Call me cold hearted but much like Christmas, I dislike celebrating Valentines Day (much to my boyfriends dismay). As a society I strongly believe that we have forgotten the true meaning of love, lost in mass consumerism with the message that we don’t truly love one another unless we’re churning out gifts. By no means am I saying that gifts are a negative and shouldn’t ever be considered. I understand that this is a love language and can be a beautiful way to express our love to another. However, I feel that there is too much focus on how much money spent, gifts bought and amount of effort placed into making the day special. Through my own experience, I have found that most of this is done out of fear of not being a good partner, a strange competition on who is the best couple or an obligation that must be followed through. It’s 2019 and most of us are still concerned over our social status.
Of course, if you absolutely adore the holiday and would be upset if you didn’t celebrate it then who am I to stand in your way. However, I
personally hate the thought that I must celebrate my relationship on a particular day because society expects me to. I simply cannot look past the corporate consumerist holiday that is Valentines Day. If you are single then you’re wallowing in grief and envy (unless you are like myself and never have placed much importance on a relationship), and if are coupled up then you’re running around like a headless chicken trying to find the best gift. This has led me onto a little journey in order to find a deeper meaning, which I could place on this day. A path which has led me down the road of female empowerment. To be clear, this isn’t solely focused on women, anyone can take part in working towards a feminist Valentines.
In my opinion, spending my Valentines working towards a fairer world and focusing my energy on compassionate change is a far better use of my time than displaying the same love I give everyday, to my partner. Here are some empowering ways to spend February 14th.
Celebrate V-Day instead
V-Day is a global activist movement fighting to end violence against females. The “V” doesn’t stand just for valentines but for Victory also. Instead of celebrating your relationship or taking part an anti-valentines, celebrate the V by attending an incredible event, which asks everyone to “rise up” in defiance of the injustices suffered by women worldwide. I honestly, cannot think of anything more wonderful to take part in on the 14th February than to show your undying support for a cause which could change many lives. Check out the V-Day website on how you can get involved.
Write a love letter to yourself
One of the most effective forms of feminism is focusing on yourself. Empowerment should always start with yourself before passing it around to others. How can you empower others if you can’t uplift yourself? Self-love is undoubtedly the most vital pillar of love because its health and strength builds the foundation for all your other relationships.
Whilst there are many ways one can practice self-love, writing a heartfelt letter of gratitude, appreciation and conditional love to yourself is a wonderful act to perform on Valentines day. If you wanted, to take it a step forward you could seal it in an envelope and re-open it a year later.
Whatever you decide to do on February 14th, make sure that there is some self-love entwined into the day. If you are not kind to yourself, how can you be supportive and kind to other women? Many are guilty of placing too much of their self-worth on their love life but there is so much more to the world than intimate relationships. Self-love is healing and a statement to the world that you deserve beautiful things!
Donate to a shelter
Instead of using your money to buy an expensive dress or ostentatious restaurant with a bogus ‘speciality menu’, donate to a woman’s shelter… or any other charity you feel desire to support. Valentines day is supposedly the day of love and what is more loving than giving to those less fortunate? There are thousands of fund raising opportunities to be apart of and a quick search in your area may surprise you just how many need your support. Register and become an organ donor, support cat’s protection, contact the childrens’ center and get involved in helping struggling families or find a womans’ shelter near you.
Wear your heart on your sleeve
However you decide to spend your Valentine’s day, I highly recommend focusing your attention to the other women in your life. (Remember, this includes the darling lady staring back at you in the mirror.) As a society, we are guilty of focusing too much on love relationships but there are so many other ways of spreading love. Although Valentine’s day, in it’s simplest form, is a beautiful day to show your love and appreciation for your other half (even if that other half is yourself right now), there are more V-Day traditions which I would deem as toxic. This includes commercialisation of this “holiday,” and how February 14th is focused on the celebration of heterosexuals.
Instead of blindly celebrating these harmful Valentine’s Day traditions, use my guide to form a healthy, empowering and feminist Valentines instead. There are countless types of love and I think that it is time we start celebrating our friends, family and even strangers, on this day of love.
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How are you spreading your love on Valentine’s Day?