How to Have a Feminist Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is easy to criticize as a heteronormative, overdone holiday that reduces love to sugar and money, which is essentially the opposite of what feminists stand for. If you’re a feminist looking to break out of the typical Valentine’s Day mold, here are some ideas to help you do so:

  1. Make some fun feminist Valentine’s Day cards. The internet contains a vast collection of Valentine’s Day cards with feminist twists, such as “Be Mine—or not. Be your own person. I value our independence in this consensual relationship.” DIY some of your own to give to all of your valentines!
  1. Enjoy some feminist films. While a lot of movies associated with Valentine’s Day (The Notebook; Love, Actually; Notting Hill) are written and directed by men and star white, heterosexual couples, there are plenty of rom-coms which don’t fit into this mold. This year, try something like Trainwreck (written and directed by Amy Schumer), Bride & Prejudice (directed by Gurinder Chadha, featuring a nonwhite protagonist), or But I’m a Cheerleader (directed by Jamie Babbit, featuring a lesbian protagonist).
  1. Switch it up. Valentine’s Day is traditionally a time where men treat their ladies to a nice dinner out and buy them chocolates, jewelry, or flowers. But we live in a society with a huge diversity of relationships. If you’re the woman in a heterosexual relationship, consider planning something special for your man on Valentine’s Day instead of the other way around—there’s no reason that men should be the ones to express their love through gifts and special treatment.
  1. Attend a V-Day event. Created by Eve Ensler, V-Day is a global movement to end violence against women. Every year in February, colleges and organizations all over the world put on benefit performances of Ensler’s award-winning play The Vagina Monologues, with the proceeds going to local anti-violence groups. Stop by MIT this weekend to attend a performance, with proceeds benefitting the Women’s Center in Cambridge.
  1. Remember everyone you love. Whether you are taken or single or have no desire to be in a relationship at all, you can still celebrate Valentine’s Day because romantic partners aren’t the only ones in our lives that we love. Take a moment to appreciate your friends and family as well—even something as small as a text will do!

Valentine’s Day should be a celebration of love of all types, not a holiday reserved only for those in heterosexual relationships. This Sunday, try out some of these tips to help you celebrate with all of your loved ones.

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