These are the tenants of the most celebrated of holidays: Galentine’s.
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Of course, it doesn’t have to be restricted to gals only. The day is dedicated to those of us who value our platonic relationships for the empowerment they provide and the support they lend. On NBC’s Parks and Recreation, Amy Poehler’s character, Leslie Knope, advocates for its status as a national holiday. Clearly, it’s important, and here’s why:
Too often, in our heteronormative, male-centric world, the relationships that exist among women are overlooked or skewed. They’re viewed as supplementary to or less fulfilling than our relationships with our heterosexual romantic partners. The devaluation of these relationships can take a toll, sometimes subtle, but nevertheless prevalent in cultural media: pop stars battling it out over a boy, women calling each other out on their looks, etc. While these instances tend to occur in the realm of social media or celebrity circles, they are still harmful because they reproduce and subconsciously send the message that female friends exist on the surface level only. I cannot speak for all women when I say these instances are not characteristic of my own friendships, but I would hope the same is true for most women. In fact, I’m never more inspired or generous than when I’m surrounded by my female-identified friends sharing stories and struggles.
These are the moments that Galentine’s Day emphasizes and upholds by setting aside time during a season focused primarily on heterosexual partnerships to really consider how beautiful the women in our lives are. More specifically, I do this by hosting an annual Galentine’s Day get-together with those I’m closest to (and chocolate–lots of chocolate). It’s a night I can spend reaffirming the power these relationships have in my life and the thankfulness I feel toward a group of people who reflect all the values I admire and aspire to one day possess.
That’s what Galentine’s is all about: reflection. Come this Thursday, February 13, when I glance around the room filled with my lovely female friends, slightly tipsy on dessert, I will behold their intelligence, wit and graciousness, and understand that these are traits I possess too — if only because I see them in my friends every day. And for that, I’m most grateful.
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