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Valentine’s Day: It’s time for a rebrand

Reflections

05.02.2021

While some love Valentine’s Day and all it represents, others might baulk at it’s underlying commercialism and what’s often described as a ‘Hallmark holiday’. We believe love is worth celebrating, but that doesn’t mean you need to buy into the red roses and outdated, often gendered, stereotypes.

05.02.2021

A read heart hugged by a white ribbon with the message
Illustration by @theequalityinstitute

The messaging we see around Valentine’s Day promotes it as a heteronormative holiday that’s best celebrated with your partner (if you have one). We think it’s time for a rebrand.

Let’s celebrate Valentine’s Day on our terms, however, and with whomever we like. Let’s celebrate love in all its forms – not just on Valentine’s Day, but every day - and let’s share our gratitude for others, and ourselves.

At the end of the day, love comes in many different forms and celebrating it in whatever way feels right for you, is what’s important. Do what makes you feel good. If that means getting offline and not engaging in the day – that's totally fine too.

How will you be spending the 14th February? We would love to hear how you’re choosing to celebrate (or not) Valentine’s Day this year. Take a pic and tag us on social media @theequalityinstitute and use the hashtags #EQI #FeministValentines.

Here’s a few of our recommendations for ways to spend Valentine’s Day (or any day).

Celebrate your beautiful self

Go full ‘me’ mode and celebrate all things you! Take yourself on a date – whether at home or outside. Think about the things that make you feel good and schedule in a series of activities just for you. Maybe it’s a hot bath with a glass of wine, maybe it’s a long call to a friend overseas, maybe it’s watching a film, or cooking a beautiful meal, or going for a walk and watching the sunset. Whatever you choose, choose yourself.

Celebrate love in its many forms

Let’s dismantle any remaining ideas that 'real' love is only romantic. Instead let’s spread a little kindness to the people in our life, whether that’s as simple as leaving a friendly and supportive comment on someone’s Instagram post or smiling at a stranger (if you live somewhere where mask-wearing is not compulsory outside). Maybe you could write a small thank you or appreciation note to a colleague or that neighbour who always waters your plants, or perhaps that roommate who always spares some of their milk for your morning coffee. You don’t have to make grand gestures to show love and appreciation. Start small.

Don’t let the consumerism frenzy consume you

You don’t have to buy anything to ‘prove’ or show your love. Send a thoughtful text message to a loved one. Pick up the phone and call someone you’ve been meaning to for a while. Leave a sticky note on someone’s desk. Or, if you’re feeling crafty, create a DIY gift for someone who’s been kind and generous with you. It could be as simple as printing a photo of you and your best friend and placing it in a homemade frame. Or, if you’re financially able to, consider donating to a cause you believe in or making the donation in the name of someone you love. Think outside the heart-shaped chocolate box!

Some other activities to spread the love...

If you’re able to, have a picnic with friends in the park. Everyone can bring a plate and each give a compliment about someone else in the group. It might sound cheesy, but it can feel pretty lovely to voice the things you love about someone else.

Bake some delicious baked goods and drop them off at the house or workplace of someone special.

Write a random appreciation note, wishing someone well, and drop it in a random letterbox for a stranger to discover.

On that note – next time you borrow a library book, slip a paper note of gratitude inside the cover for the next person to find.

Create a playlist of songs that make you feel strong and powerful and share it with someone who’ll appreciate or maybe needs a little pick-up too.

Journal all the things you’re grateful for, or the things that make you feel grounded and strong – then make time for one of them.

Send a handwritten card to a loved on. There’s something about a handwritten note that always feels special.

Leave a sticky note with a cute message on someone’s desk or in someone’s lunchbox!