Budweiser goes all in on social justice in new LGBT flag campaign

Budweiser has launched a super inclusive new ad campaign, targeted at the LGBTQIA+ community, to be unveiled at London Pride festivities in July.

Budweiser has launched a super inclusive new ad campaign, targeted at the LGBTQIA+ community, to be unveiled at London Pride festivities in July. While the company has uttered some altruistic musings about why they’re doing this, such as inclusivity and diversity, there’s only one reason Budweiser would do this, and it’s market share. But that doesn’t make it any less stupid.

What has Budweiser done to enhance Pride for the prideful? It’s assisting the groups that are represented by the increasingly hard to remember alphabet soup moniker LGBTQIA+ in identifying themselves publicly, by providing plastic cups. These aren’t just any cups, they are colourful cups. They are cups of many colours, representative of each little faction that wants to be separated yet sort of inclusive of every other little faction of the rainbow.

Cups, those great party equalizers, will be a way for people at London Pride to show their identifiers in the form of colours that represent their group. There are to be 9 cups in all, and each one offers a selection of colours that symbolizes the diversity within that gender or sexuality identified subset. Let’s break it down:

The traditional rainbow flag, with added stripes of black and brown, also known as the Philadelphia Rainbow flag, makes a plasticine appearance. This has all the colours of the sexuality rainbow represented plus brown and black for racial diversity. Since the launch of this colour combo, it’s been a little confusing, because it indicates that red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple are somehow representative of white. In other pride flags, white is representative of all gender identities, and the Philly flag is the only one that includes racial identity in addition to gender and sexual identity.

There’s the transgender flag, which is in the colours of baby blue and baby pink. For some reason these colours are meant to be representative of full grown adults who have chosen to live as the opposite sex, which makes the fact that these are ‘baby’ colours a bit off-putting. Why should transgender adults seek to visibly infantilize themselves with these colours? And how exactly is femininity represented by baby pink while masculinity is represented by baby blue? If we can all be whatever gender we want, why are we locked into these childlike simplicities?

Genderfluid Pride is also a thing, and you can just imagine the marketing folks at Budweiser really digging in and having some fun at this point, though it was not created in their boardroom, but has been a fixture at pride since 2012. “Pink is for femininity, blue for masculinity, while purple represents a mix of the two. Black represents lack of gender, and white stands for all genders.” What’s confusing here is that if black represents a lack of gender, how can it also represent the varied sexualities of black people, per the Philly flag? Also, how is purple, “a mix of the two,” anything other than basically everyone on earth? The idea of the gender binary, pushed off and derided by feminists and female-forward thinkers for decades, has made a distinct comeback in the form of gender inclusivity. People are a “mix” because no one adheres to the strict stereotypes posited by trans activists.

Budweiser is also planning to host a three-day asexual event, teaming up with model Yasmin Benoit to “bring visibility to this part of the community.” Benoit, a beautiful woman who makes her living off of that beauty, and posts gorgeous, sexy photos of herself on instagram, identifies as asexual. You do you, and all that, but there does seem to be something of a disconnect between posting thirst traps of yourself in fetish gear and advocating for asexual visibility. Both things can be true. It’s all a rich tapestry, but it does strain credulity on some level.

What does a three-day event hosted by an alcohol company in support of asexuality look like? Isn’t asexual interest sort of the opposite of what usually happens when a bunch of people take to drinking? Will this be a bunch of people standing around awkwardly not being attracted to one another? The asexual community typically feels misunderstood, because they are not sexually attracted to anyone, but can be romantically attracted to other people, but can also overlap with the sexual identity of aromantic. I hope they have lots of fun with their special cups, which will be black, gray, white and purple. Black is for asexual, gray for, well, that gray area between asexual and sexual, the white is for sexuality, and the purple is for community.

Additional cups will fly the colours for bisexuality, in pink, lavender, and blue, for same sex attraction, opposite sex attraction, and attraction to both. So if you’re straight, maybe this is also the flag for you, because you’re blue, apparently, but not to be confused with the blue of the Philly rainbow flag, which basically means you have an alt sexual identity but are white, or the blue of the trans flag, which means you are a trans man, or the blue of the genderfluid flag, which means you are masculine, regardless of gender or sexual identity.

The pansexual flag, in pink, yellow and blue, and as differentiated from bisexuality, is to increase visibility for those who have sexual and romantic attractions to pretty much anyone, regardless of their personal gender or sexual persuasion. Not to be confused with outright hedonism, because hedonists don’t have a flag (yet), pansexuality has pink for those who identify within the female spectrum, blue for those in the male spectrum, and yellow for non-binary attraction, like androgynous, agender, bigender, and genderfluid. The flag isn’t really about attraction, although it purports to be an identity that is about sexual preference, just that there isn’t one.

The Lipstick Lesbian flag is just a whole bunch of pink stripes, and it’s super puke-worthy. What is so pink about women who are into other women and also may be into being feminine? Why are women so okay with being relegated to the pink end of the spectrum simply because they are female? Pink doesn’t equal female, it used to be a boy colour, and we should be pretty well past all this by now. Plus lipstick comes in lots of other colours, like black, which as we already know is the absence of gender, or maybe it’s about race, it’s hard to tell. Ladies, take back your lips, for all our sakes.

The intersex flag has a big purple O on a yellow background, for something like an unbroken circle of wholeness. The non-binary flag is for those who didn’t feel well enough represented by the Genderfluid flag and needed to stand out just a little bit more. In yellow, white, purple, and black, it gives voice to those who exist outside the gender binary, and again, black is for no gender, while white is for all genders. Seems a little racist.

Given all these flags, in literally every colour of the rainbow, it starts to be clear that just as there are many overlapping letters in the ever-expanding salad of LGBTQIA+, the goal of this inclusivity is not greater recognition and acceptance of alternative lifestyles in general, but the advocacy of increasingly splintered identity groups to increase the layers of intersectional oppression that one can claim as a result of their super individual, highly specialized gender, sexual, and attracted-to orientation that is not even close to a choice but hard-wired into our genes as part of some sort of deterministic worldview where free will is an illusion and we’re all just drawn that way. More letters and flags won’t bring people together; it will just make us each unite behind our own colour and letter until we are separated into little boxes unable to see anyone for who they are, but only how they wish to represent.