“The Endless Enigma” Salvador Dali 1938
The recently celebrated Valentine’s Day relaunched the embittered comments from the part of the “unsweetened”, “unsugared” women in the ongoing polemics persisting in the society. The discussion is the eternal one about women’s vs men’s roles and duties in a relationship within the framework of the societal norms. First and foremost, St Valentine’s Day is about a Catholic priest who during times of turmoil was defying the regime and circumstances, by secretly marrying young couples according to the religious canons. The heroic deed consisted namely in the impossibility or difficulty of accomplishing the rite at that very moment in those conditions. St Valentine was aiding in a sense (becoming an accomplice) of the men who were imprisoned in order to legitimize, bless religiously a relationship between an imprisoned man and his woman. He, as it turns out was giving up, sacrificing a bit from his purity, from the sanctity of the ritual, which is supposed to take place in a God’s blessed place – in a Church, sinning so as to exalt and give benediction to the enamored union.
The holiday had been embosomed by the modern society everywhere regardless of religious or cultural traditions. The red roses, chocolates, and cute swift fluffy red heart toys have been adopted in everyone’s life, be it in real material form or in the virtual space. Moreover it has extended its meaning from a holiday celebrating (forbidden) love between a man and a woman to celebrating respect and admiration between colleagues, reverence for parents, founding for our children. All the nations and traditions have adopted the beautiful nod to the most dignified human feeling. The dissenters would motivate their frown by pointing to its origins; besides that this is a globalization fad, an opportunity for commercialization with everyone engaging in shopping errands and unjustified expenses, and on the other side the catering businesses: the restaurants and entertainment industry – scooping nice revenues on the occasion.
The defense for the wonderful holiday should at all costs annex the argument which the science of psychology invokes that even if a smile is artificial, pointless, by merely sketching it on our face would trigger the well-being hormones in us and project contagiously the happiness in our interlocutors. A good occasion to become a little happier, thus, by sharing kindness, by caring about and for others, by not being selfish and arrogant and excessively emancipated so as to disdain and disregard with contempt the lucky revelers. The argument that I constantly bring forward is, after all, St Valentine’s Day is another good chance to be lenient and indulgent, human by contrast to the other holiday from the repertoire of the modern world clubbing tradition such as the Halloween. That late fall carnival is of pagan source and bows to the dead revenants embodied by evil spirits. The grotesquely looking carved pumpkins become phantomic heads and the candle light that creeps through the gaped mouths and eyes orbits is chilling-creepy not enlightening. Those tricked candies could treat us undoubtedly, but quench less our thirst of affinity, for reaffirmed relationships.
The ultraliberal women would claim that those little signs of attention would be superfluous, meaningless on a single day; they would like more equality in choice and chances, competing for posts and equal remuneration, with unrestrained freedom with much time dedicated to themselves and their pet pastimes wrapped with the respect for the nice reverie which is their little character and identity. They insist on feeling loved and adulated in everyday life, with men being strong providers but also not excluding themselves from engaging in performing the necessary routine activities about the household. Conforming to norms which they call stereotypes and prejudices is wrong is offensive for the little capricious amazonians racing like men but WANTING to be treated as genteel and fragile flowers in need of constant care and attention.
Promoting for oneself a correct attitude would help enormously. Let us start with the exercise that the conformity scale starts from the strong negative aspect of it called obedience which is blind and blunt followed by its close kin the submission and compliance which all have a negative social influence by being imposed having the element of coercion. On the positive side of conformity we detect the communal sensitivity, responsiveness, cooperative team play, acceptance. The acceptance comes in the personal immediate circle and societal rules and norms which we do comprehend and accept then we comply without feeling coerced and unhappy.
Adopting the good traditions that come from external sources from the OTHERS is the privilege of the civilized society, taming the beast from our character and breaking with the burdening rusty rut from our lot must be a prerogative.
St Valentine’s Day should not be trivialized either, (the banal red balloons in the shape of hearts), nor enforced brutally; the red colour is associated with happiness not with blood. The recent outrageous cases of honour killings that surfaced, with 4 Muslim women who had been savagely raped by some wild terrorists and afterwards, cynically enough had been convicted accused of adultery and condemned to the capital punishment by the medieval times barbaric regime where women have no face or voice.
Those rebelled, “successful”, financially “independent” women yearning for unlimited freedom would do better to behave as they preach and visit oftener the rubric of condescendence, attention and acceptance so as to fit perfectly into an adaptable, malleable micro-society, merely a patch of the striving column, pardon, the backbone of the multicolored planet.