It’s like Lilith Fair. Minus the angst. Plus frittatas.

Valentine’s Day could be the most contentious holiday on the calendar. Most holidays enjoy a tepid scale from ‘like’ to ‘obligated’ to ‘don’t care.’ But Valentine’s day (or, ‘V.D’ as I shall from now on refer to it) provokes intense reactions from people of all walks of life. No matter what your religious/cultural/political stance, odds are pretty good that you either LOVE it or HATE it.

As a kid, I loved the holiday- cinnamon gummy hearts? I get to wear EVERYTHING pink? There are balloons in the living room for NO REASON? All wins! At a certain point, however, I began to see everything that was ‘wrong’ with the holiday and found myself approaching each February 14th with dread. Coincidentally, this was during those magical, quasi-goth-wannabe-alternative preteen/teen years where my greatest aspiration was to be EDGY and COOL and to give ZERO fucks.

As seen here, circa 2002.

As seen here, circa 2002.

At some point during college I accepted that I will always be irrepressibly optimistic and happy and that dorkiness was not only in my personality, it was in my very genes. It was then that I abandoned my attempts at ‘cool’ and took up the banner to combat the rampant haterism and ironic apathy that seem to be making the rest of my generation fairly miserable.
Part of this Mission of Sincerity was reexamining my feelings towards V.D.  Now that I’m old enough to hold two contradictory opinions at once I can acknowledge that yes, on some levels Valentine’s Day is kind of terrible, but, as it’s unlikely to go away anytime soon, we might as well look for and celebrate the parts of it that aren’t terrible.
To illustrate my point, I’ve made the following Venn diagram:
vday_diagramI also find that around this time of the year, I am in desperate need of some hi-fun/low-risk art projects. And at any time of the year, I am always in need of some new historical heroines. Last year I set myself to creating valentine’s celebrating awesome contemporary women artists. It was so much fun, that that I decided this year to make it an annual tradition. This year’s theme was ‘Suffragettes of America!’ Chosen purely because the suffragette song from Mary Poppins was stuck in my head, it actually turns out to be fairly pertinent, as Feb. 15th is Susan B. Anthony’s birthday!
So whether you’re looking for a belated Valentine’s day card or a note to cheer up a friend imprisoned for trying to vote, feel free to print these out and pass them on! Click on the images below to learn more about each woman.

This badass lady gave 75 to 100 speeches a year during her prime. When fined $100 for voting in the 1872 election, Anthony refused to pay any of it. She said so during her trial, with a speech so stirring that the US Government never enforced or tried to collect the fine- they were too embarrassed. BAM.

This badass lady gave 75 to 100 speeches a year during her prime. When fined $100 for voting in the 1872 election, Anthony refused to pay any of it. She said so during her trial, with a speech so stirring that the US Government never enforced or tried to collect the fine- they were too embarrassed. BAM.

Born into slavery, Sojourner Truth went on to become a famous abolitionist and women's rights activist. Her most famous speech 'Ain't I a Woman?' was delivered right here in Ohio!

Born into slavery, Sojourner Truth went on to become a famous abolitionist and women’s rights activist. Her most famous speech ‘Ain’t I a Woman?’ was delivered right here in Ohio!

Who says feminists have to be women? Among his many causes, Max Eastman helped found the Men's League for Women's Suffrage in 1910. Hawt.

Who says feminists have to be women? Among his many causes, Max Eastman helped found the Men’s League for Women’s Suffrage in 1910. Hawt.

galentines_MaudPark

As the youngest person at the 1900 National American Women Suffrage Association convention (at 29), Maud realized the movement needed more young supporters. She subsequently began touring colleges looking for student support. Gotta love a lady who recognizes the power of youth.

As a nurse working in the slums on NYC's East Side, Sanger saw firsthand the havoc that unplanned/forced pregnancy could wreak on girls and women and fought to legalize birth control, end unsafe abortions, provide sex education and just, in general, give women control over their own bodies. In the 1920's. BAM.

As a nurse working in the slums on NYC’s East Side, Sanger saw firsthand the havoc that unplanned/forced pregnancy could wreak on girls and women and fought to legalize birth control, end unsafe abortions, provide sex education and just, in general, give women control over their own bodies. In the 1920′s. BAM.

An all around Progressive reformer, Madge was the Vice President of the National Women's suffrage association, President of the Kentucky Equal Rights Association and, along with her husband (editor of the Lexington Herald) used their position to promote Progressive political and social causes. Now that's what I call a power couple.

An all around Progressive reformer, Madge was the Vice President of the National Women’s suffrage association, President of the Kentucky Equal Rights Association and, along with her husband (editor of the Lexington Herald) used their position to promote Progressive political and social causes. Now that’s what I call a power couple.

Long before Angelina Jolie, Izetta Jewel used her position and fame as a stage actress to champion political change. At the 1924 Democratic Convention Izetta became the first woman to address an American political party convention.

Long before Angelina Jolie, Izetta Jewel used her position and fame as a stage actress to champion political change. At the 1924 Democratic Convention Izetta became the first woman to address an American political party convention.

Ida B. Wells could be my new hero. Journalist, newspaper editor, sociologist, early leader in the Civil Rights movement. This hardcore lady, a former slave, risked her life to  document lynchings after three of her own friends were lynched.

Ida B. Wells could be my new hero. Journalist, newspaper editor, sociologist, early leader in the Civil Rights movement. This hardcore lady, a former slave, risked her life to document lynchings after three of her own friends were lynched.

Another journalist, Emma Bugbee covered the Suffrage movement, nicluding the famous Suffrage hike.

Another journalist, Emma Bugbee covered the Suffrage movement, including the famous Suffrage hike.

Happy Galentine’s Day everyone!

(note: these are but a small sample of the kinds of brave ladies that fought for our right to vote. They were chosen purely for the ease with which I could make puns out of their names. Check out this article for a more complete picture of the nearly 100 years struggle for suffrage.)

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