Campus cupids crush Valentine’s Day norms

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The cool wind pounded against the thighs of two half-naked best friends as they ran through campus. Cupid wings and 160 Valentine’s Day cards accompanied them on their journey to spread love on Chico State’s campus.

Tony Munoz, senior microbiology major, and Steven Huff, senior math major, reminisced about last year’s escapade and how they challenged the norm of what a stereotypical man should do on Valentine’s Day.

“I haven’t had a valentine in three years,” Munoz said. “So instead of picking one person to show love to, I decided to show love to everybody.”

Sarah Sullivan, senior health science major and director of the Gender and Sexuality Equity Center, thinks Valentine’s Day turns into a competition revolving around consumerism and stereotypical gender norms and social roles, she said.

In most stores, all of the Valentine’s Day gifts target women, she said, with items like flowers, teddy bears and chocolate for sale.

“There aren’t many (if any) aisles in the store geared toward men,” Sullivan said. “If a man were to show interest in receiving the stereotypical feminine gifts, his masculinity would be put into question, which is problematic in itself.”

Munoz and Huff both agree that Valentine’s Day should be for everyone.

For some, Feb. 14 is the day people take the opportunity to show love and appreciation to their crush, significant other or, for Munoz and Huff, the entire campus of Chico State.

When Munoz came up with the idea he knew he could not do it alone, so he turned to his partner in crime, Huff.

“When he asked me, I thought he was joking,” Huff said. “I was down. So we stayed up the night before and got prepared.”

Huff scanned and printed a doodle of wings he made in class. The men purchased “kiss me” boxers and pink tank tops to wear during their escapade. After filling out 160 cards individually, they were ready to start their adventure the next day.

They hit every spot on campus by sprinting through the Bell Memorial Union, food courts and all the offices. They received free food and sweets, he said.

“It was so fun,” Huff said. “I figured people would be accepting here more than from my hometown, Lodi. Two men dressed up in pink and with wings would not have been their idea of Valentine’s Day.”

However, society’s view of Valentine’s Day did not stop Munoz and Huff from going around and giving people heart stamps and cards to faculty and students on campus.

“I got nervous at first,” Huff said. “But as I started walking out I got hyped. People loved it and we stamped them with ‘Can I kiss you?’ stamps.”

While running around campus they found a booth tabling for the center’s annual showing of Eve Ensler’s award-winning play, “The Vagina Monologues.”

Once they saw the woman in a vulva costume, they immediately stopped and asked for a picture.

The play brings awareness to many different experiences that people with vaginas and people who identify as women go through — both positive and negative, Sullivan said.

Sullivan advises students to not spend money on unnecessary or expensive gifts, but instead to go buy tickets to see the show. All of the profits of the show benefit local organizations working to end violence against women and girls.

Along with The Vagina Monologues, this Valentine’s Day, Huff and Munoz again plan to descend on the campus on Friday. They had so much fun last year, and they plan to make an even more epic performance, Munoz said.

“Friday at 12 o’clock,” Munoz said. “It’ll be the busiest time. We are going to do it live.”

Huff does not plan to be timid this year. He plans on having different stamps and better outfits this time around.

“Have no fear,” Huff said. “Love is here.”

DJ Morris can be reached at [email protected] or @djthejournalist on Twitter.