How to Have a Feminist Valentine's Day

February 14 is approaching pretty quickly, and while the traditional celebration of Valentine’s Day might be nauseating to some of us—you don’t necessarily need to celebrate V-Day in the conventional sense.

While some traditions are great, like showing your love and appreciation for your other half (even if that other half is yourself right now), but other V-Day traditions are kind of toxic. Like the whole commercialization of this “holiday,” or how Valentine’s Day tends to focus its celebration on heterosexuals.

Not only does Valentine’s Day traditionally reinforce gender roles, but it also excludes a lot of us in the LGBTQIA+ community because it promotes heteronormativity. This means that the holiday fosters heterosexuality as a “normal” representation of a couple. In doing so, it inhibits the inclusion of queer relationships and non-binary people. Case in point: out of the hundreds of Valentine’s Day-themed movies, none feature gay, lesbian, polyamorous or asexual coupledoms or the fact that most V-Day cards feature only “him” or “her” pronouns.

Instead of blindly celebrating these harmful, and often heteronormative, Valentine’s Day traditions, you can have a healthy, empowering and feminist V-Day.

Related: What To Do When Your SO Is Your Only Friend

1. Volunteer for a non-profit organization

Valentine’s Day is a holiday that celebrates love. Stereotypically, the holiday only honors love between hetero relationships; you can use V-Day to show your affection for a revolutionary cause.

After all, you have so much love to express, why should you commit to showing your affection to just one person? Express that love toward a beneficial charity or organization.

Giving back to your community is an exemplary way to show your love for multiple individuals (and for a movement that you’re passionate about—so in a way you’re also showing yourself some love when you volunteer on V-Day). Plus, it breaks the norm that you should showcase your love for only a single person on this day.

2. Ask your beau on a V-Day date (and plan the date yourself)

Break those hackneyed Valentine’s Day gender roles by asking your SO, situationship or fling on a date.

Even if you’re the laziest girl ever, you can still ask your boo on a date with minimal effort.

After your SO (hopefully) says yes, you can start planning your V-Day escapades. Don’t worry; you don’t have to plan a detailed itinerary for your date. You can keep it simple and take your other half to dinner—better yet, you both could help cook dinner.

3. Love yourself

Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to admire the love of your life: you. And if you don’t love yourself, take this V-Day to change that.

Micki Wagner, a senior at the University of Missouri-Columbia, explains, “I think celebrating Valentine's Day by yourself is not only empowering, but also feminist because, despite what some might tell you, you don't even need a date to celebrate this day dedicated to love."

The best way to show yourself how much you care is obviously to practice some essential self-care. If your self-soothing remedy is reading, spend part of the day at a local bookstore and find a new novel to read. Nevertheless, focus on doing things that make you happy this Valentine’s Day.

4. Don’t focus on the day, focus on the person(s) you’re with

Many people get enveloped in celebrating Valentine’s Day for the day—but it’s so much more than just buying heart-shaped sweets and roses.

Instead of using this “holiday” as an excuse to waste hundreds of dollars on romantic gestures—which TBH are more exhausting than they are passionate—use this day to celebrate your favorite parts about your special person.

Though V-Day is stereotypically revolved around spending a plethora of time and money cards, chocolates and elaborate day-cations, you don’t need to spend money to show your SO that you care.

Instead of spending your paycheck on a gift (or two), celebrate Valentine’s Day by doing leisurely activities with your SO. If you aren’t sure what kind of kickback things your bae or situationship enjoys, then take the coming days to celebrate V-Day early—by listening to your SO.

Focusing on things your SO likes to do, rather than traditional Valentine’s Day events, will also show your SO that you love them without blatantly stating it.

5. Show your love for the special people in your life, other than your SO

Whether you’re single or in a committed FWB situation, you don’t need to spend your Valentine’s Day celebrating the romantic definition of love—you can use this holiday to observe platonic love (or instead).

Micki elaborates that she likes to use Valentine’s Day to cherish the important friends and family in her life. “In my 22 years so far, I have yet to have a date for Valentine's Day, so I normally use Valentine's Day as a time to celebrate my friends and the people I love in my life, including myself,” Micki explains. “I find that to be not only empowering, but also a nice way to check in with myself and remind myself how grateful I am for the amazing people in my life.” Why shouldn’t you celebrate your love for your friends, roomies and family on Valentine’s Day? After all, it is the day of love.

Regardless of your relationship status, or lack thereof, you don’t need to honor the commercialized parts of Valentine’s Day. Aside from Galentine’s Day, you can celebrate love this February in a feminist-friendly way.

Chelsea is the Health Editor for Her Campus. In addition to editing articles about mental health, women's health and physical health, Chelsea contributes to Her Campus as a Feature Writer, Beauty Writer, Entertainment Writer and News Writer. Some of her unofficial, albeit self-imposed, responsibilities include arguing about the Oxford comma, fangirling about other writers' articles, and pitching Her Campus's editors shamelessly nerdy content (at ambiguously late/early hours, nonetheless). When she isn't writing for Her Campus, she is probably drawing insects, painting with wine or sobbing through "X-Men: Apocalypse." Follow her on Twitter: @cjacks_draw

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