Better than Valentine's Day: Three things to celebrate instead!
In case you haven't heard, today is Valentine's Day. Valentine's Day isn't really a Jewish holiday, but since it's a "Hallmark holiday," it's for everyone. Lucky you!
While some folks enjoy Valentine's Day (all the power to them!), many do not. As Jill of Feministe reminds us, many people like to project all their insecurities and issues onto Valentine's Day. Of course, it's easy to understand why this happens -- thanks to the barrage of messages about love and cuteness on display.
If you need a break from Valentine's Day, here's a list of three things that are much better than Valentine's Day to celebrate this week.
1. Eve Ensler's V-Day.
Eve Ensler, featured in Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution, created V-Day to address a number of global issues including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation, and sexual slavery. The money raised from V-Day events is distributed to anti-violence organizations around the world. Since its inception in 1998, V-Day has raised more than $50 million. To learn more about V-Day, check out Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution, "Well Behaved Vaginas Rarely Make History," and This Week in History: Vagina Monologues Performed at Madison Square Gardens. Or, visit the official V-Day website!
2. The 86th anniversary of Florence Prag Kahn's election to Congress.
Florence Prag Kahn was the fifth woman, and first Jewish woman, elected to Congress. She was the wife of Julius Kahn, a U.S. Representative from San Francisco. When he died, she ran in a special election and won! She was reelected five times, serving until 1937. Learn more about her in Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. For lighter reading, check out this blog post: "Our First Jewish Congresswoman."
Betty Freidan's seminal work is credited with sparking the modern feminist movement. You can learn more about Betty Freidan in Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia and We Remember, or check out the new book, A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s by Stephanie Coontz. It's been getting lots of press. I really enjoyed this interview with Coontz on NPR.
Did that help take your mind off Valentine's Day? Even for a moment? I hope so. But even if it didn't, it's ok. As Jill of Feministe wrote, "It’s just a day. We’re all going to be fine."