Some people may mistakenly believe that Galentines is just an excuse for sad girls to congregate with copious amounts of wine and chocolate and cry about their lack of romantic partners. This assumption is completely unfounded. Although it is only natural for us all to have those Bridget Jones moments, Galentines day is neither the time or the place to get melancholic. In fact Galentines is a day of celebration! It’s a day where women across the world appreciate those friends who’ve stuck with them through thick and thin. Like Valentines day, there’s no real set way to celebrate: some may take cues from Leslie Knope in Parks in Recreation, and go for brunch, whilst others may choose a more relaxed sofa day completely with cheesy Tom Hanks rom-coms and chocolate oranges. Last year for example, my friends and I decided to celebrate the joys of female friendship by treating ourselves to makeovers at MAC and tickets to Varsity. A little indulgence is key. And retailers seem to have capitalised on this.
Galentines day is neither the time or the place to get melancholic
Valentines has always been a massively commercial holiday, with shops selling everything from plushie hearts to novelty fridge magnets, raking in the money as they go. And as Galentines has become more popular, it seems to be going the same way. Beforehand it was something more subversive, only acknowledged by fans of Park and Rec and those trying to find a platonic alternative to the manufactured romance that Valentine’s day propagates. And although it’s not as massive as Valentine’s day, bubble-gum pink, “no boys allowed” themed merchandise has been rolled out online and in stores everywhere. It’s been manipulated into something nobody celebrating it really wants.
this embrace of feminism by retailers seems just that: Superficial
This commercialisation seems like a continuation of the “faux-feminism” trend which hit stores soon after stars like Beyonce and Emma Watson became vocal advocates of the movement. We suddenly saw slogan tees with bold statements about gender equality populating clothing stores, which superficially looked like mainstream society was engaging in important discussion of equal rights. But this embrace of feminism by retailers seems just that. Superficial. Topshop, for example, was and is one of the main manufacturers of supposedly feminist merchandise on the high street. Yet the company refused to practice what it preached when their decision to dismantle a planned pop-up dedicated to book Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (and other lies) shocked and disappointed the public in October. Since then of course, Sir Philip Green, Topshop’s CEO, has been revealed as the powerful businessman at the centre of multiple sexual assault allegations.
Although Topshop is the extreme example of this corporate two-facedness, such attitudes can be much more insidious. Look at the proportion of women at high level positions in the companies you buy from, and reconsider whether buying those feminist, galentines themed party plates is worth it.
Galentines is being transformed into a holiday dedicated to manipulating women
Galentines is being transformed into a holiday dedicated to manipulating women into spending more money in the name of feminism. Like with many other holidays, we’ve all been duped into thinking that the appropriate way to celebrate love and friendship is through purchases. And whilst this is perfectly valid in moderation when the companies you buy from are ethical, which is extremely rare, I for one appreciate the time spent with my nearest and dearest rather than the money spent.