What is it?
Samhita Mukhopadhyay, Executive Editor of Feministing.com started up a Tumblr blog called “Occupy Valentines Day” with the tag line “down with couple-talism”. The blog focuses on reimagining and looking at alternative ways to celebrate V Day.
We’ve all heard the arguments before. You don’t have to wait until February 14 to show how you feel about someone. Likewise, you don’t have to be in a relationship with that person. That said, it’s obvious and an understatement to say that Valentines Day can be pretty tacky.
The thing is that Valentines Day seems to be aimed at a really narrow conception of a relationship. Women are expected to wait for their (male) partner to give them a token gift to reaffirm their relationship. In high school, if you’re a single girl on V Day you hope that an anonymous (male) admirer will use Valentines Day as a time to express their love for you. It all harks back to the tired old female as the pursued one trope.
Likewise, V Day seems to exclude anyone not in a relationship, anyone in a same-sex relationship, those in a polyamorous relationship and so on. Occupy Valentines Day is also really about protesting against narrow expressions of love through the usual suspects red roses, chocolate and teddy bears. (Are these still your standard valentines gifts?!)
This leads nicely into the final thing. The day is all about buying things to make the experience. Apparently an expression of love can only happen with the requisite valentines-themed products.
How to get involved?
There are many activisty and not-so-activisty things that you can do to take part in OVD. Before I get into them though, I’m assuming that a lot of people will read this after February 14. Like the usual Valentines day, you don’t just show your partner/loved one etc love and affection on just one day. Likewise, these tips apply on days other than Valentines Day!
- Raise awareness about love-related topics (Smoke signals, blogging, facebook status updates) such as…
- How traditional ideals of romance perpetuate gender inequalities and hurt people of all genders
- Domestic violence and sexual assault
- Marriage inequality in Australia
- Lack of queer visibility in sexual rights politics
V Day is a day when the whole world’s focus is on love. So it’s an ideal time to raise awareness on areas impacting the community at large vis-à-vis love!
— Rosie Cuppaidge