Valentine's Day Wrap Up
Kate here with a spontaneous blog post.
Ah Valentine's Day. I never really know what to think about Valentines Day. Usually I don't think much about it at all, until Valentine's morning when suddenly there's no escape from declarations of love splashed everywhere you look and a million ads for products that are supposed to 'help' you celebrate your love with that 'special someone.' There's a lot of stuff on sale, a lot of hype, and sometimes there can be just a little bit of pressure. It can all be a little overwhelming, so it’s not surprising that cynicism regarding Valentine's Day and how material it has become is pretty common - in fact, I think it's fair to say the cynicism has become as big a part of the day as chocolate and flowers.
Tuesday didn't start too differently, as far as Valentine’s Days go. On my way in to the BITE BACK offices I was accosted by a group of angels at Wynyard Station in Sydney who were giving away cute stockings with pink cupids on them to anyone who wanted them (yes really! and I will shamelessly admit I took advantage of the offer). I walked past three different florists working overtime to fill their orders for flowers, cards, and chocolates. And I saw lots of couriers on bikes balancing bouquets. Standard.
But over the rest of the day, I slowly noticed that Valentine's Day this year wasn't just being used by the Hallmark companies of the world to sell stuff. Instead, a stack of conversations were going on about love related issues that went far beyond chocolate and flowers. People seemed to be reclaiming the day - all by starting their own conversations and putting their own messages out there on a range of different topics related to love. I really like that. I think it shows that whether you're cynical about all the hype or a die-hard Valentines romantic, you can find some positive way to channel your energy on Valentines Day - all you have to do is put your own spin on the day.
In the spirit of stamping your own claim on Valentine's Day, I've put together a list of some of the different conversations that went on this year. And I'd love to hear about how everyone else is using the day. Let us know in the comments below.
Valentine's Day Marketing
As a bit of a joke, Triple J spent the afternoon helping random businesses whose products have nothing to do with love cash in on Valentines day, including a a foot peel business. The Doctor and his listeners helped the business come up with a winning Valentines marketing slogan. Listen here.
Aussie comedian, Magda Szubanski, chose Valentines Day to release a statement that declared her support for same-sex marriage, and revealed her sexuality at the same time.
"All Australians, including gay Australians, should have exactly the same rights, including the right to love, marry and take care of our partners."
She also did an interview on the Project. Check that out here.
Nic knew I was going to be by myself in the BITE BACK office on Valentines Day, so he took five minutes to make me a rose out of a serviette. Nice.
Occupy Valentine's day
I didn't realise these guys were still around much, but they are. In a bit of a nod to the 60s free love movement all those occupy protestors used Valentine's day to send a message that love should be something for the general public to celebrate as opposed to something to profit from.
Raising money with roses
My high school always did this and I think it's a great idea. Students buy roses for their friends and lovers and proceeds from the day get donated to a charity of their choice.
And finally, my personal favourite:
I love that Sexual Health Awareness Week ties into the same week as Valentines Day. Quite a few different groups took the opportunity this year to talk about sex and relationships and explore different approaches to navigating this area of life - whether you’re already having sex, in a relationship, or not having either. These next three links have some pretty interesting info on sex and relationships - both in an OMG-I-never-knew-that way, or in an OMG-I-never-thought-of-that way.
- ReachOut and YEP had an online forum discussion Monday night on sex and relationships - it was all about how information and communication are hugely important to keeping you (and your partner/future partner) happy and safe in your romantic lives.
- Triple J are celebrating Sex Week, and discussing all sorts of aspects of sex and relationships. They kicked it off on Monday night on Hack. The program was all about the chemical reactions that occur in our brains as a result of having sex - and how these can impact on the decisions you make about relationships. Listen here, and check out all the other conversations from the week over at their website.
- Tune In Not Out is also acknowledging Sex Week, and posted this great blog post about 'how to win at relationships.'
Not all these examples necessarily fit your idea of reclaiming Valentines Day but what they show is that Valentine's Day can mean a whole bunch of different things, and start a whole bunch of conversations. What do you think? Did you reclaim Valentines Day? Did you celebrate it? Or did you decide the best way to spend the day this year was by ignoring it?