Five years ago I’m not sure I would’ve seen a cute, pink and frilly headband in the Target dollar section that read “GIRLS RULE.”
And five years ago I definitely wouldn’t have imagined that on Feb. 13 I’d be decking out my tiny college house in all the pink and red my roommates and I could afford with one simple goal: celebrating every cool girl we knew.
For decades, the idea that Valentine’s Day is a holiday to dread if you’re single has been pushed on women from many directions. And if you’re not single, you better have one insanely romantic night planned, otherwise your relationship may not make it to the next overhyped holiday.
Time and time again our favorite sitcoms and magazines have not only reminded single people that Valentine’s Day will be brutal, but offered not really helpful and kind of odd solace using articles headlined “How To Celebrate Valentine’s Day By Yourself When You’re Single & Have No Plans” and Valentine’s television specials that depict unrealistic, hyper-romantic plotlines that leave singles crying on their couches into the chocolate they felt pressured into buying themselves.
In 2010, however, women started celebrating women. Amy Poehler and her NBC sitcom “Parks and Recreation” changed the game for the better.
Leslie Knope, a fictional character who is known for being hyperbolically generous, caring, kind and into breakfast foods, decided a holiday was missing. One on which she could celebrate the simple gift of female friendship, preferably with a boozy brunch.
And with that one television episode, Galentine’s Day was born.
If you don’t believe me that the show you binged on Netflix bore the holiday that encourages you to get drunk with your friends on a Thursday instead of crying at the love between SOME ROM COM, I didn’t believe it either.
But It’s not unusual for sitcoms to provide American society with knockoff holidays that allow us to feel better about ourselves.
While the cast of “Friends” may not have coined the term themselves, Friendsgiving originated from our six favorite New York City friends eating turkey and toasting to “a lousy Christmas and a crappy New Year.”
Need more? Do some light research into “How I Met Your Mother” and the origins of Slapsgiving, or “Seinfeld’s” generous contribution of Festivus.
However, something has set Galentine’s Day apart from other sitcom-produced holidays.
The cause that lies at the root of it runs deeper and resonates with more people than ever, especially in the women-empowering era we are fortunate to be living in.
Women are awesome, and we too often forget it.
We especially forget it during a month where we’re told we’re just a tad bit better if we have a man to buy us flowers and take us to dinner.
So, “Parks and Rec” evened the playing field. They told women that a man didn’t make you better; a relationship didn’t make you better.
Rather, it’s the friendships with other dope women you have that make you just that tad bit better. This message that Galentine’s Day sends to women growing up in 2019, and women simply existing in 2019, cannot be praised highly enough.
You see, it’s the first step of a cycle.
Step 1: women are reminded early and often to praise the other women in their lives.
Step 2: They will remember to value those women, along with the friendship they provide.
Step 3: This will lead to women highlighting this friendship more, valuing it over more toxic relationships.
Step 4: Women will be more empowered due to the strong women they surround themselves with.
Step 5: These empowered women empower other women.
Step 6: Repeat.
If I could personally thank Poehler and the writers of “Parks and Rec” for creating this holiday, I would a thousand times over. But because I can’t do that, I will thank them the same way I recommend you do: celebrate the smart, beautiful, empowered women in your life this week anyway you know how and make it a Galentine’s Day you won’t forget (a boozy brunch is optional).