The air is thick with the smell of chocolate and double standards for women. Valentine’s Day can be difficult for many women because it is such a loaded time.
Our timelines fill up with rose petal filled beds, itchy looking lingerie and big gestures that are unmatched by the realities of romance. Couples are guilted into wasting hard earned money on single use trinkets and single women are brutally stigmatised as sad or bitter.
This is not a holiday that empowers women. Yet any women attempting to reclaim it are labeled desperate. Any who ignore it are considered to be hiding their sadness. This is not to say that no women can enjoy the holiday, it is just unfair that the two options presented to women seem to fall under magical princess showered with gifts or miserable gremlin.
It’s no hot take to observe that Valentine’s day traditions are based around consumerism. This not only creates huge amounts of waste affecting the environment, but also creates a culture of measuring love by how much money someone can afford to spend.
But what can we do about it? We can demand more for ourselves and each other. In the UK we are stuck in a lockdown, and in many other countries there are also tight restrictions. Mental health is suffering and many of us are unable to see our loved ones.
Let’s make a commitment to use this week to nurture our souls and look after ourselves. Read a book, go for a walk, take a sec to look in the mirror and realise how tough you are for making it through the past year. Call a friend or family member and check in on how they are doing. Take a break from social media and instead celebrate your incredible achievements.
Remind yourself that you are amazing and deserve happiness, whatever that looks like for you. Love is not just a noun, it’s a verb. Be active in loving yourself.
By Kahina Bouhassane