Usually, I don’t take much stock in Valentine’s Day. My only complaint is that it is not a holiday I can take off. For the most part I find the day entertaining, as I watch some people buy like it is Christmas in February. The extravagant gifts make me tempted to ask if I could be the person’s girlfriend for at least the month of December. Sometimes I find the day heartwarming, as I remember that there are family and friends in my world who I love dearly. I don’t say “I love you” as much as I should. Valentine’s reminds to do exactly that and extend an encouraging message through an email, phone call, text, or face to face visit. The idea is so simple and easy. I enjoy gifts and chocolates as much as anyone, but there is something special about sharing encouragement with a loved one, the same people who know your bad side and haven’t fled. It makes my heart happy.
However, I almost became a Valentine hater this year. Despite Valentine’s Day being on a Saturday, I was building a vendetta. Why? Four words. Fifty Shades of Grey. It comes out February 13. It is not a subtle ploy. The date is a billboard sign that says “Hello lovers, watch me!”
The moment I found out it was a Valentine’s weekend premiere, I immediately thought, “Are we really going to watch a movie on Valentine’s Day that (beyond the obvious issues) condones an abusive, obsessive relationship?”
We rant and rave on social media about the horror of abusive relationships (especially celebrity ones), but there is silence about a movie that explicitly advocates those relationships. The big excuse is “It is just entertainment.” There is definitely equal or worse content out there. We bob and weave to songs about abusive relationships and women used as play things. There is no outcry over such content. Yet, we talk about women’s rights and discuss what it means to be a feminist.
What is true? Does the media that entertains us really reflect our inner being? Are we really just farces with big, empty ideals, but secretly wish we could get away with such things? Entertainment is the best way of accomplishing that goal, without stepping out of social acceptance. We only watch behind our buttery popcorn and cheesy nachos, and that makes it okay.
Even I am guilty. I say I watch and read for the art, while I excuse some problematic elements as a “necessary evil”. But how can I be so dismissive? I considered this every time I watched the TV teasers for Fifty Shades of Grey. I get riled up, because it so blatant. Even though, I must confess, I got online to watch the first trailer because of curiosity. Or was it more than curiosity? How can I judge or tell people not to watch a movie when I have my hand in the cookie jar?
I believe that Fifty Shades of Grey reflects what some think of love and Valentine’s Day—passion, lust, desire. To some extent, our media is right. Yet, they are talking about the top layers of love. Love is more. I will not say “Don’t watch Fifty Shades of Grey.” Instead I am going to say, go out and do something for someone else. In all this hearty discussion of Fifty Shades of Grey and Valentine’s Day, it made me think about communicating love to others. Deep down inside, most of us have that deep desire to be loved. Why not start the love, no strings attached? No, seriously. We all can’t just sit around waiting for someone to love us or hope the love bug hits as we watch “love” movies.
Love has to start somewhere. Why not have it start with you? I know. I am starting to sound like a Coca-Cola commercial or Dr. Seuss, but their messages are profound so. . . don’t just buy the box the of chocolates, the flowers, the dinner. Say “I love you” and tell the person why. This Valentine’s Day I am going to be telling some special people I love them and why. I might even give away my free Krispy Kreme coupon with one of those little notes of love. Maybe. I just hope I get a box of chocolates. Preferably, dark.