Thursday, February 15, 2007

Anti V-Day Rant

Wow! I just checked my calendar and discovered that it's time for my annual anti-Valentine's Day rant! I can't believe I forgot.

Main Points:

1. If you are part of a couple, there is intense pressure to act in certain ways, all of which involve spending a lot of money: candy, flowers, jewelry, dinners out. While I like all of those things, I don't like being dicated to by our commercial culture about when and why to get them. Don and I would rather choose when to be "romantic", and we create our own definitions! Romance doesn't come with a price tag.

2. If you are single, Valentine's Day makes you feel pretty shitty. It really rubs your lack of coupledom in your face, even if you're happy to not be in a relationship. There is an equally commercial reason for this. The message is, 'you don't need boyfriend/husband to buy you chocolates or jewelry, you can buy it yourself!' As long as it's still getting bought. "Girls only" nights, alcohol, and chocolates especially are marketed as the "be your own Valentine".

3. Valentine's Day is essentially sexist and unbalanced. It is seen as a day for the men to buy stuff for the women. Gifts going in the other direction are generally a token, like a card. The implicit message is that the sex later will make up the difference, reinforcing the tired stereotype that men want it, women don't... yeah, right. This is why single women are seen by society as "missing out" on V-Day, while single men are seen as lucky for escaping the whole shebang. I like a little more balance between myself and Don. My birthday is all about me. His is about him. But our anniversary and etc are even-- there's no emphasis on giver/givee.

4. The commercial powers-that-be are spreading V-Day's influence, so that now it's seen as normal to give Valentines (cards, candy, etc.) to parents, kids, friends, siblings... it doesn't subtract from the romantic element of the holiday but creates an even wider buying field.


Benjamin said...

You said it all, Mara, and you said it well. I agree whole-heartedly. V-Day is for the birds. There should be a holiday based on that old J. Geils song "Love Stinks", then we'd all be a lot happier.

Allie said...

I think that the cynical side in you is showing. Really, v-day is a romantic holiday, while I do agree its too commercial, who said you had to follow it. Its fun to give little kids candy and send cards to the family once in a while. Family communication is all too often left behind, so who cares if we take a commercial holiday and actually check in with loved ones. It wouldn't kill us. My husband after all sees it as an excuess to buy me gerbera's my fave flower, even though the rest of the year I insist he doesn't waste the money. But to each his own I suppose!

Mara said...

Good point, Allie. And I did like Valentine's Day as a kid, before it became about romance. I don't want to kill the holiday for everybody, so if you enjoy it, that's great!

P.S. Me, cynical? hahahah. Welcome to my blog! :)

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