Ah Valentine’s Day. The sweet smell of overpriced roses. The whiff of panicked chocolate buying. The
pressure joy of semi-forced romance.
Beyond a single eyebrow raise indicating mild scepticism at the industry of it all, I don’t have a huge problem with Valentine’s Day. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating love for a day, even if it comes at an inflated cost. There’s even something quite nice about taking a day to celebrate each other and the utter improbability of finding love with a particular, single human entity in a chaotic world that extends both backwards and forwards in time and space beyond our timeline of insignificant existence.
But what I have noticed in even the briefest search for a card, is that in amongst the genuinely funny, the sweet, the shmultzy, the weird, the modern, the parodies, the gross (in saccharine levels and in referencing bodily functions far too graphically), the basic, the rude, the quoting of TV shows I haven’t seen and therefore don’t get is that there are still a bunch of really unpleasant sometimes sexist, sometimes just nasty cards out there masquerading as humour.
So here are my worst Valentine’s Day cards seen in 2019:
I find it kind of baffling that these things are still considered jokes. Because that’s the defence isn’t it?
“Oh come on where’s your sense of humour? It’s just a joke, they’re kind of funny, why are you ruining it?”
Because ultimately, the recipient of said “joke” is also the tired butt of it. Because women have taken enough crap about our emotions, our bodies, our status, our age, our presence in the world. Because if you’re going to get your partner a card and you want it to be light hearted and funny, make sure it actually is. Because I’m a proud feminist and I love comedy and it does women, jokes and yes even Valentine’s Day a disservice to keep perpetuating these horrible tropes.
So Happy Valentine’s Day from your friendly neighbourhood feminist killjoy. May you share your love and humour with mindful kindness and may we continue to smash the damaging patriarchy one stupid stereotype at a time.
You and I haven’t always seen eye to eye,
Especially when looking in a mirror.
There’s a tendency to lack tenderness, to be hardest on the softer parts of this body.
But I want to tell you (me, us) something.
I have made you (me, us) strong.
You (I, we) are strong.
I love the part of my side that is the lower curve of my waist,
(The carnal pleasure I take in food won’t let it waste away)
That undulates and fluctuates in size and
Becomes my hips that have grown inches as I have grown older, upwards and outwards.
26, 27, 28, 29, 30.
And as these numbers grow higher I have noticed the first grey hairs appear and they fascinate me,
Silver to the point of being invisible but still they glint ethereally against the black.
So delicately spun as if a spider tip-toed across my head and abandoned the threads in her wake; silk orphans presented to my head that cannot help but take them in and hold them.
We have been fatter and we have been thinner, we will never be taller, though we most certainly have been smaller and look how we’ve grown.
Our presence has never been larger and time only moves one way –
You will never be younger than you are right now.
Let’s not forget to mention the elephant in the room…well, elephants.
These breasts are not small and there was no choice in the matter but to have them.
They, like every other part of me, grew and I know nothing else but the experience of having them.
They are the part of this body that one day might feed the children I hope the whole will bear.
It may not of course – that potential is as yet untapped and I have as much control over it as I do over how it has grown in all the directions it has expanded.
Sometimes all you (I, we) want is doughnuts or pastries or bagels, toasties, deep fried sushi, mayonnaise with a side of chips, chocolate milk, coffee with a tower of whipped cream, cake with buttercream icing, biscuits, pretzels smothered in melted cheese, all in the plural for maximum guzzling consumption.
Sometimes all I (you, we) want is to swim and dance, run or cycle, vinyasa and downward dog in ashtanga sun salutations to lengthen and strengthen and stretch.
You, I…we…I. We are the same one stuff of course.
But we’re told there’s mental and physical.
Head and heart and fat and muscle, organs and bone and hair and teeth, eyeballs and skin cells and nails and hands and feet and brain matter, synapses, nerve endings, pigments, sinews, joints, a head, a body, a heart, a brain.
It is all just this. Just I.
But we’re told mind over matter.
But we see all these images of be smaller, be thinner, be less, be beach body ready, be the best you who is by no coincidence the skinniest you-
You’re ok. You’re strong and healthy. We…
I am strong and healthy.
Except maybe for those doughnuts. They’ll get me every time.