Thursday, February 12, 2009

Will you be my?

What is it about Valentine's Day that puts everyone in what msnowe would most accurately characterize as a "tizzy"? And why does our culture basically command women to universally go doe-eyed over this sanctimonious sham, while simultaneously allowing men to disavow, or publicly despise and complain over the expectations of a day of the exhibition of romance?

Msnowe, personally is pretty apathetic regarding Valentine's day, because she feels that like Veteran's day, or an anniversary, if you're not appreciating the compromises and commitments of others year round, you need to figure your shit out, and not only devote one day to thinking about it, etc. Some would say "but msnowe, you're not in a relationship, so of course you're defensively indifferent..." Well, perish the thought good readers--msnowe thinks Valentine's day is a ridiculously medieval (or at least Renaissance) tradition that objectifies women and places the responsibility solely, and stupidly, on men--most of whom will not wield their ill-gotten power wisely (not that they should feel obligated to, anyways).

Valentine's day has pagan roots, and then, like most good, rowdy holidays turned bland, it was overtaken and transformed by the catholic church, for fear of ungod-fearing, lascivious activities. But the actual traditions that we still observe today (cards, flowers, confections) are rooted in the time of Chaucer. Msnowe loves and appreciates a good courtly sonnet, and sometimes secretly wishes she could compose works like that of Sir Thomas Wyatt, but she certainly doesn't want to be a subject of the courtly love tradition--it's all about objectifying, setting up a woman on an unattainable pedestal, fetishizing her body, and ultimately neither sex gets the fulfillment they so direly seek, and that nature intended. That's the problem--Valentine's day tells women it's a gauge of their desirability, while it simultaneously reminds men that they are the pursuer, the objectifier, the fool out of control--which naturally makes them rebel, and leaves the women high and dry. Surely, many women seek out their own Valentine's fun, and do just as much for the man as vice versa. But we all can feel the holiday telling us our society-prescribed gender roles...and that whisper is what makes msnowe pop in her ipod, and tune out the whole medieval composition...

Another thought: Also, lest we forget, Valentine's is a holiday that alienates all other forms of love, as if homosexual or bisexual love was not as justified to celebrate and express. Msnowe doesn't mind the pagan-rooted holiday of people basically having big ancient "swingers" parties, but the catholic (little "c" on purpose) tradition imposed a reinforced false legitimacy for solely heterosexual love . . .


robinmasters said...

while i agree with your use of the feminist perspective on the evils of valentines day, i'm still conflicted. i enjoy that there is a day to remind me to cherish my relationship and be romantic - i think there's a danger,the longer you're in a relationship, of forgetting to be romantic and just being together, and not enjoying each other.
on the other hand, there is the commercialization of valentine's, like every other holiday, which is felt as a pressure to perform, to provide lavish presents, or fancy dinners. feeling the need to "go big or go home" can be paralyzing and sometimes results in an artificiality - gifting expensive __x__ = love and romance.

KT said...

1. "tizzy" is a fantastic word.
2. I love Wyatt and Surrey.
3. 'nough said.