Why Valentine’s Day is Stupid
By a Biased and Jaded 21-year-old Female
A holiday based on sexism? Yes please!
Let’s get this out of the way – yes I am single and biased. But don’t let my bias bias you against what I am about to say. Amidst this season of pink and hearts, I have woken up to realize a sinister force behind this almost compulsory day of observance of romantic love – sexism.
Think of all the commercials, promotions, sales, events, artwork, etc. Who is the target audience of these ads? Women. While it may seem that Valentine’s Day is a mutual celebration of love, our society promotes and allows a one-sided approach to this holiday. Men are conditioned to go all out for this day, making dinner arrangements, buying gifts, arranging something so special that it will put all the other “best-boyfriend-in-the-world”s to shame. And what are women expected to do? Well, the media hasn’t explicitly given us directions, so we’re either expected to do nothing in return… or repay the romantic gestures with sex.
Try flipping the marketing on its head and suppose that women were supposed to pander to men. What can we buy/do that is the equivalent of flowers, sweets, jewelery, etc? Uh… Um… Hmm… Do we have anything that we can give? The sarcastic and satirical person that I am has come up with the following propositions: a cactus, bacon and a watch/boxers/some funny article of clothing like a beer helmet. I need a guy to confirm if these are acceptable/of equal value.
What can we do to improve Valentine’s Day? Complaining about it doesn’t help anyone, and it certainly just makes us look whiney. As far as the sexism that is inherent to the current patriarchal heterosexual observance of Valentine’s Day, we can take a stand and say #NotBuyingIt when we see a sexist ad. And you can bet there’s an app for that. Or, be creative with an activist postition and use #ActivistPickUpLines to show creativity, humor and firm values. Participate in events like 1 Billion Rising against gender-based violence or the Human Rights Film Series(you still have time to see Bully on 19 February and Girl Rising 24 February!). Or, on the more low-key end, celebrate platonic love by staying in with your friends, eating lots of junk food, watching movies and just having a great night. This may or may not include reading and creating hysterical Valentine’s Day cards including Grumpy Cat, Puritans or a Broken Heart meme.
So let’s take sexism off the table for Valentine’s Day. To those of you with boyfriends or girlfriends, enjoy your special day in each other’s company. I wish you nothing but happiness on this day and in the years to come of your relationship. To those of you(ahem, us) without significant others, enjoy the company of your friends and revel in the relationships you have. Just because society says Valentine’s Day is about romantic love doesn’t mean you have to instill that in your celebration of love.
Happy Valentine’s Day
Thanks for reading,
PS – If sexism and gender inequality is something that gets you fired up, please come to the screening of Miss Representation on Tuesday 18 February at 4:30 pm in the Union, Room 119. Email Rebecca at firstname.lastname@example.org to give us a heads up on how many to expect! We will have refreshments and a discussion following the film. Check out the guys and gals behind The Representation Project – this group is responsible for this film, and another film coming out later this year about how society and gender roles are detrimental to boys.