Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Yay for a day devoted to consumer capitalist expressions of lurrrve… (heterosexual of course). Or rather, boo. Valentine’s Day, how do I hate thee, let me count the ways.
Firstly, well done for marketing the day as a day for everyone who isn’t part of a happy couple to sit in front of a TV crying. I’m noticing this among het cis female friends particularly – they’re using Valentine’s Day as an excuse to shame themselves for their looks, their weight and their personalities that somehow have prevented them finding a boyfriend, going off into the ‘forever alone’ idea. This discomforts me – I hate to hear people putting themselves down, especially in the kyriarchal, fat-shaming, heteronormative, misogynist, slut-shaming language they’re using. This is for anyone who is blaming themselves for the lack of companionship they desperately want;
You are worthy. No matter where you fit in our defective beauty standard, or our defective intelligence standard, or our defective gender standards, or our defective standards of worth; you are worthy. You are worth celebrating. If you want a companion and you are going to conduct that relationship in a respectful, consensual, enjoyable way, then you are worthy of one. And you don’t need to use the language that marginalises you, that puts you and others down. Leave the oppressive language.
Secondly, not everyone is heterosexual. Not everyone is binary. Not everyone is monogamous. Outside of the internet, I have never come across any Valentine’s Day paraphernalia that acknowledges the existence of non-heterosexual folks. Seriously, Valentine’s Day, our love is just as worth celebrating as any other. Implying otherwise reinforces the heterosexist dialogue surrounding romance, the heterosexist dialogue that entwines itself in our lives from ridiculously early ages and poisons our youth’s minds. As for folks outside of the binary, we get relegated to our normal position in society – not existing! Isn’t it fun? And the same for polyamorous folks – polyamory doesn’t exist either! This is for everyone made invisible by the Valentine’s Day dialogue;
If you love, and you love consensually, respectfully and enjoyably, then your love is beautiful and worthy of celebration. No matter how many people are in your relationship or what gender/s/non-gender/s they have. No matter how you conduct your relationship. The erasure is wrong; a day for lovers includes you too. You too are a part of the rainbow of humanity.
Thirdly, not everyone wants a relationship. Relationships aren’t any kind of compulsory life step. They’re just one branch of the river that is life, and some of us will go down it, others will head off elsewhere. It’s not the end of the world, and it doesn’t make us freaks for not wanting it. This is for everyone who shakes their head in bafflement at all this stuff;
Don’t worry. You’re not a freak for not wanting what our entire culture says that you should want as a part of a normal life course. You’re another manifestation of the beautiful diversity of the human experience, and you are worthy because of it.
Fourthly, sexism. Gender essentialism. Guys can’t buy bras! Girls, don’t get too soppy! Guys, humour her! Girls, buy new underwear for your man! You should be having sex tonight, dammit, it’s Valentine’s Day, damn what you actually want! Shut the hell up, advertisers, writers, anyone talking about this in these terms. You’re adding to a creepy, misogynistic, binarist, cissexist, heterosexist culture, and that’s not good.
Fifthly, COMMERCIALISM! CAPITALISM! CONSUMERISM! We’re meant to become zombies to red-packaged, overpriced trinkets that are supposed to symbolise love, in all its weirdness and diversity and complexity. Talk about reductionism. You will consume, the media repeats, and we fall for it because we think that love is expressed by the box of chocolates when it is really the person handing over the box of chocolates that is expressing love. But then, in a capitalist culture, it makes sense to conceptualise love as something that involves spending loads of money on someone. Look, it says, I’m willing to spend the fruits of my slavery to capitalism on you. This is how much I love you.
Sigh. Comrades, if you want to do things on Valentine’s Day, do it and enjoy it. Just be prepared for the inflated prices. But remember, it’s really just another day. There’s nothing you can do on Valentine’s Day that you couldn’t do any other day of the year. The media Valentine’s Day machine is harmful, so do your own thing on your own terms. And remember to honour yourself and others, respectfully, consensually, enjoyably.