Vans serves big bisexual energy with ‘I heart boys and girls’ sneakers for Valentine’s Day
Vans is celebrating Valentine’s Day with sneakers which – depending on your point of view – scream either “bi rights!” or “give us your money, queers!”
The Californian shoemaker dropped three new styles emblazoned with an “I [heart] boys I [heart] girls” motif.
Retailing at $65, the shoes conveniently arrive a month before Valentine’s Day.
Finally, bi people (whether in mixed- or same-gender relationships) will be able to celebrate the most capitalist of holidays in footwear that screams: “We’re here! We’re queer! We’re disappointed that these shoes see gender in such a binary manner, but we’ll take what we can get!”
But while the shoes certainly exude Big Bi Energy, Vans is not marketing them specifically towards the LGBT+ community.
Nor does it appear to be donating any portion of profits towards LGBT+ endeavours, as it does with its annual Pride collections.
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For Pride 2019, the skate brand released a line of high and low-tops with rainbow flags, glitter and David Bowie-style lightning bolts.
The designs benefited a number of LGBT+ nonprofits including the It Gets Better Project, which aims to empower and uplift queer youth.
Not all LGBT+ merch is created equally.
In recent years global brands have begun to celebrate the LGBT+ community by releasing themed merchandise, usually during Pride month.
And while some of these efforts are valiant, many are criticised for pandering to the community without engaging in a meaningful way, or pinkwashing.
Last year Listerine came under heavy fire after it released a rainbow-coloured mouthwash bottle as part of its Care With Pride range.
Marks & Spencer was also the butt of jokes after it began selling an LGBT sandwich – Lettuce, Guacamole, Bacon and Tomato.
The most egregious example of pinkwashing came in December when Donald Trump – perhaps the most anti-LGBT+ president in recent history – released a rainbow-hued Make America Great Again t-shirt.