(The following is a rant I wrote years ago that I happened to stumble on today. It being Valentine’s Day, I thought I may as well polish it up and then post it. Now, please keep in mind that I haven’t lived in North America for many years, so my thoughts on this holiday may well be completely off base with today’s sensibilities. If that is so, then please regard this as a time capsule from a less enlightened time.)
Ah, Valentine’s Day. A lovey-dovey holiday upon which women shoot feminism in the knees for the benefit of sugar and flower companies.
How does Valentine’s Day have anything to do with feminism, you might ask? I’m glad you did!
The entire engine that drives the holiday is “romance.” Not true romance, but the consumer driven retail version. Capitalism doing what it does: amplifying a basic human or societal impulse with advertising and then exploiting it.
The “romance” here is all about the male partner jumping through hoops set out by his female. He buys her shit solely for the purpose of keeping her happy, and to avoid being tarred and feathered as a “bad” boyfriend or husband by her friends and family.
This is a reinforcement of what ought to be an archaic practice in courtship: the male essentially buying his access to females. In the patriarchal model, the male provides everything: he pays. The the early stages of courtship, the female need only provide her presence and, at a certain stage sexual access.
Valentines Day, as it is pitched, sold, and policed through our societal norms and expectations does nothing but reinforce that pattern. Men buy the shit and women consume it. There is no reciprocity beyond the assumption of a guaranteed lay.
So, if a woman says they are truly a feminist, and at the same time care deeply about what their man buys for them on this bullshit, made-up holiday, they are full of shit.
Further, any men who claim they actually enjoy this fucked up holiday are lying. They have been trained and, like a good puppy, are performing just as expected for the meager treats their master sees fit to grant them.