Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Mayor Bloomberg's House, even Occu-pies (mm.mm…toasty). With so many people invading private spaces lately, maybe it's time we stopped with all the forced residencies. But on a day best known for its intimacy, amour, and privacy, watch out. It's Valentine's Day's turn.
That's right, Occupy V-day is making it onto feminist blogs, LGBT sites, and minds of singles everywhere. The official tumblr created by writer Samhita Mukhopadhyay celebrates love and romance and shuns the love industrial complex: the superficial piles of chocolates, flowers, or dinners; the heteronormative codes of conduct; the orchestrated gifting. Instead, have a "sexy conversation by candlelight with your partner about structural inequity."
Occupy Love, another blog and film created by Velcrow Ripper, declares "Love is not a product!" and asks for submissions on how readers will Occupy Valentine's Day this year. Like "a flash mob kiss-in at the corporate criminal of your choice."
Alright, so it might be a tad extreme, even for the bitter singles. But don't they have a point? Look at our Valentine's Day in the 21st Century, observe the commercialization, the prim codes of conduct. According to Bottica.com, males spend an average of $169 per order on Valentine's gifts in the United States. The top buys? Earings and bracelets. Then, look how it's packed into one day, trivializing all the loving in the other 364. And even with the current progress of gay marriage rights in California, popular culture continues to depict a man and woman on cards, in films, in ads.
It's time our society was shaken up with a little bit of love. It's time a mass movement showed us all the true values of individualism and equity, and reminded us that we’re not just mindless consumers. Maybe we won't spend the day raising "awareness about domestic violence and sexual assault." But let's spread the love beyond our self-centered circles. Volunteer at a nonprofit with your lover this year, cook a dinner for family and friends, be a part of a reverberating change. With a worldwide movement and international holiday behind us, let’s springboard into a re-imagined world.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons