First of all, Valentine’s Day isn’t that big a deal where I come from. I was at a couple of malls today in the city, and noticed a little bit of Valentine’s Day related advertising, but most of all I noticed an advert playing on people who got dumped on February 14 and therefore may need to lighten their mood with a shopping spree on the 15th. Cute :)
Anyway, the idea of celebrating love and romance is great, it’s all warm and fuzzy and happy-y. No arguments there.
Yeah, there is a but …
… and the but is that it is highly commercialised. To a point that has become annoying. I have been in the US for the last few weeks, so I have had plenty of exposure to the commercial side of Valentine’s Day. I have for many years been opposed to the commercialisation of holidays, like that one we celebrate in December, Christmas they call it, though I’m not a Christian, so I just enjoy the holiday with my family.
“So, you’re one of those communist/socialist/anti-capitalist type of people then?”
No, not really, actually not at all. My political standpoint is liberal with a preference for rational and scientifically sound green politics. I do dislike big corporation capitalism though, as I find it cynical and greedy. Yes, I like to point at you, Apple, as a good example of such. I never buy your shiny stuff, and by the Flying Spaghetti Monster, I never will.
My other main beef with Western consumerism is the fact that it is incredibly wasteful. I also dislike the notion – put forward by marketing – that generosity can only be shown by spending money. That is such bullshit. Generosity can in my opinion at best be accompanied by money, but money is a non-essential factor. Time and thought are what carries value in a relationship. Any relationship.
The other thing that annoys me with Valentine’s Day is – and that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’ve noticed I’m a trans feminist – the focus it has on heteronormativity. The idea that men and women are distinct, binary categories, and that love can or must only exist between one of either. The former is a biological impossibility, gender is not remotely binary, and the latter is simply counter to human nature and arguably also a biological impossibility.
So in conclusion: love and romance, yes; commercialism and heteronormativity, no thank you.
Oh, and below, for the sake of illustration, is a Valentine’s I got from IamIzaskun on Twitter this morning. Thanks, it’s lovely! :)
- Valentine’s Day, I’m just not that into you – She Can’t Be Serious
- Occupy Valentines Day: Celebrate Love, Not Commerce – AlterNet
Thanks to JillFilipovic for the last link and for giving me the idea to write the post.