Column: Address serious issues, but not on V-Day

Valentine’s Day is a great holiday. It’s a day where we focus on romance, love, affection, rape, incest, sexual slavery and even genital mutilation. I was surprised, but apparently it’s true. There’s a movement called the V-Day movement (Victory Over Violence) that wants to stop violence against women and girls, which is an admirable goal. My major problem is the fact that this seeming anti-love fest is to be celebrated “on or around” Feb. 14.

I think it’s wrong for the people in charge of the V-Day movement to try to tie their agenda to Valentine’s Day. They want to reclaim Valentine’s Day as V-Day (it says so on their Web site), a day to celebrate women and end violence.

That makes Valentine’s Day sound inherently anti-woman; that by celebrating it, we’re allowing violence against women to continue and I just do not agree with that.

Don’t get me wrong; I want rape, incest and violence against women (against everyone, for that matter) to end. I just don’t think the right day to make it an issue is a day we have set aside to celebrate everything that’s good about love and relationships (the Hallmark aspect aside). Being in love and celebrating it should not be considered anti-woman.

When you think about it, Valentine’s Day has a bad enough reputation as it is. People who are alone (myself included) tend to dismiss it as a stupid holiday and a waste of time.

As mentioned above, some of those same people dismiss it as a holiday wholly created by the Hallmark Corporation. But if you happen to be in a relationship, Feb. 14 is a day when you can be thankful for your significant other and think about how they’ve enriched your life. Is that so wrong?

I know rape and violence are serious issues. But we don’t need them dragging down what can be, for some, a downer holiday. I’m all for a national day of recognition of violence against women.

I would just move it to May or June when there are fewer holidays to contend with. Hijacking an existing holiday for the antithesis of its intent robs credibility from what these people are trying to accomplish. They could try lobbying Congress or individual states for a day of recognition, but simply going on the internet and announcing a new name and meaning for an established custom will not work.

To be fair, there is nothing on the Web site that specifically condemns Valentine’s Day. I think it is pretty strongly implied though, by the fact that they want to change the definition.

Lest anyone get the wrong idea, I think that violence against women is wrong. I am in favor of a holiday that brings awareness to the plight of women here and abroad. I just don’t want love being confused with violence and relationships being confused with misogyny. I think it’s dangerous to make that kind of connection.

So basically, I think people in relationships should be free to give red flowers, heart-shaped boxes of candy and other gifts, appropriate tokens of affection without having to feel guilty because of problems that they aren’t responsible for. People say love conquers all, so let’s have it conquer an agenda for a day.

  • Chris Ricketts is a sophomore majoring in English.