This article was originally published in The Daily Orange.
When Occupy Wall Street protestors were evicted from Zuccotti Park overnight November 15, the social movement was forced to shift its focus from a physical presence to a thematic mindset and alternative form of occupation.
This is where the "you can't evict an idea" slogan originally came about, and it's now playing a role in shaping a new uprising against Hallmark's favorite holiday: Valentine's Day.
Occupy Valentine's Day originated on Tumblr courtesy of Samhita Mukhopadhyay, executive editor of Feministing.com and author of "Outdated: Why Dating is Ruining Your Love Life." The Tumlbr blog serves as a space for individuals to express their disdain with all the clichés and problematic ways in which Valentine's Day is celebrated in our culture.
The Tumblr consists of images similar to the original 99 percent movement — men and women are holding signs that articulate their own stories about why they're occupying. Some signs include statements like, "Who needs Valentine's Day when boxed wine and insta-Netflix are already made available 365 days a year?"
I've never been a big fan of Valentine's Day, regardless of my relationship status — not because I don't like candy and not because I don't believe in love. My real problem is the commoditization of love that benefits from capitalist gains and the perpetuation of traditional and limiting gender norms.
After spending countless years in search of alternative ways to celebrate Valentine's Day, I owe Mukhopadhyay a debt of gratitude for spearheading an Occupy Valentine's Day movement. It's the ideal solution for critical thinkers and social change advocates, and it is an especially viable option for college students who may not have the time, cash or belief systems to support a contrived version of romance.
I am occupying Valentine's Day on Feb. 14 because I refuse to participate in a holiday that fails to include a wide variety of individuals who are all capable of love but don't fit the traditional heterosexual expectation and norm reinforced by greeting card companies.
I'm occupying because I value the authenticity of love and the role it plays in my life. Love is deeply rooted in all things and every single emotion — love is even necessary in order to successfully hate.
Click here to read the article in its entirety at the Daily Orange site.