Valentine’s Day can be confusing for us feminists. On the one hand, it can be a big old celebration of commercialized, heteronormative, gender normative, and – dare we say fake? – displays of love. BUT, on the other hand, love is a pretty nice thing and celebrating the people in our lives who we love and appreciate (be they romantic partners, friends, family, or even strangers), can be a very nice thing.
So what’s a feminist to do?
Here at Femtastic, we’ve compiled a list of the Top 10 Feminist Valentine’s Day Things Every Person Should Do, Read, and/or Think About:
Started by the smart, hilarious, and overall awesome Samhita Mukhopadhyay, Executive Editor of Feministing.com and author of Outdated: Why Dating Is Ruining Your Love Life, Occupy Valentine’s Day checks out many of the assumptions and power structures behind Valentine’s Day and seeks to celebrate people in a way that subverts many of the ways the media tells us we should be celebrating Valentine’s Day. From their website:
Celebrating love is wonderful and romance can be great too. But we don’t need corporations to dictate how we should do it, a mainstream media chastising us for not doing it right or traditional ideas touted over and over by our friends and family. That shit is oppressive and hurts us more than helps.
Share your love freely, daily and with your community—everyday. Occupy Valentine’s Day!
Isn’t it kind of stupid that we assume that everyone who is not in a relationship at this exact moment must be desperately unhappy? Why yes, yes it is.
3. Celebrate Generosity Day
Hate over-commercialization but love making people happy? Reclaim Valentine’s Day as Generosity Day!
4. Watch this video from Angel Mission about Valentine’s Day and consumption.
$17 billion spent on Valentine’s Day? How might this money be re-purposed…?
5. Read this piece on the power of female friendship. Maybe even send it on to some special friends in your life (or write something like it yourself!)
6. Write a love letter to yourself. Take a little inspiration from one of the best YouTube videos ever and show yourself a little love.
7. Make a fuss about how heteronormative and gender normative all of our language and assumptions surrounding Valentine’s Day are. For real. Watch your own language around the day and question the language of the people around you.
8. Celebrate V-Day and join the movement to end violence against women worldwide.
Also, check out two very cool Stanford events about men and violence: MAAN Up! Men Speak Out About Violence Against Women 7pm this Wednesday at the CoHo, and a talk by Kevin Powell on re-defining manhood, repairing relationships, and ending violence against women on Tuesday, February 21st 5:30-7:30pm in the Black Community Services Center.
9. Show some love to your favorite feminist activist causes. Volunteer your time, donate money, write a letter to your representative, register to vote. Maybe the commercialization of Valentine’s Day is just one grand scheme to distract us from taking over the world with feminist activism… hmmm….
10. Create your very own Feminist Valentine’s Day celebration! Don’t let anyone else tell you what to do – go out there yourself and figure out the feminist activist Valentine’s Day celebration that’s just right for you! (And let us know what you end up doing in the comments section – we’d love to hear your thoughts!)