Monthly Archives: February 2019

Worst Valentine’s Day Cards Awards 2019

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:

  • First up we have the category of pressure to have sex! It’s the woman’s place to “put out” and “do anal” for a bit of extra affection because isn’t that what real love is based on? Nothing like a bit of insidious rape culture to make anyone feel sexy on this day of lurve.
The only small saving grace about this card is that she looks like she’s got some kind of martial arts training so if someone did try to insist she has sex with them after she’s clearly said no, she might be able to take them down.
  • No, you may not have any feelings or expectations of how to be treated! And how dare you get upset if I, the man, do not make you feel as valued as you would like. So don’t get in a mood love, I did some bare minimum twitter and got you this card to pre-empt you and your godawful endless feelings. And even though it’s actually quite mean and really passive aggressive, you’re not allowed to complain about it because I got you something for Valentine’s Day didn’t I and isn’t that what you wanted? Urgh, bitches be crazy.
  • And the Valentine’s Day award for loving body shaming goes to… Because obviously anyone over a size (insert acceptable number here – I literally don’t even know what it is anymore) doesn’t deserve to have love and if someone is attracted to them or they do create a connection with another person then frankly we should get Sherlock Holmes on this because there must be some kind of mystery force at play.
Apart from anything else, skinny kids love cake too. Loads of kids love cake, I don’t think it’s size dependent or reflective.
IT DOESN’T EVEN MAKE SENSE.
  • Continuing on the body shaming theme, let’s talk about hair and autonomy. In 2019, does anyone really have full autonomy over their bodies? Like, seriously guys, don’t we all control someone else’s decisions in a way? Gotta love the guilt that comes with not complying to someone else’s idealised hairless wonder, infantilised image of you. Because you know who doesn’t have body hair? Children. That’s who.
To be honest, we’re all products of the patriarchy and the media so maybe none of us have any real actual autonomy. It’s just slightly easier to bear when it doesn’t come from your partner telling you how to look though.
  • Speaking of ageing, women just aren’t allowed to do that are they? Well, not if they want to be seen as attractive they’re not. And if they do manage to survive to over 45 and not be decrepit and disgusting, you better be damn sure to value them only on their physical attributes. Don’t even think about their intelligence or wit, that way madness lies. Older women are allowed to be a power-mad fetish or a harmless biddy and NOTHING IN BETWEEN.
  • And then there’s this gem which sort of captures them all. Want to make someone feel old, ugly and belittled for having feelings all in one fell swoop? THIS IS THE ONE TO GET GUYS.
I mean, you try growing a literal human inside you and having your body not change.
Or ageing past puberty and having your body not change.
Or eating and having- you get the idea.

Bodies change, get over it.
  • Life achievements can be measured in lots of ways, but for women the most important things are being consistently, impossibly beautiful and finding a husband. And for men marrying women, the most important thing is her beauty. You can’t show off a munter down at the club can you? So if a woman’s greatest achievement is finally getting her old arse off the shelf and into the arms of whatever man will take her, a man’s greatest achievement is being able to rank said woman in the top (shelf) tier of stereotyped beauty standards!
Life has thrown cancer, crippling debt, unemployment, losing loved ones, betrayal from close friends, difficulty conceiving children, depression…
but don’t worry babe, I’m super hot.

That’s always the silver lining right?
You’re feeling better already.
  • This final card gets an honourable mention because it’s kind of disturbing, not because it’s telling anyone how to be but because it seems to be the kind of card you’d send to a friend telling them to get out of an abusive relationship. But it is genuinely listed in the category of Valentine’s Day cards and it did come up in my search results so here it is for your disturbed viewing pleasure.
If you are worried about your safety or someone else’s because of domestic abuse you can visit this site here:
https://www.womensaid.org.uk/information-support/helpline/
or call this number (freephone, 24 /7) run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge: 0808 2000 247 24 

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.

To My Body, From Me to I.

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.

Just me.

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-

Just…breathe.

You’re ok. You’re strong and healthy. We…

I.

I am strong and healthy.

Except maybe for those doughnuts. They’ll get me every time.