Special to the Daily Californian

Valentine’s Day, more than any other holiday, elicits a wide variety of reactions. There is what you might call the “Love Actually” crowd. We all know the type. On Feb. 15th they start planning “girl’s night” festivities for the next Valentine’s Day. Important decisions need to be made, so many Hugh Grant movies, so little time. Then, there’s the cynical “Hallmark Holiday” crowd. A day of romance? Hogwash! More like Single People’s Awareness Day contrived by corporate America.

And the debate goes on. But in recent years, something has changed. Valentine’s Day has all but disappeared from college campuses, having been hijacked by “radical feminists”. Regardless of whether you love or love to hate Valentine’s Day, you should be concerned with what’s happening.

Gone are the days of candle-lit dinners, decorated shoeboxes full of Valentines and conversation hearts. Feb.14th isn’t Valentine’s Day; it’s now “V-Day-Violence Against Women Day” a time to raise awareness of the horrible things like rape, violence and emotional abuse that happen in a small percentage of relationships. That’s a noble goal to be sure. But it makes it awkward for anyone to criticize anything that they do in the name of V-Day. After all, who wants to question a group that aims to end violence against women?

But V-Day isn’t just about ending violence against women. It’s something else. V-Day is a day to celebrate “Vagina Warriors.” V-Day is a day to “be” your vagina. And it has usurped Valentine’s Day-a day that was originally intended to celebrate love and relationships-which college campuses need today more than ever.

By choosing Valentine’s Day as a day to speak out against violence against women, the V-Day champions imply a correlation or causation between violence and relationships, as if all relationships were ticking time bombs of oppression and abuse. It’s a misconception commonly propagated in women’s studies class.

To glimpse the anti-male message in V-Day, one need look no further than the centerpiece of the “holiday”, “The Vagina Monologues.” All of the men featured in the play are rapists, abusive, violent, or otherwise despicable characters. All, but one, actually. Bob is a “positive” male figure in the play. Bob’s redeeming quality is that he likes to stare at vaginas. Bob is hardly a positive male role model.

The play isn’t much better for women. The play repeatedly treats women as sex objects who can only find empowerment by “embracing” their vaginas. The play glorifies promiscuity and encourages women to discover themselves through sexual acts. Never mind the fact that women are more vulnerable to the dangers of casual sex, including sexually transmitted infections and emotional distress.

In one memorable scene, an older woman, 24, provides alcohol for a young girl (originally age 13, later changed to 16) and seduces her. The younger girl finds empowerment through the statutory rape. Other scenes are far more vulgar, with women shouting “cunt” on stage, over and over again, as if shouting vulgarities is a way for women to gain respect and equality.

These kinds of actions have essentially turned a once romantic holiday into a celebration of vulgarity and promiscuity. The message is clear: Men are the enemy; romance is bad.

Luckily, you don’t have to let the this line of thought win. You can take back the date and restore the romance in Valentine’s Day. Take your partner out. Open doors. Buy them flowers. Let people take you out. If you like someone, ask them out yourself. If you’re single, hang out with your friends. Indulge in conversation hearts.

Valentine’s Day isn’t for everyone. But we all benefit from a society that recognizes the importance of romance and mutual respect between the sexes.

Allison Kasic is director of campus programs at the Independent Women’s Forum. Reply to [email protected]