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I Love You, Let's Meet » whose Valentine’s Day?

whose Valentine’s Day?

Six years ago, I went to Eve Ensler’s big V-Day celebration in Madison Square Garden, featuring all kinds of great actresses performing the Vagina Monologues. (Rosie Perez got “My vagina is angry,” which is really fun to say in a Rosie Perez accent.) From the V-day web site:

V-Day’s mission is simple. It demands that the violence must end. It proclaims Valentine’s Day as V-Day until the violence stops. When all women live in safety, no longer fearing violence or the threat of violence, then V-Day will be known as Victory Over Violence Day.

I found the show ridiculous in parts, but uplifting and exciting and basically a good idea in that nutty-ambitious Eve Ensler way. Violence against women is depressingly common and stays that way partly because victims often keep quiet, so hearing women shout about it in a sports arena was thrilling, empowering, all that good stuff. As I was enthusing about the event to a good male friend of mine, he grumbled, “Why’s she trying to co-opt Valentines Day for enmity between men and women?”

Good point, which hadn’t occurred to me because, well, I hate the holiday. I don’t even like it those years I have a boyfriend. I don’t think romantic love is exactly neglected in this culture the other 364 days of the year: It and parental love are really the only sanctioned forms.
I wonder what my friend would think about this take on the holiday , which I rather like too. Maybe he’ll write in and say. [Update, he did, see LKIA below, and various other great responses.]

Then, many degrees removed from the peace poem AND Eve Ensler approaches, comes this V-jacking by neocaveman Grant Adams (it even SOUNDS like a name from the Flintstones). From the press release for his program for men to “wildly attract” women:

The creator of the Net2Bed-Net2Wed Internet Dating System (Net2Bed-Net2Wed.com) reminds guys that Valentine’s Day originated in Roman times as a festival called “Lupercalia” where young women eagerly put their names into a box. Each young man then pulled a name from the box, and the woman he chose would be his to cavort with for a day, a week or even a year.

“Now THAT’s a Holiday!” says Adams.

“Men need to know that Internet Dating is our modern day Lupercalian box. Your average guy can just reach into a dating site and pull out any one of a million beautiful, eager, and eligible women who are actively searching for men right now. The problem is that 99% of men do it wrong. They don’t know how to stand out online, or capture a woman’s imagination. So, they end up sitting at home alone or haunting bars, empty-handed at the end of the night.”

Sigh. More confused masculinity slathered with New Age empowerment and a weird laziness (I want to do the selecting but not the courting) — sort of like the Pick-Up Artists and the Tom Cruise character in Magnolia. Everybody thinks if they’re the ones doing the choo-choo-choosing, then they never have to be poor Ralph Wiggums. So stupid to make it a gender issue; feeling “powerless and invisible” sucks for women, too, it doesn’t make us feel good or “authentic” to have to wait to be picked by someone we might not want.
Between these three, I can see lots of hilarious V-Day collisions.

Peacenik with flower: “Hey, have a peaceful holiday.”

Grant Adams acolyte: “Don’t tell me what to do, little lady, I’m the decider.” [grabs peacenik by hair, drags her toward cave]
Eve Ensler: “Unhand her! Brutes like you are why we had to take over V-Day!” [cartoon ball of dust fight; everybody goes home disappointed in their holiday hopes]
As Etienne points out below, I think the safest thing might be to just make this V-Day Virginia Vitzthum Day and celebrate by buying my book.

8 Comments so far

  1. karen on February 3rd, 2007

    Why’s that Valentine Peace Project trying to co-opt Valentine’s Day for peace? It’s about chocolate, dammit!

    Your male friend’s point probably hadn’t occurred to you because you realized that stopping violence against women is something both women AND men can get behind, and that actually Ensler’s project isn’t about enmity between the sexes, but between men who abuse women and everyone who wants to stop them.

    I’m so frustrated by even progressive men who feel challenged or defensive when women are angry about rape and domestic violence. No one is saying all men do it; we’re trying to stop the ones who do. V-Day and every day, this is something men and women can be together on, no?


