst y los peligros del homonacionalismo. Diagonal Periódico. 21 May 2014.
  49. ^ Radical Queers. A Pop Culture Assessment of Montréal's Anti-Capitalist Ass Pirates, the Panthères roses, and Lesbians on Ecstasy. Canadian Woman Studies/Les cahiers de la femme. 2005.
  50. ^ (in French) Les Panthères roses de Montréal Archived 2 February 2017 at the Wayback Machine.. Collectif de Recherche sur l'Autonomie Collective. 2010.
  51. ^ Pride For Profit: Are Corporations Cashing In On Seattle Pride? Archived 19 August 2015 at the Wayback Machine. The Capitol Hill Times. 27 June 2012.
  52. ^ The commodification of Pride. Slaney Street. 25 May 2014.
  53. ^ The Business of Pride: The Problem with Pink Capitalism. Odyssey. 7 June 2016.
  54. ^ (in Spanish) Queer: Otro término de identidad de género. Radio Canadá Internacional. 19 June 2016.
  55. ^ Too straight, white and corporate: why some queer people are skipping SF Pride. The Guardian. 25 June 2016.
  56. ^ LGBT Night March decries Pride’s corporate sponsorship. The Star. 28 de junio de 2016.
  57. ^ (in Spanish) PSOE y PP apuestan por un Orgullo empresarial. Diagonal Periódico. 28 June 2011.
  58. ^ (in Spanish) Gaypitalismo: Orgullo Empresarial. Público. 2 July 2014.
  59. ^ (in Spanish) Mercadeo rosa para la amnesia del movimiento. Periódico Diagonal. 2 July 2015.
  60. ^ (in Spanish) Manifestación del Orgullo Crítico en Vallecas. Dos manzanas. 27 June 2010.
  61. ^ (in Spanish) De la liberación homosexual al Orgullo gay. La Marea. 28 June 2014.
  62. ^ (in Spanish) Orgullo Crítico 2010.
  63. ^ (in Spanish) Orgullo Indignado. 2011.
  64. ^ Transfagdyke Manifesto. 4 June 2011.
  65. ^ (in Spanish) Orgullo Crítico Madrid.
  66. ^ (in Spanish) Más de 2.000 personas participan en el Orgullo Crítico 2016. Diagonal Periódico. 29 June 2016.
  67. ^ (in Spanish) Orgullo es protesta. Diagonal Periódico. 3 July 2013.
  68. ^ (in Spanish) Día del Orgullo LGTBI en Barcelona.] La izquierda diario. 30 June 2015.
  69. ^ (in Spanish) Convocatoria Orgullo de Andalucía 2016 (Sevilla). Archived 13 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Bloque alternativo de Revolución Sexual. 23 June 2016.
  70. ^ (in Spanish) Con una Carrera por la Diversidad finaliza la Semana del Orgullo LGTB+. Último Cero. 25 June 2016.
  71. ^ (in Spanish) Orgullo LGBTI, ¿de qué orgullo hablamos? El Taladro. 29 June 2016.
  72. ^ (in Spanish) Octubre Trans Madrid.
  73. ^ (in Spanish) Octubre Trans Barcelona.

External links[edit]