Valentine’s Day or V-Day?
Sunday, Feb 13, 2011 9:10 pm
Valentine’s Day or V-Day?
I could go on a rant about how ridiculous I find Valentine’s Day.
How commercial and capitalist it is, how it only promotes relationships which are heterosexual and monogamous, how it puts pressure on people in a relationship and depresses those who are not.
But there is an alternative to the commercial Valentine’s Day which is generally ignored.
V-Day was started by Eve Ensler, author of ‘The Vagina Monologues’. Her play, a celebration of female sexuality, inspired the grassroots movement V-Day in 1998 when the play opened at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom Theatre.
Despite being sold out, hundreds of people queued outside, trying to get in to see it. The reactions of the women who saw the play and approached Ensler with their own stories created a momentum all its own.
The V-Day movement, as it became known, aims to ‘increase awareness, raise money and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations.
V-Day generates broader attention in the fight to stop violence against women and girls, including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM) and sex slavery.
Twelve years on, and the play has inspired countless numbers of women to raise money to stop global violence against women.
The V-Day website confirms that in 2010 alone, ‘over 5,400 V-Day benefit events took place in 1,800 locations, including all 50 U.S. states and 55 countries. That is 400 more communities than were reached as recently as 2009.’
While Hallmark cards tries to persuade couples to spend their well-earned money on helium heart balloons, pink laptops (!) and chocolates, let’s spare a thought for the women around the world who face horrific accounts of violence on a daily basis simply because they’re women.
I for one will not be giving any money to the monster that is Hallmark and society’s ideas of romance. Instead, I will put money where it matters.
This Valentine’s Day, I will be telling people about the meaning of V-Day.
Will you?
By Meg Kissack
WVoN co-editor