I'll be honest...I was never really a big fan of Valentine's Day in the traditional sense. Nope. Nu-uh. Nada. Didn't like it. Especially as I grew older and was subjected to a good deal of sexist advertising regarding the holiday. I was always confused and a wee bit angered by the contrived and generalized nature of the commercials I saw on TV. Man buys flowers/jewelry/candy. Woman loves the item and then it's implied that she will have sex with man. Wink wink. Nudge nudge. The End. But what about the single folks? The GLBTQUII community? The people, like me, who didn't want any of that 'buy me stuff and I'll have sex with you' nonsense...and who loathe the color pink? And just where was the real love of each other in this whole picture??? So, I turned my heart hard for the day that revolves around a good deal of such said heart motifs. Go figure.
Then years later I was talking to my friend Melissa about my feelings and she said, 'you know, I understand what you're saying but I also wonder why can't there just be more love in the world?...and why couldn't we celebrate Valentine's on our own terms?' And she was sooooo right. Love and empathy are becoming increasingly endangered, and I made a vow that day to spread them both a bit more but to do it in a way that also followed my own beliefs. So, I came up with my personal feminist manifesto (with some help from this article) to better celebrate the14th day of February in some very different ways than I had before...which was not at all or with a scowl. Want to see the list of my goals?
- Support and advocate freedom of marriage for everyone. I understand that marriage isn't part of everyone's personal life choice but no one should say who can marry each other and I'm a firm believer that everyone should have the choice to marry their partner in love if they want. Valentine's is a great day to support advocacy right groups such as Freedom To Marry. After all, wasn't St. Valentine persecuted for performing marriage ceremonies without specific permission from an Emperor? Let's keep the trend going, eh?
- Keep it simple and don't buy (literally!) into the junk/consumption mindset. Instead of that box of shitty chocolates or the max-out-the-credit-card-even-though-they-don't-need-it necklace/watch/etc or the extravagant meal, how about we volunteer at the local animal shelter or cook our meal together or take a walk together or just watch the stars? We don't need stuff to make us happy or to show someone that we love them. Duh.
- If you do buy, buy local or fair trade. Show the folks that crafted, made, baked, mined, grew, sewed, etc, your goods some love as well.
- Promote safe sex. February 14th is also National Condom Day! Get out there and give some condoms away, talk with folks about safe sex methods and encourage self-love (yes, that self-love too!)...
- It isn't all about romantic love. Whether we're single, in an committed relationship or playing with varying options, we can make Valentine's Day about all types of love! Call up your family, give cupcakes to all your friends, listen to a stranger talk about their day or buy a round of drinks for your co-workers...just take a moment to do something to show you care.
Any ideas you'd like to add?