Festivus isn’t the only holiday that has transitioned from sitcom punch line to real-life marketing opportunity. Over the last several weeks I’ve been seeing more and more stores advertising gifts for “Galentine’s Day.”
This “holiday” is the invention of “Parks and Recreation” character Leslie Knope. As she explained in the 2010 episode, “Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas.”
One tenet of Galentine’s Day is, of course, exchanging gifts. In 2016, Bustle featured “23 Galentine’s Day Gifts For Everyone In Your Squad.” Gifts include a mug that says “Uteruses before Duderuses,” assorted wine paraphernalia, and a flask that says “Male Tears,” among other things.
Martha Stewart Weddings is also getting in on the action, with a list of “Galentine’s Day Gifts for Your (Other) Soulmate.” The list includes stereotypical gal gifts. It also includes a “The Future is Female” T-shirt. The site says, “For the friend who wears her feminism on her sleeve. Bonus: If you buy the sweatshirt, 25 percent goes to Planned Parenthood.”
HelloGiggles pitches an “I’m What a Feminist Looks Like Journal” to its readers for Galentine’s Day. Romper, a website that focuses on parenthood for aging millennials, says Galentine’s Day is “the awesomely feminist counterpart to Valentine’s Day.”
I’m just as materialistic and greedy for gifts as the next gal, but why has this sitcom-created faux holiday morphed into an anti-men celebration? Simply put, it’s a reflection of women’s media.
As a consumer of women’s media, chick lit author, and founder and Monday editor of women’s email newsletter BRIGHT, I am well aware of the fine line they walk in a volatile industry. (I wouldn’t dare suggest women’s media writers learn to code.) Generally, glossy magazines and product-pushing online magazines get readers with promises of flawless skin, flat tummies, and snagging the perfect man with 101 sex tips. Unfortunately, that puts them at odds with a vocal minority of feminists who forage for outrage. Why just act when you can ovary-act?
Women’s media and feminist SJWs are in a constant battle with themselves. Capitalism is immoral! Buy this $710 Dior “We Should All Be Feminists” T-shirt! Women aren’t sex objects! Plus-size women are sex objects, too! Keep the government out of my uterus! The government should pay for my uterus’s maintenance!
Thankfully for them, being on the political left means never having to be consistent. In my book, “The Social Justice Warrior Handbook” (the perfect Galentine’s or Valentine’s Day gift), I parodied the modern day feminist:
Unlike our grandmothers, mothers, and professors, being a feminist doesn’t mean burning your bra. It means demanding that everyone look at you in your bra. Being a feminist activist is the most freeing thing you can do because you make the rules and you are now the majority. Studies show that more American women receive college degrees than men, so you already have a built-in community who’s eager to capitulate to your demands.
There is no such thing as a stereotypical feminist. This is because women across the country are oppressed in new and unique ways despite social norms that have virtually eliminated sex discrimination.
Because of the absence of real, widespread discrimination against women, SJWs must create it. Propping up Galentine’s Day as a holiday isn’t about celebrating women, but tearing down men and shoehorning an SJW agenda into existing traditions. For example, HuffPost discussed how to refer to non-binary lovers in 2016. How long until we hear demands that drugstores carry “To My Beloved Bothfriend” cards?
To feed the beasts, women’s media must make overtures to feminist social justice warriors. This includes trashing the Trump women, featuring a plus-size model or celebrity on the cover once a year, and hocking kitschy feminist gear in holiday-gift spreads on “holidays” like Galentine’s Day.
There is no harm in celebrating your lady friends on Galentine’s Day, of course. It’s certainly great for the booming market of wine and “YAAASSSS QWEEN” tchotchkes. It may seem silly to give so much credence to a made-up holiday, but as Andrew Breitbart said, “Politics is downstream from culture.”
Sen. Rand Paul has made Festivus and his airing of grievances an annual holiday we love. If Galentine’s Day does become part of our culture and not just a marketing gimmick, we must insist that celebrating women doesn’t mean bashing men. A future that is only female seems pretty bleak—and short.