Msnowe's Blog

A Valentine’s Day Dedication

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on February 14, 2011

Today, M.snowe reflects on Valentine’s Day. V-Day celebrations were said to have started in Ancient Rome, although “pagan” festivals of love and fertility (like Lupercalia) were happening way before that anyway. Let’s face it–Valentine’s is now a day where men are expected to get their ladies (if they have one) a present, and be extra loving to them in showy ways that women are supposed to expect, and brag about (not that you all don’t notice that already). M.snowe witnessed a scene of two desperate males shopping for Valentine’s gifts–walking what seemed to be an endless desert lined with pink and red-hued shop windows, slowly, resolving to reward their efforts with beer afterword. Whatever. And M.snowe doesn’t care if you’re single and hate Valentine’s, or if you’re single and you love Valentine’s, or you’re single and indifferent. Or, if you’re alternatively attached and love, hate, or don’t care about it either. But regardless, consumer culture tells us  Valentine’s is a holiday where women are supposed to sit back and get excited and pampered, and men are supposed to provide something for them, with maybe only the hope of a steak and a BJ in return (not to mention the heavy-handed reinforcement of “traditional” modes of love).

It is days and celebrations like these that further propagate the idea that women cannot do anything without the support of a man, and that the man must take the lead in all situations. Valentine’s is just a simple reminder that men must provide–society expects it. Fuck that shit. In honor of fucking that shit, let’s take a moment to honor a forgotten Valentine, Emily Warren Roebling, who in her own day did the providing, and got next to no recognition for it.

M.snowe went with two American History buffs to the Brooklyn Bridge this weekend. Upon making our first steps across the bridge, they started to swap info on what they knew about its historic construction. Both agreed that it was designed and begun by a civil war veteran, John Roebling, and then after his death, his son took over. M.snowe knew nothing of the history of the bridge, except that is was complete in 1883. When the plaques on the first tower were consulted, we realized that Emily, wife of the son, was truly the one to complete the bridge–as her husband was paralyzed and bed-ridden, and she was well-versed enough in mathematics and engineering to finish the plans. Neither of my history buff friends knew about Emily. Although she is given some credit, the plague reads:

Um, exsqueeze me? I believe her “faith and courage” (not to mention sheer ingenuity) helped HER complete the bridge. She was not a muse here–she was in the thick of it, going to the site and instructing the workers.

Oh, of course, “Back of every great work we can find the self-sacrificing devotion of a woman.” [Sigh]

So, M.snowe says to you, her Valentines, don’t be happy with the back of a great work–be devoted, be sacrificing, if you choose, but build your own bridges, as you may.

p.s. Think I exaggerate? M.snowe heard this weekend about a speaker at a leadership conference who un-ironically referred to his wife’s study towards an “MRS” degree. Really?