I am told that I am being empowered by corporations who take my money and claim that I have aquired the “tools” for feminism. I am empowered because I bought the correct underwear; I am empowered because I bought a dress that the designer says will make me tough. Corporate Feminism began when major companies decided to turn feminism into profit. We’ve seen companies give themselves new slogans, new claims of having pride in women without giving women the chance to become the heroes. Shouldn’t we let women own their feminism as opposed to thinking we are handing it to them in the form of a babydoll dress?
Along with feminism becoming profitable, during the month of June we see many companies have also turned their attention toward Pride. Ah, the month to celebrate LGBTQ rights and honor the memory of the riot at the Stonewall Inn and each passing June, more and more retail shops are painting their benches rainbow and posting “Love Is Love” signs on their doors. Like clockwork on July 1, these signs of Pride suddenly disappear. I am tired of seeing these temporary signs of Pride. Research found through Reboot Online shows that only 64% of companies that advertise for Pride during the month of June are donating to the cause. Pride Month has become too expensive for many of its people to even celebrate as a result of corporate involvement. There are cover charges, parade tickets, and gear that (in theory) supports the cause, but many of these companies aren’t making enough of a profit to generate donations. So I’ve started to question my purchases: When I buy a t-shirt with a Pride Month logo, or when I buy a workout set from a company that claims to “support” women, what is my money actually going toward? Are we supporting the right cause just because we own something with “FEMINIST” or “LOVE TRUMPS HATE” written on it?
Now, some companies do it right and have actually achieved the mission of helping these causes. By creating a profit that goes directly to the group in question, some brands really do make women the heroes instead of just themselves. We are moving in the right direction, though, with a spike of 29% of companies in 2019 beginning to even show their Pride. It’s time we started making sure that all brands are empowering women in an authentic and beneficial way. While they’re all likely well-meaning, I’ve had enough of the empty gestures; I want my feminism and pride minus the corporate greed, which means that marketing yourself as “empowering” should come with responsibility to actually do just that. Celebrating women isn’t just for a sale, it’s for the greater good of us all.
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