Created in the most consumerist fashion, the celebration of female friendships that is Galentine’s Day comes from the second season of Parks and Recreation in which Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) explains it as ‘the best day of the year. Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies’.
It sounds great in theory, but in all honesty, I just don’t know what to make of it. Sure, the show has given us the hero that is Ron Swanson, some incredible gifs, and let’s not forget the rise of Chris Pratt, but I don’t think we need to add a holiday to that list.
Stealing another pointless holiday (you’ve got to admit Valentine’s is a pretty pointless holiday) from something as consumer-driven as a tv show is somewhat baffling to me. Valentine’s Day already provides UK retailers with an extra £650 million, do we really need to double that over the two days period?
Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of a day to celebrate my friendships – a day spent hanging out and having fun with my friends is an ideal situation as far as I’m concerned – but I feel that this would perhaps be better suited to a day that is special to us as friends. In having a day forced upon me to celebrate my friends intrinsically makes it less of a celebration; I wouldn’t be doing it because I wanted to but because I felt that I should.
But I think the biggest hole in this is that the majority of my friends are guys. I love my female friends, and I’d be completely lost without them, but I’d feel weird having a day just to celebrate them specifically. I’m all for boosting female friendship and women empowerment, but I don’t want to do that if we aren’t also celebrating male friendships, which we do not do nearly well enough. This does not help with the intense toxicity we are seeing as a part of masculine culture today and excludes men from what could be a really brilliant celebration. If we are going to really get on board with this whole platonic celebration, we need to make it a celebration of friendship as a whole, not specific friendships.
In fact, I think that would actually be a much better idea – when is international friends day, eh? Many cultures have mothers’ and fathers’ days, but in Western society, we are sorely lacking in a space to celebrate friendships as one of life’s greatest joys. I love the message that Leslie is trying to put across here, but I also think that all friendships are worth celebrating.