If you’re a part of the Anti-Valentine’s Day movement–people who wear black and only listen to songs about how love sucks–go ahead, snark away at this post. Certainly, those of us who are fans of the holiday are easy targets, not only because the cheese factor is off the charts this time of year, but also because the vapid commodification of love that the holiday has produced is often more hollow than romantic.
In truth, the commodification of love and emotion is something that happens every day in our society, not just on Valentine’s Day. We’re trained to express our emotions through objects–that is, by buying stuff. If there’s any silver lining to the recession, it’s that I think it has caused a lot of us (including me) to express our emotions in ways that don’t require credit card swipes.
But really, why be a V-Day hater? The other day, I ran into a twice-divorced, hipster colleague of mine in a store near the university where we both work. Let’s call him Professor Hipster. Like a moth to a flame, I had gravitated to the store’s Valentine’s display and was poking through the offerings. I didn’t realize I was being watched until I heard a familiar voice behind me, “Is that Dr. Sublimefemme?”
My coworker seemed rather gleeful at having “caught” me checking out the teddy bears and other admittedly tacky items. The use of my professional title (yes, I really am a doctor, darlings) was interesting coming from Prof. Hipster, who is not a formal person. “Doing a little shopping?” he asked in a condescending tone. I truly think he expected me to be embarrassed. I’m not.
Prof. Hipster and others who sneer at Valentine’s Day as ridiculous and sentimental can kiss my ass. For femmes, Valentine’s Day is a high holy day. But I think we’re often made to feel like our appreciation for the romance of the holiday makes us superficial. Like beauty and fashion, love and romance are trivialized in our culture because they are feminized. If these things mattered to men, I guarantee you that they’d all be as important as the Super Bowl.
More V-Day posts to come! Are there topics related to the holiday you’d like to see discussed here? Questions about how to sweep your valentine off her feet or how to have a sublimely femme V-day? Leave them in the comments area.