Five Ways to Have a Feminist Valentine’s Day

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 5.34.21 PMFrustrated by the patriarchal, heteronormative, gendered conventions of Valentine’s Day? This year, celebrate V-Day in feminist fashion, without becoming a slave to commercialism.

Here are a few ideas for a very feminist Valentine’s Day:

1) Scrap the manufactured “holiday” altogether. Celebrate V-Day instead.

Contrary to popular usage, the “V” in V-Day is not just a derivative of Valentine’s Day. V-Day is actually a global activist movement fighting to end violence against women. The “V” stands for Victory, Valentine and Vagina. This Valentine’s Day, celebrate all three v’s by attending a 1 Billion Rising event—a mass action where demonstrators are asked to “rise up” in defiance of the injustices suffered by women worldwide. The campaign is asking 1 billion women and their allies to show their support this year.

2) Enjoy the day with your favorite gals. Host or attend a Galentine’s Day party.

In the wise words of Parks and Recreation star Leslie Knope, “It’s ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst.” Treat yourself and the wonderful women in your life to a girls-only brunch, a la Leslie. Decorate Valentine’s Day cards with glitter lettering that says “ovaries before brovaries.” Create a girl-power playlist on your iPod jam-packed with Joan Jett, Beyonce, Rihanna and Bikini Kill. Drink multicolored mimosas. Embrace the lady-love.

3) Invite your lover to a local showing of The Vagina Monologues.

What better way to spend your feminist Valentine’s Day than with Eve Ensler’s infamous play about women navigating  the female experience? Ensler actually helped launch the V-Day movement (see #1), and has worked to raise money for the campaign through The Vagina Monologues. Make your date night a double: attend a 1 Billion Rising demonstration before catching a performance. Alternatively, you and your valentine can engage in dramatic readings of the play in your living room.

4) Make your own feminist V-Day cards.

Throw a Valentine’s Day bash reminiscent of the riot grrrl days. Extract some of those “feminist Valentine’s Day card” gems from the Internet, get some friends together, and cut and paste (think: roses are red//violets are blue//i would love to smash the patriarchy with you!). You may also find great ideas on BuzzFeed’s recent list of #ActivistPickupLines for Valentine’s Day. It’s brimming with excellent material (see: “Race and gender aren’t the only things about to get intersectional tonight!”).

5) Curl up with your significant other and a stack of your most prized feminist literature (or, your entire collection of feminist literature; you can designate this a full-day activity).

“I’m bell hook-ed on you!” is the optimal way to seduce your loved one into spending the afternoon lost in the pages of one of bell hooks’ works on the intersection between feminism and love. Bask in your love for one another’s intricate understanding of the current civil, political, economic and social climate as it relates to women. Throw in some Virginia Woolf and Simone de Beauvoir for good measure.

If all else fails, you can always bake vulva-shaped cookies and call it a V-Day.

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Emily Mae Czachor is a print & digital journalism student at the University of Southern California and the senior culture editor of Neon Tommy. She is currently an editorial intern at Ms.