  2. Lovable Know It All on February 3rd, 2007

    I like Valentine’s Day in an innocent way. I know that’s clueless to its commercial intent but I don’t want my awareness of violence towards women intruding on it anymore than I want to think about rape while making out with my girlfriend. I celebrate it in a personal–non-Hallmark–way, just like I do Mother’s and Father’s days and the rest of the synchronized gifting days.

  3. virginia on February 3rd, 2007

    both of the above make sense to me.

    I like that link, Karen, esp. the poll “do you feel like you’re pressured to be macho on Facebook and MySpace”? Again with the cultural norms of masculinity and femininity messing people up.

  4. Jim on February 5th, 2007

    Who is this grumbling male friend who mistakes a desire to end violence with emnity? Let him go ahead and celebrate Valentines Day anyway he chooses: Re-enact the Valentine’s Day Masacre; Go and refuse to deny Christ before the Emperor, as St. Valentine may or may not have done in the year 280 (it was originally his Feast Day, after all.)

    The point is your holiday has already been co-opted by the chocolate sellers, diamond merchants and greeting card companies, so why not co-opt it for something truly worthwhile?

    Besides, what other day could you see Glenn Close roll around on the floor in a red dress screaming, “C***!”

  5. sparklehouse on February 7th, 2007

    I alternately hate and love it. Some years I give all my friends and family major chocolate or heart-shaped sugar cookies (some amazing ones to be found, when I lived in Austin, right near my house). Last year my house had a Thanksgiving party instead of a V-day one. Cause the consensus was–I lived with 3 other folks at the time–V-day can stink and it’s super commercial and we wanna be free to say “I love you” to whomever, whenever, without anything Hallmark-y intervening. But we all were into T-day, T-day food, and having all our friends over. (yeah, nobody was an American Indian or out-of-control progressive.) Anyway, the party rocked.

  6. Anne on February 8th, 2007

    Hey, speaking of V monologues, have you seen this? The “Hoohah Monologues?”

  7. Anne on February 8th, 2007

    Whoops, I should have mentioned that link I just commented in has video/sound….

  8. Etienne on February 11th, 2007

    Oh my Vucking God.
    To me, the most ridiculous part of this is V-day saying they won’t celebrate Valentine’s Day “until the violence stops. When all women live in safety, no longer fearing violence or the threat of violence, then V-Day will be known as Victory Over Violence Day.”
    Absolute much?

    Of course, it will never happen, and why not insist on stopping violence against women, children, puppies and kittens, lobsters and crabs, and, yes, even men.
    p.s. slavery and the Holocaust
    How are any of us allowed to ever have a happy moment until that happens?

    I think Vitz’s friend who wants to make-out with his girlfriend or give her a Valentine’s Day flower without feeling like it means he supports rape makes simple common sense.
    And I don’t care at all about Valentine’s Vucking Day.
    I have a lover/partner/sig-other/Constitution-offending-spouse for a long time and we love each other most days of the year and manage to ignore Hallmark, chocolate and the angry women with vaginas who want to own abuse on that day.
    It’s like “Peace on Earth” for Xmas instead of all year long.

    Sadly, violence is part of the human condition. To require it to stop before people can celebrate whatever they choose to celebrate is naive and rude. I dislike the self-pitying declaration that stopping it in the specific womanly place is the only way to allow people to enjoy their love.

    And is the reason for V-day because Valentine’s Day starts with V?
    How does that make Virginia Vitzthum feel – does it imply her mere existence celebrates violence and the Vichy regime and Vlad the Impaler?

    I saw serious actress Kathleen Chalfant, titillating actress Annabella Sciorra and now-dead actress Nell Carter do their Vagina Monologues and loved the self-love it celebrated.

    I will agree to love as often as possible, try for peace as much, and aim to abuse no one ever.
    And hope that gives me permission to still celebrate my birthday, please.

    However, I would like to cancel Independence Day until every driver, including Minnie, uses their turn signals. and all of our pet cats get to run free and become feral.

    Happy Vitz Day,