The Requisite Valentine's Day Essay


This is one of two titles shared by both an original
Rolling Stones song and an original Led Zeppelin song.
Can you name the other?

No, this isn’t a review of the movie Valentine’s Day.  Just a few thoughts on the day itself.  Although I really should mention that Taylor Swift is in the movie Valentine’s Day, because a lot of people do Google searches for the name “Taylor Swift.”  Taylor Swift, Taylor Swift, Taylor Swift.  Don’t worry, I’m not making fun of Taylor Swift.  I think she’s an excellent role model for young girls, teaching them the valuable lesson that all their dreams can come true as long as they first become phenomenally attractive and then afterwards write a few songs that people think are sort of okay if they try hard enough to convince themselves that they are.

Valentine’s Day isn’t quite on the order of a truly brilliant holiday like Hallowe’en.  Sure, they both have apostrophes in their names, but Valentine’s Day has a mere possessive apostrophe, as opposed to Hallowe’en, which has the kickass “letters omitted” kind.  What’s that — you don’t spell Hallowe’en with the apostrophe?!  Dicknose.  Yeah, I called you a dicknose, as in a t-shirt that says “What are you looking at, dicknose?”  You will now be bugged for the rest of the day because you can’t think of what you remember that from.

Anyway, Valentine’s Day.  As most of you are aware, all types of people have started movements — some more serious than others — to turn Valentine’s Day into something else.  For the last decade-plus, the wing of feminism led (or at least symbolized) by Vagina Monologues author Eve Ensler has worked to redub it “V-Day,” a day of awareness about violence against women.  More recently, the Bros of the pick-up community have moved to style it “Hershey Highway Day,” a day when girls are encouraged (obliged?) to give up the butt.  I think the two (neatly diametrically opposed) movements are both fairly stupid ideas, for different reasons.

It’s not like it offends me so much when people “mess with” Valentine’s Day.  It’s kind of stupid to begin with.  But I still don’t see how it makes things any better for a stupid holiday about love to turn into a war between feminists who want to make it a stupid holiday about rape and bros who want to make it a stupid holiday about buttsex.  Seriously, can’t we every once in a while have something that’s just, you know, not stupid at all?  Instead of having to choose between stupid girl things and stupid boy things?  Please?

I certainly don’t mean to imply that a day of awareness/dialogue/education/whatever about sexual violence is a bad idea.  It’s a great idea (as, for that matter, is anal sex).  But I think — and keep in mind I’m trying to help out the feminists here — I think setting it up to “compete” with Valentine’s Day is a bad strategy.  It is just one more thing that makes it look like heterosexual women have to be feminists instead of having happy relationships with men.  And you would create more feminists — which, again, I think would be a good thing — by not making people think that.  People of either gender will always prefer to have dinner and sex with their significant other, if they have one, than to go to some rally.  All “V-Day” does is frame feminism as the consolation prize for the “leftover” women (and men) who aren’t in relationships.  Can anyone think of a worse way to promote feminism?!  (Similarly, the pick-up Bros are shooting themselves in the foot by framing anal as something that only men like and that women do as a favor to them.)

And even in the rare cases where the Ensler wing manages to convince a woman in a relationship to ditch her boyfriend for the rally, all that accomplishes is getting the man pissed at feminism, when he may not have been pissed at it before.  I realize lots of women, especially in the Ensler wing and wings like it, think feminism is more “fun” when men are the “enemy” — but in addition to being childish, this is also a terrible strategy.  Feminism is not going to achieve what it needs to achieve until a sizable portion of men are also willing to call themselves feminists (as I proudly do, albeit accompanied by a laundry list of qualifying statements, thanks to the type of feminists I feel I need to distance myself from, see above).

If you are a lesbian, fine.  But feminism needs to invite hetero women in, not push them out.  After all, a lot of the biggest feminist issues (abortion rights, birth control access/affordability, maternity leave) primarily concern heterosexual woman.  And a lot of heterosexual woman, especially among those born in or after the late 80s, hear the word “feminism” and picture a bunch of sad bitches trying to ruin everyone else’s fun.  I’m not saying I think that, you understand, but many people do.  And let’s just say that telling them they should be going to an anti-rape rally instead of to dinner with their boyfriends isn’t doing a whole lot to convince them otherwise.

In fairness, I also have a rebuttal to the pickup guys who want to make Valentine’s Day into buttsex day, but it is slightly shorter:  “Shut up, you’re an idiot.”  (Plus, if you’re really so cool, how come you’re not dating a girl who likes anal sex and is therefore willing to do it more than once a year?)

You know what I think people should do on Valentine’s Day?  If you’re in a relationship, hang out with the person you’re dating, and maybe get them a little gift, or not if you both decided not to.  My girlfriend had to work today, but I still got her something.  And if you’re not in a relationship, who gives a shit?  Do something else.  And not some stupid official “thing for people who are single on Valentine’s Day where you bitch about Valentine’s Day” thing.  Seriously, do you also get all freaked out on Arbor Day if you don’t happen to have a tree?

Oh, and if you’re wondering what I got my girlfriend, it was a bunch of porn.

P.S.:  The other song title is “Good Times, Bad Times.”  And yes, I realize in the first case technically the name of the Stones song is “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker).”

P.P.S.:  "What are you looking at Dicknose?" is from Stiles's t-shirt in Teen Wolf.

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