It's Steak and BJ Day! Should We Be Offended By That?
Anne FishbeinA nice, fat, thick, juicy beefsteak -- perfect for celebrating gender equality!
The increasingly infamous "Steak & BJ Day" doesn't require a whole lot of explaining. "Invented" by a Tom Birdsey (whose online presence seems to be limited to this Myspace profile), the idea behind the celebration is simple. Very simple. Conceived (however poorly) as the man's version of Valentine's Day, the holiday is described on one of two supposedly official (and NSFW) websites as such:
Over the years, Valentine's Day has become a commercial holiday for women. On February 14, intimate couples celebrate their love with candy, flowers, greeting cards, and other gifts of affection. Men do not want candy. Men have no need for flowers or teddy bears. There are two things men want: steak and a blow job.
While this may indeed be true, I have to take issue with the idea that Valentine's Day is a girly holiday that only dainty little ladies enjoy.
The actual story of how Valentine's Day got started goes (more or less) like this: More than 2,000 years ago, the Roman Emperor Claudius outlawed marriage for his soldiers because he thought they could fight better if they didn't have families. Then Saint Valentine decided he would illegally marry people anyway. These illegally married people would then go to prison for having defied the emperor and on occasion, the husbands would have their hearts physically cut out of their bodies, which would then be delivered, still bloody, to the cells of their terrified wives. And that is how the whole "sending hearts" tradition originated. So yeah. THAT happened.
The transition from this gruesome reality to the frilly, feminine smooch-fest we now face each February got started in the Middle Ages, with knights courting their ladies fair. From there on out, the holiday became focused on romantic love - until the early 19th century, when it blossomed into a boon for the greeting card industry that eventually left our culture with the admittedly annoying hullabaloo of inflated expectations that is modern Valentine's Day. And that is theoretically where the whole concept of an antidote to this manufactured set-up for heartbreak arose.
The problem with Steak & BJ Day, however, is not so much in the Anti-Valentine's Day sentiment it presents as in the not-so-tongue-in-cheek way that it suggests women should be obligated to cook and perform fellatio to make their men feel "special."
Lois Banner, a professor of history at USC and the author of Women in Modern America: A Brief History told us in an interview:
"This [holiday] sounds like another part of the backlash against the feminist movement... this sort of reaction has happened a number of times in the last 100 years. What we are moving toward in this culture is a very gross version of human interaction. This is part of the hook-up culture. Most of my female students hate it, because they feel it is enforced by men."
And maybe some men are in fact trying to reinforce the idea of male dominance in a world that is, however slowly, becoming increasingly equal for all genders.
Banner adds, "I think that men are really frightened because women are outperforming them in college, becoming equal admits to law, business, and most professional schools... Remember what happened after World War II, when women entered the work force in large numbers."
Of course, after World War II, there was this little thing we like to call the sexual revolution, and without the sexual revolution, you can sure as hell bet there would be no Steak & BJ day either. So if you and your partner want to celebrate Steak & BJ Day, then seriously... more power to you! If you must, go all out and celebrate Steak & BJ Day in your own way. After all, L.A. does have an excellent selection of steakhouses. And vegan restaurants. And pretty much every kind of delicious cuisine you could possibly imagine.
So don't limit yourself! Are you a gay man, a lesbian or transgender? Go ahead and celebrate Steak & BJ Day if you want! Vegan? Get a tofu steak! Think the whole idea is just appallingly offensive? Right there with ya! Whatever you do on March 14th, just don't get your partner any sweet heart-shaped candy or sappy flowers...
Because maybe real love is not supposed to be all sappy and sweet -- maybe it should be visceral and meaty and make you feel like a Roman soldier getting his heart ripped out. But whether you want to participate is, thankfully, still totally up to you.
Will you or would you celebrate Steak & BJ Day? Let us hear from you in the comments...
Get the Arts Newsletter
Get the latest news and offers from the LA art scene sent directly to your email address. Exclusive events and art related sales you won't hear about anywhere else!