As you know, I hate that fake-a$$ holiday, and have been really good about writing an annual blog post about all that’s wrong with it. This is my eleventh? such post, I think!!! Even when I’m terrible about writing anything else throughout the year. It’s important to me to get it done.
And yes, I am still a lazy writer (in my blog) and do not treat this as a college research paper. BUT given this era of opinion-pieces, unsubstantiated “alternate facts,” and plain ‘ol made-up nonsense, I’ve tried to at least indicate my sources. Is there a proper citation with bibliography-no! Can you tell I just didn’t pull the information and figures out of my a$$–I hope so. Here we go my annual why Valentine’s Day is detrimental and shouldn’t be celebrated:
Fear sells products.
Just ask the beauty industry. First step-Put great emphasis on a women’s physical appearance. Socnond, Insinuate that’s WHO she is (beauty), Third, indicate that beauty is the only way she derives all her power. Finally, make her afraid she’s losing looks and beauty through aging. Sales of lotion and makeup boom!
Look at any magazine, poster, or label. Nakedness abounds. People are more interested if there’s a hint of sexuality. True story. Does there really even need to be persuasion here? I hope not. I will assume no, and move on.
Combine fear WITH sex and you have capitalist gold. Thus, Valentines Day. And why a Catholic tragedy is even a current thing at all.
And with stock-markets demanding quarterly growth, more and more corporations are looking to foreign markets to increase sales. Advertising DOES have an impact on culture. Other countries do look to the United States, a world power. So it makes sense that America’s ad campaigns do dictate cultural change around the world.
One example of the negative influence of America’s capitalism, specifically the notion Valentine’s Day must culminate in sex, is Cambodia. The country is in Southeast Asia, near Thailand and Laos. Cambodia has a tumultuous history, with the Brits colonizing it for awhile, communists taking refuge there for a time, and Americans bombing it (just the commies though! *sarcasm* obviously) during Vietnam conflict. As a person with an American education, I’m not sure of the whole history, or what Cambodia’s politics are today (or honestly, anything about them), but I know the treatment of women there is not that awesome.
Cambodia is apparently dramatic about romance. They have a concept called “sansar,” which means something like, Valentine or true love, or the person I want to marry. And this Sansar notion is heavily associated with Valentine’s Day. The people Combining the Valentine’s Day money = love = sexual reward with Cambodia’s ingrained notions of gender has resulted in a phenomenon of under-aged sex. In Cambodia Valentine’s Day is their prom–the expectation is to have sex.
The ministry of education in Cambodia issued a statement Tuesday imploring teachers to impress upon their students that Valentine’s Day is not about losing one’s virginity. Chuon Naron says in the statement “Cambodian students take Valentine’s Day to mean ‘sweetheart day,’ and they buy flowers as a way to convince girls to give up their virginity.” An exacerbating factor,”Cambodians have no idea about sex and their sexual rights because the sexual health education curriculum remains unimplemented.” (1) Education Minister Hang.
The quantitative survey on Love and sexual relationships found that 12. 4 percent young people state that they will be able to have sex and 14.3 young people in a couple state that they will able to have sex with their sweethearts on the upcoming Valentine’s Day. (2) Valentine’s Day in Phnom Penh in 2009.
Even worse? It has been reported that this sex will happen whether or not every participant is ready, whether or not they’re in a trusting, committed relationship, whether or not permission is given. Yes, not only has American-economy-driven Valentine’s capitalistic hedonism caused the sexualiziation of a “holiday” it had contributed to rape culture.
According to United Nations research (*A) one in five Cambodian men admit to raping a woman at least once. Half of that number started before the age of 20. (4) And nearly two-thirds said they had raped their partner, or more explicitly, their songsar. The figure rose to 34 percent when asked if they had committed physical or sexual violence against a woman. (3) 2013.
Public health specialist, Tong Soprach, conducted a smaller study of this trend from 2009-2014. He interviewed 715 Cambodians, aged 15 to 24, and what he found was staggering. In 2009, roughly two-thirds of young males said they were willing to force their partners to have sex on Valentine’s Day. [What??!] That number dropped some by 2014, but was still alarmingly high: among 376 male respondents, about 47 percent. (4) Phnom Penh Post, 2009.
National Police spokesman, Lieutenant General Kirth Chantharith, agrees that education is key to putting a halt to this abuse. He pointed out that most of the youth don’t understand the concept of Valentine’s Day, adding that “a lot of boys want to use this day for sex and to exploit girls”. Just how culturally accepted it is to engage in non-consensual sex is illustrated by the fact that half of the women interviewed for the UN study believed they couldn’t refuse to have sex with their husband. Two years ago, according to Chantharith, the police noticed a significant increase in sexual violence and rape among the capital’s youth on Valentine’s Day. “There are many young men going to the guest houses late at night with a girl – sometimes a group of boys with a girl – and they commit sexual violence,” he said. “So when we see a girl alone at night, leaving a bar with a boy or a group, we intervene.” (5) On the whole, though rape and sexual violence isn’t only endemic in the southeast Asian country, but is treated by many as the norm, meaning perpetrators largely go unpunished.
So there’s that. Thanks U.S. Capitalistic fake holiday. Obviously, this is one of the more horrible consequences that stem from constructing a holiday about “love” but really about money. I think as citizens of the United States, we can admit Valentines Day is contrived and exploited in order to sell products. Fear of being alone and single are combined with terribly impractical idealized romantic images, which are not really a thing aside from February 14th. As a leading country, we need to be careful what we support and how we portray ourselves. Our country (like it or not) is a role model for other places. And our capitalistic patriarchy combined with a worse-for-wear undeveloped countries norms has lead to disastrous effects on women.
Think twice about what you support.
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