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Pride-Themed Milk Bones: The Absurdity of Rainbow Capitalism at Its Finest

A dog wears hart-shaped sunglasses and holds a pride flag in its mouth.

When I heard people talking about Pride-Themed dog treats, I figured it was a joke. A clever joke, but a joke, nonetheless. I thought maybe it was a hyperbolic commentary on “rainbow capitalism“—that delightful June phenomenon when companies attempt to turn a profit on Pride without actually contributing anything of substance to advancing equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community.

Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but the bones are real. Milk-Bone has released a jar of multicolored treats for your canine to celebrate Pride Month alongside you. Because…solidarity? I guess?

There are a few layers to this, the first being, of course, how this is an obvious cash-grab. Yes, this comes with a $50k donation to the Human Rights Campaign, bravo Milk-Bone, thank you (and your parent conglomerate J.M. Smuckers) for your service. But in a time when LGBTQ+ rights are being pushed upon more and more, it feels a little hollow to release fun cutesy little products for … our dogs. I guarantee that even the most homosexual of dogs doesn’t have a concept of gay rights, this product benefits nobody.

Then, there’s the fact that Milk-Bones aren’t even recommended by most vets as decent pet snacks. They haven’t had any recalls or anything, but they barely have any nutritional value to them, if any at all. Milk-Bones are like saltines: some like their bland taste, and in large doses, they can be adequately filling, but they’re not doing anything noteworthy for one’s overall health. Which begs the question even more: why, why, why?

The one consolation, the final corner in this pyramid of absurdity, is the fact that, predictably, the world’s most insufferable people are claiming that Milk-Bone is trying to turn our dogs woke. Just go on Twitter (if you dare) and there sure are a lot of accounts with American flag emojis in their usernames complaining about the treats. Oh, the brainwashing, oh, etc.

And look, I don’t wanna rain on anyone’s parade if this genuinely gets them excited. It’s cute enough, and harmless enough (in moderate doses for your dog, of course), and at the very least seems well-intentioned. It’s just unfortunate that we live in a world where these kinds of gestures ring hollow in the face of everything else going on. Corporations will continue to hold a lot of power that ultimately doesn’t very far towards bettering marginalized peoples, and let’s be real: Household pets aren’t marginalized people.

Kudos to their graphic designer, though. The rainbow dogs are a cute touch.

(Featured Image: Getty Images)

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Madeline (she/her) is a staff writer with a focus on AANHPI and mixed-race representation. She enjoys covering a wide variety of topics, but her primary beats are music and gaming. Her journey into digital media began in college, primarily regarding audio: in 2018, she started producing her own music, which helped her secure a radio show and co-produce a local history podcast through 2019 and 2020. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz summa cum laude, her focus shifted to digital writing, where she's happy to say her History degree has certainly come in handy! When she's not working, she enjoys taking long walks, playing the guitar, and writing her own little stories (which may or may not ever see the light of day).