Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Valentine's Day

I'm not going to stoop to cliché and bash Valentine's Day for being tacky and commercial, because everyone hates that. It's done, it's been said.

Instead, I'm going to draw your attention to something more insidious.

Have you ever noticed how inescapably female the whole aesthetic of Valentine's Day is? As though Love & Romance™­ was solely the province of women. I'm not going to suggest that women exert any less effort than men selecting their V.D. (coincidence?) gifts than men. That would be churlish. But I've certainly never seen a Valentine's Day campaign marketing, say, a nice, thoughtful bottle of Scotch and a subscription to Chainsaw Weekly. It's all rings, perfume, rom-coms, poetry, jewellery, sweets, chocolates, lingerie, plush toys, cards and flowers. Do men not deserve Valentine's logistics? Is it something that is assumed to happen by default?

You have to wonder what this implies. We're all familiar with the "amusing" sexist stereotype of men being insensitive dunderheads requiring instruction as to what gifts to select. And women being faultlessly intuitive and nurturing, suffering their idiot suitor's wretched attempts with kind patience.

Are we really still slaves to the tired spectacle of men having to present pleasing offerings to win the affections of their desired receptacle?

Haven't we moved on at all?

I don't claim to understand women (and I don't like what I do understand...), but if some guy thought that the sum total of my romantic worth was any of those hackneyed pieces of shit, I'd probably think he was sexist. Like presenting a man with a guide to belching and arse-scratching, because that's what men like, right? Teehee!

Yes, I know I'm not getting laid today.

Oh, and as an afterthought, even if you agree with your inamorata that the holiday is a joke, you're fucked (or not fucked, as the case may be...) if you don't do at least something. It's like agreeing to shirk Christmas. It will never happen because you're going to be a complete heel if you do.


Anonymous said...

This influx of female-related marketing on Valentine's Day is targetted at men, because they are more likely to struggle with what to give their significant others. You don't see ads for Scotch (though I suspect you do) or Chainsaw Weekly, because men don't buy themselves gifts on the 14th of February.

You said that you don't pretend to understand women, so you should probably take heed in the advice being offered. The same ads rear their heads every year, so the campaigns must be working. Men wouldn't keep buying chocolates, flowers and corny Hallmark cards if they didn't work the year before.

I also think the harping on about the commerciality of the day is overdone. A lot of people really enjoy commercialisation and they, for the most part, keep quiet and enjoy the day for what it is - simple, tacky and probably superfluous, but a bit of fun that makes people happy.

If it takes a box of chocolates or a bunch of flowers to make someone happy for a day, then that's worth it.

anonymous2 said...

Perhaps marketing on Valentine's Day is focused more on gifts for females because there's an all-around perception that females don't really need to buy anything to score on Valentine's Day, but males do? That females can get sex easier simply by saying they want it. So no need to buy Scotch or Hair Removal Systems for Men or even the tacky Men's Health subscription as gifts.

Personally I deal with VD annoyances by saying I've chosen to celebrate Dresden Day instead.

Ladyfingers said...

"Are we really still slaves to the tired spectacle of men having to present pleasing offerings to win the affections of their desired receptacle?"

Come on. Think.