Valentine's Day for Feminist Lovers
By Suzanne Reisman on February 05, 2010
BlogHer Original Post
I know that some people believe that "feminist" and "lovers" do not belong in the same sentence, either because feminists are horrible people incapable of love (especially heterosexual love, which is why we never shave our pits or legs or bikini lines) or because feminists are horrible people that no one else is capable of loving (because we never shave our pits or legs or bikini lines).
Pat Robertson famously opined that, "Feminism is a socialist, anti-family, political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians." Obviously anyone who engages in feminism must be terrible.
As a feminist, I generally disagree with these silly sentiments. My ability to feel love toward other people, however, is severely challenged around this time of year. It's dangerous out there with Valentine's Day (VD) around the corner. My goal is not to get infected with VD or stab anyone who tries to convince me that it is a beautiful holiday that celebrates love rather than a crass heterosexual gender-stereotyping commercial hoax. (I guess Robertson's accusation about my goal of destroying capitalism has some merit.)
Lately, my inbox is filled with ludicrous VD promos from clueless PR people. I was fooled by the one whose subject line read, "Spice Up Valentine's Day with Fun and Alternative Gifts."
"Oooh," I thought and eagerly clicked it open. "Maybe it's pushing cock rings or vibrators or gay porn! That would be very alternative to the usual crap." Alas, the email suggested that I give my male sweetie poker stuff, customized tequila bottles, or cigars. How alternative! Giving men any of those items will totally be unexpected. I suppose I could make a very raunchy VD out of those items, but I don't play poker, drink, or smoke. Plus it turns out that you aren't even supposed to use the poker stuff with your guy:
What better gift to give than a night out with the boys? Nothing says “I love you” like letting your man enjoy a night of poker and beer. Whether playing with his buddies or relaxing with you on a quiet night in, GR88.com offers gift cards that allow your man to play whenever and wherever he wants. With gift cards suitable for any level of play, this is the perfect gift card that he will actually use!
Seriously, it's enough to make me want to grab Cupid's arrow and poke him in the eye. Better ideas abound. Anyone in the market for a VD gift for a guy can check out blackbird's excellent suggestions.
Perhaps, like me, you take VD literally. Well, have I got a suggestion for you: a new website promotes getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases! For Valentine’s Day, they are offering couple's discounts:
YouNeverReallyKnow.com is a resource for people in relationships to promote sexual health and get STD tested. It provides advice on topics such as how to have the conversation about getting STD tested with your significant other or potential partner – which can also serve as great resources for moms having the conversation with their sexually active teens.
Actually, I should not mock. This is a good idea. I just think the PR is hilarious. If only they tied in the whole Valentine's Day/VD theme I've got going here. No one ever asks me, though.
The VD testing idea brings me to another clever idea. My friend organizes a charity in the UK that helps Irish women travel abroad to obtain abortions. They are also working with advocates in Northern Ireland to repeal a discriminatory rule that prevents women there from getting abortions through the National Health Service while women everywhere else in the UK are covered. It shouldn't surprise anyone that, in the weeks following Valentine's Day, the number of women seeking abortions increases. To raise money for Irish women, the Abortion Support Network is selling Valentine's Day e-cards for only £2! A bargain!
Finally, since VD is all about spreading the love, I'll mention that my friend at Ask an Esthetician has really, really great advice about skin care and beauty. She reviews books on the topics and recommends the best. Perhaps giving someone a book about healing adult acne is not the most romantic VD gift, but some people really enjoy thinking about and indulging in beauty practices. If you can't afford a gift certificate to a spa (which, incidentally, is my worst nightmare of a gift to receive, just in case you were planning to give me something), a book helping someone indulge at home might be a good substitute. And if you live in the Chicago-area, I think the Esthetician can be hired to make a house call.
On VD, I shall be freezing my ass off while visiting my sister in Iowa. However, for those of you who do celebrate with your beloved(s), I hope that you bask in the warmth of their love next weekend. And every day, for that matter.