"You is kind, you is smart, you is important." -Viola Davis (as Aibileen Clark)
Valentine's day is tomorrow and I can already feel the tension.
People are scrambling to make last minute reservations, buy last minute presents, repair broken relationships, dodge old flames, find Tinder hookups, or renew that subscription to Netflix in preparation for a quiet Valentine's Day evening. As I've entered young adulthood, I've made plans for Valentine's Day, I've broken plans for Valentine's Day, and on two occasions, I've spent Valentine's Day alone (one of those two occasions was a choice, the other, not so much). Even though I've experienced Valentine's Day from a variety of perspectives, from being single to being in a committed relationship, it's become impossible to ignore just how isolating that this celebration of love and togetherness, Valentine's Day, truly is. Social media has definitely heightened the feeling of isolation that comes with Valentine's Day. Now, it seems as if some sort of unspoken competition has ensued, with people wondering which post, whether it be a picture of Valentine's Day presents, a cute picture of them and their boo, or a picture of a moment from their Valentine's Day date, will garner the most likes. More and more, it seems as if love isn't truly the motivation for the gift giving or photo capturing. Rather, a desire to be recognized as a participant in this holiday, moreover as the best participant, appears to be the goal of Valentine's Day. Even social media applications like Snapchat send users, what should be, a cute reminder of the holiday! With 24 whole hours dedicated to celebrating love/being in love, not including the couples that will wait until the weekend to celebrate because of scheduling preferences, it can be seemingly impossible to distract yourself from feelings of jealousy, inadequacy, hurt, anger, loneliness or fear that stem from being alone on Valentine's Day.
Which brings us to the topic at hand... Galentine's Day. Now, to all of my gals (I'm funny, get it?) reading this, please, do not crucify me. I come in peace and truly mean no disrespect. At first, I was sold on the idea of Galentine's Day! I loved the concept a holiday, which inherently works to call attention to people's love lives (Valentine's Day), being turned into another holiday that could be used to celebrate friendship. However, the more I think about it, the more I realize that there is something seriously wrong with Galentine's Day. For all of my guys reading this, sit tight, you play a crucial role in this conversation, too.
Let's get into it. First, if this is your first time hearing about Galentine's Day, do not fret. I am all about definitions, terminology, and history, so I will break down exactly what Galentine's Day is, just for you!
Contrary to the popular belief, Galentine's Day, takes place on February 13th every year, and not actually on Valentine's Day. According to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, "First introduced in 2010 by character Leslie Knope on the TV show Parks and Recreation, Galentine's Day is about 'ladies celebrating ladies,' be they friends, co-workers, family members, or personal heroes. What began as a fictional holiday for women to honor other women has merged into real life as more women learn about and celebrate this happy day." While the general premise of Galentine's Day sounds perfectly empowering, in it's own way, the timing of the unofficial holiday leaves me with serious concerns about the truthfulness of the claims that Galentine's Day is a holiday designed to celebrate women. Rather, it seems as if Galentine's Day is increasingly being utilized as a single's coping mechanism for the lonely 24-hour period abyss that comes the next day, Valentine's Day.
Because of this, I am calling an end to Galentine's Day. Here's why:
First, with internationally recognized holidays that celebrate the magnificent beings that women are, such as International Women's Day (March 8th), I don't really think there's a specific need for Galentine's Day. Women have triumphed by ensuring that our voices are recognized, not only within Western societies, but throughout the entire world. We have created a foundation, which places the rights of women at the forefront of the international stage. While 24 hours, once per year isn't nearly enough time to celebrate women, it speaks to the perseverance, willpower, strength, grace, and general kick-assery of the women who pioneered the concept of International Women's Day. Galentine's Day, while still in the early stages of recognition, seems to work to undermine this platform that women have already created to celebrate other women.
According to the character of Leslie Knopes, "Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies.” There is is nothing wrong with this. In fact, I urge women everywhere to take breaks from your your boyfriends, boy-toys, and husbands. However, this is super problematic and brings me to my second, and final point: What about bisexual and lesbian women?! Are they excluded from celebrating Galentine's Day, because they don't have to deal with the, unavoidable (I kid... probably) headaches that come with dating men? Issa no for me. We've been here before and the general consensus is that if it's not intersectional, it will not be tolerated.
I say all of this, not because I want to rob women of a potentially fun evening filled with copious amounts of wine, weed, and/or laughter, but because I want us, women to think about the greater implications that come with celebrating Galentine's Day. There already exists a stigma that one, all women want to be in relationships, two, that all women want to be in relationships with men, and three, that all women who don't experience this are secretly bitter, sad and angry. Hence, the perceived need for Galentine's Day - a means to prepare for the overwhelming feelings of loneliness, sadness and anger that will surely come on Valentine's Day.
So what's my proposed solution?
First, let's gather all of our gals together on March 8th and celebrate the joys and splendor of womanhood in all it's forms! Let's fully utilize International Women's Day to come together, and partake in the wine and weed that we originally purchased for Galentine's Day. Second, we should learn how to actually address and handle feelings of inadequacy and loneliness that develop with the approach of Valentine's Day. We know that Valentine's Day is entirely a commercialized scam that is intended to siphon money out of the consumer's wallet and into big businesses and is masked as a determination of love. So let's not buy into it! I'm not saying that we have to stop celebrating Valentine's Day, but we should work to cultivate our friendships so that on Valentine's Day, we aren't solely concerned about whether or not we received love from someone that we're intimate with. Now, let's say that you're fully aware of the fact that you use Galentine's Day as a mean s of coping with your fear of being alone on Valentine's Day - I think that's fine, too! Still, I urge you to begin to evaluate why it is that you are afraid of existing in solitude for a few hours, once per year.
Love comes in many forms and sometimes it's never exactly quite so obvious. I wish each and every one of you a happy Valentine's Day!
Remember... You are enough. You are worthy of love, in every form. You are wanted.
*Disclaimer: God's good grace brought this blog to life.