Gender Roles [Anti-Valentine’s #4]

6 Feb

Valentine’s Day keeps us entrenched in our gender roles.  Society has come so far since the days of the 1950s when women had no other option than to be housewives and mothers while men were forced to carry the burden of earning the family income alone.  Why, I ask loudly and repeatedly, do we continue to constrict ourselves to these unfair and unrealistic ideals?  We know by now who established these gender guidelines–men in power with the help of the all-encompassing media influence.  The question is:  Why do we continue to marginalize ourselves by relishing traditions that pigeonhole us to these tired gender generalizations?  As a society we should be more terrestrial in our expectations.  No one should be forced to conform to antediluvian notions of what gender-characteristics are socially-correct.

Valentine’s Day is a reminder of the narrow expectation of what the sexes ought to be.  There is no room to be Leslie 3down-to-Earth:  Women are passive in this day.  They sit back and wait for the man to make romantic plans, wonder and wish about what the man will present her as a gift, and lie back for a sexual encounter at the end of the night.  Men, on the contrary, are supposed to take action.  Nothing should be commonplace on February 14.   They best plan the best, most romantic, spectacular date possible.  Men are also expected to lavish their little lady with meaningless (but costly) gifts to impart the message his woman is still desirable to him.  Finally, the man should perform like a lissome stallion in the bedroom at the end of the night.

I think it’s humorous that these antiquated values are so deeply entrenched in our psyche that we think we OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWANT to uphold these traditions.  As a country, we need to get in touch with more Earthbound expectations, especially when it comes to holidays.  Our patriarchal society is so pervasive that it seems presently it’s women who insist on keeping Valentine’s Day alive.  Refer to my other anti-Valentine’s blogs for examples–there are many.

The way I see it, Valentine’s Day actually takes AWAY from romance.  Maybe if we were more terrene in our gestures it would actually be romantic.  I’m pretty impressed when someone scrapes ice off my windshield on a cold morning, springs for Starbucks, or just looks at me lovingly.  All the Valentine’s Day traditions are tired and overdone.  No thought goes into clichés–you just repeat (what everyone else has already thought up) year after year.  It would be MUCH more romantic to think of your own sublunary traditions as a couple and practice them randomly throughout the year instead of on one day when tradition tells you that you have to.

Mother JonesInstead of embracing such silliness, isn’t it time we transcended gender?  Who wants to live by some strict guideline that isn’t even our own generation’s ideology?  These obsolete ideals are hardly even reasonable in our current fast-paced, work-driven society.  Tellurian love gestures are so much more practical and amazing in the long-run (not to mention more affordable).  Wouldn’t it be more progressive and meaningful to get away from the stubborn expectations of Valentine’s Day and do something original and non-cliché’?  So, as usual on principle I will not be celebrating Valentine’s Day–and I suggest you boycott it as well.

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4 Responses to “Gender Roles [Anti-Valentine’s #4]”

  1. jacintabalestra February 15, 2014 at 1:06 AM #

    This is a really interesting take on Valentine’s Day, but I don’t particularly agree… Traditional V Day celebrations may be sexist and outdated, but when something is out-dated you don’t have to throw it away, you adapt it. This is how you could do it:

    Firstly, to me, V Day celebrations were never solely for the man to ‘act’ on and the woman to ‘receive’. V Day is an opportunity for both the man and the woman (or the woman and the woman / the man and the man) to show their love to each other in a genuine, unrestricted way.

    While V Day does set up some pretty restricted concepts of romance which translates into the woman’s expectations, surely in a modern world if a woman’s partner did something truly, genuinely romantic that wasn’t a cliched Valentine’s Day tradition, she would be just as happy (if not happier) with the gesture? So really, these cliches aren’t actually ‘restricting’, unless you are incapable of showing your love in a way other than chocolates and roses.

    I never really thought of Valentine’s Day as a sexist holiday at all, until I read this article… Now it seems incredibly obvious, but at the same time it doesn’t have to be that way. I think the reason I never thought of it as sexist is because my own perception of V Day isn’t a sexist one. It reflects the equal values of my generation… So rather than boycotting the holiday altogether, we should aim to make society’s perception of it match the times in which we live.

    • kit10phish February 15, 2014 at 6:13 AM #

      Thank you for your thoughtful analysis!

    • jacintabalestra February 15, 2014 at 4:53 PM #

      Anytime! 🙂

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