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.
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:
I 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.
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.)