What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the words, “Valentine’s Day”? Love? Chocolates? Flowers? Wow. That shows how brainwashed by the capitalist patriarchy you are.
I know you are as thankful as I am that the feminist group at Yale, Engender, is hosting an anti-Valentine’s Day event (not the first, and definitely not the last). Here is the question of the ages that they ask:
“Are you going out this Wednesday out of respect a tradition rooted in capitalism and heteronormativity?”
Each time I’ve celebrated Valentine’s Day, “capitalism and heteronormativity” have been at the forefront of my mind. You don’t even have to say it, because it was obviously at the forefront of yours as well. What will they be doing at their anti-celebration? Why, watching the documentary, “This World: Frat Boys,” of course. I know the reason must be apparent to all, but, on the off chance it’s not, it’s to advance their efforts “to advocate for gender integration of Yale’s all-male fraternities given their disproportionate control over campus social life,” according to their website.
It’s so very easy to make fun of this nonsense (as I’ve just done), particularly when it comes from college students, with whom every issue is intense. And, as an American, they should have the right to meet on the battlefield of ideas to see if theirs wins (although I suspect they would not advocate the same for other views they disagreed with, given that they’re attempting to compel fraternities to accept women).
However, in today’s day and age of endless protests involving newly-created terms nearly no one has heard of, some kind-hearted soul might want to suggest that they could get further if they didn’t always come across as livid and confrontational. Am I defending the (very capitalist) American-style celebration of Valentine’s Day? Not really; I’ve always preferred tokens of love given freely and not out of guilt or coercion or fear of punishment. However, many millions of people celebrate it, and attacking it for its “capitalism and heteronormativity” likely won’t advance their goal.
Perhaps mocking it with a funny celebration of their own where people would want to attend might be better (although, I’ll admit it will be standing room only for their screening of an anti-fraternity documentary).
In the era where anything and everything is being protested, torn down, and deconstructed, we reached the point of absurdity a while ago. Perhaps we might want to begin approaching things, ideas, and even holidays, we disagee with with a bit more tact and nuance if we hope to persuade others to our point of view. If not, you’re also welcome to attend their “10 Things We Love About Exploiting Capitalist Holidays” event this Friday.