The incessant marketing would lead you to believe that Valentine’s Day is about romance and love. But it creates more anxiety for couples and singles alike than any other holiday. So, here’s a refresher on how to survive V-Day, feminism (and self-esteem) in tact:
Don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, celebrate the love in your life. This could mean the person you’re with, of course, but it could also mean your best friend, your mom, or your dog. Those who give you support, kindness, an always-there shoulder to cry on, and even tail-wagging every time you enter the room deserve to know how much you care for them more often than one day a year. And that goes double for the person with whom you’re partnered.
Reject all forms of consumerism tied into this holiday. Not only does no one even need chocolate, roses or jewelry, but supporting these industries this time of year further propogates the idea that coupled love is the only kind of love that matters—and that women should be the ones receiving these trinkets for their service as lovers to men.
Stop watching The Bachelor. Reality television that casts women as desperate for love and willing to do anything to “win” a man—as if it were the ultimate accomplishment a woman could ever make in her lifetime—are bad for feminism and also just bad.
Support the real V-day. It began as a play about vaginas and has turned into one of the biggest social movements to end violence against women through education and political activism. More than a billion women experience violence every day around the world. Doing something about that—even something as simple as signing the petition here, or joining the Twitter conversation, here—is an act of love even Cupid couldn’t conjure.