Valentine's Day: this celebration of romantic love is loved by some, hated by others. And there’s good reason! Though the idea of Valentine’s Day in it’s purest form is sweet, many aspects of the holiday have become diluted by consumerism and filled with exclusivity.
It celebrates love.
I mean, who could argue that anything about a love-celebration could be sinister? It could be argued that we shouldn’t need a specific day to celebrate love, and should do so every day of the year… But for the purposes of this post we’ll let that slide.
It encourages expressions of love.
Valentines passed out to classmates. Cards shared with friends. A meaningful time spent with a loved one. All wonderful things that share love and give us a chance to show our appreciation for one another.
It promotes consumerism (the bad kind).
MY SISTER will be the first to say that consumerism isn’t all bad. We need to buy stuff (some of us might need to buy less, but that’s a different blog post for a different day), and as long as we’re doing it in a way that promotes good things (like well paying jobs and a healthy economy) consumerism can be great! In the case of Valentine’s Day, however, many traditional Valentine’s Day products are tied to human trafficking and labor exploitation. Both the chocolate and flower industries have a dark side, as well as clothing and lingerie (which may be made in sweatshops or in prisons. Yep, just like Orange is the New Black). With 18.9 billion dollars spent on Valentine’s Day gifts, you can bet that a lot of that cash lines the pockets of exploiters.
Valentine’s Day really only caters to a specific demographic: straight couples. This heteronormative view means that there’s a huge lack of messaging (in advertising, on cards, and on other Valentine's Day products) that is inclusive of ALL romantic relationships.
There’s this weird ownership element.
“Be Mine” is a common Valentine’s Day message. There can also be an expectation of sex associated with Valentine's Day that can cause pressure….. PSA: gifts of candy and lingerie and roses don’t entitle anyone to sex. If both valentines are into it, do your sexy thing! If you’re feeling pressured and aren’t sure, don’t let the Valentine’s Day pressure get to you!
It’s become SAD.
That’s right, Singles Awareness Day. While some folks who aren’t in a romantic relationship just laugh off Singles Awareness Day jokes and memes, they can still be hurtful to many. Valentine's Day can cause singles to feel unimportant or even mocked. A person’s value shouldn’t be rated on their relationship status.
We forget to show love to the one person we’re most responsible for loving forever.
Ourselves! We think that self love is super important, and it’s one of our most important values here at MY SISTER.
We’re doing something a little different for Valentine’s Day this year: from now until February 14th, we’ll be sharing our best tips on feminist self care, pampering you with giveaways, and celebrating love in all its various forms.
Can you be a feminist and love all of the good things about Valentines Day (while enjoying your fair trade chocolate and ethically-made presents)? Of course! Can you hate it because of the stuff you disagree with? Yes! Just remember that everyone interprets and celebrates Valentine's Day differently, and there is no wrong way to claim this “day of love” and make it your own!