February 14 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

Charlotte Hays

Happy Valentine’s Day!

This Valentine’s Day we have some bad news for hook-up culture: young people on campus still yearn to bring back romance and dating. They want something more than the hook-up culture and vulgarity and exploitive sexpectations too many people associate with Valentine’s Day.  

Those are some of my takeaways from this lovely video (“Valentine’s Day and Dating on College Campus”) my IWF colleagues have put together to celebrate the holiday.  They talked to young people on campus and asked them about the hook-up culture, dating, and what they will be doing this evening. The news, overall, is very good.

The “Vagina Monologues” will still be performed on many campuses today, and many young people will thereby be encouraged to think of today not as Valentine's Day but as V-Day. No, this trend is not as dead as we’d like it to be, and yes it still affects the way many young women on campus think and act. But IWF’s video shows a generation that is coming out of that woeful era of vulgarity and bitterness and questioning those values. One young lady even speaks fondly of chivalry! Please look at the video.

I would like to say this Valentine’s Day that, if there is a “War on Women,” it’s the vulgarity and dehumanization wrought by the V-Day crowd. The Obama campaign’s demeaning “Vote Your Lady Parts” injunction was, when you get right down to it, a war on women. It was demeaning and like the "Vagina Monologues" reduces women not only to anatomy but to one part of the anatomy. It represents both a coarsening of society and a a minimalist way of looking at women.  

Sandra Fluke thinks that what you women need is free contraception—but the young ladies (and, indeed, young men) on this video want a little romance. I also detected a desire for friendship between the sexes, which is only likely when half society isn't convinced that the other half is out to exploit it.

As the IWF in-house historian, please indulge me: At the height of the “Vagina Monologues” fever, we used to do a “Free Cupid” campaign to celebrate Valentine’s Day. We had a drawing of Cupid with a ball and chain in front of a theater where the “Vagina Monologues” was playing. I am delighted to report that Cupid seems to have survived the V-Day culture.

Sure, there were some kids on the video who still suffer from the depredations of the V-Day culture, but the astonishing news is how fresh and nice many of them are—and how that little fellow with the bow and arow is staging a comeback, despite years of a profoundly hostile environment on campus.

So here is what I wish young women (and even not-so- young- women) on Valentine’s Day: the company of somebody special who, whether a romantic interest or a just-friends type, treats you with the dignity women deserve. And a box of chocolates or dinner, if the budget permits, wouldn’t come amiss.

Just ‘cause I love it, here is my favorite Valentine’s Day poem. It’s not specifically about Valentine’s Day but it’s about something that is far more important than  sexpectations!

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