I have reservations about presenting gifts on International Women’s Day

By Nguyen Nam   March 7, 2024 | 06:38 pm PT
While I am friendly and upbeat, I do not partake in the tradition of gifting flowers or presents to the significant women in my life on March 8, recognized globally as International Women’s Day.

As a 24-year-old man employed at a leading technology firm in Hanoi, I want to assert that my reluctance is not due to stinginess. I consistently show my appreciation for my grandmother, mother, and girlfriend with gifts on the occasions of business trips or when traveling extensively. My aversion is not rooted in financial constraints or a lack of chivalry, rather, I simply do not place a premium on International Women’s Day, largely because its meaning eludes me.

It’s often argued that this day serves to acknowledge and make amends for the societal inequalities and challenges faced by women. However, I see the matter differently for several key reasons.

To begin with, I believe that expressions of care and esteem should be continuous and not limited to a single day. Presents given on this day tend to symbolize, rather than genuinely convey respect or concern.

Just as a plant will not thrive if tended to only a couple of times a year, the same principle applies to women: their need for love and care is a constant, not something to be scheduled around holidays. Expressing love for them doesn’t hinge on a special occasion, there’s no need to wait for a holiday to give flowers, and sending messages shouldn’t be delayed.

Furthermore, the habit of purchasing flowers and gifts has largely been concocted by sellers to increase their sales. A quick internet search on "Why give flowers and gifts on International Women’s Day" mainly directs you to flower shops and gift retailers. There’s a common expectation among many women for more substantial bouquets and bigger gifts as an indication of love.

But does that really reflect genuine affection? If one truly enjoys giving flowers, they should feel free to do so on any day. While the bouquet might not be in celebration of a major holiday, it is a reflection of the giver’s sentiments, not a purchase made to fend off complaints from women.

Lastly, women are perfectly capable of purchasing anything they desire for themselves. It baffles me why some are disheartened by not receiving flowers or gifts from their boyfriends on this day, to the extent of voicing their discontent on social media, criticizing the men for not gifting them. It’s important to value oneself, cherish self-love, and feel empowered to buy whatever one wishes.

Year after year, I have not given flowers or gifts to any female member of my family on this particular day. My girlfriend, too, does not receive them, yet there have been no grievances. Instead, I make it a point to invite my girlfriend over to my place on this day so that she can join my grandmother, mother, and myself for a meal and enjoyable conversation.

Some friends might argue that my approach lacks romance, but I devote my leisure time to being with her. We often travel together to relish life, and I’m always there to support my girlfriend whenever she’s in need. We may not exchange flowers or gifts, yet our mutual respect and trust remain steadfast every single day.

These are my thoughts on the subject, yet I’m eager to hear others’ perspectives.

What are your views on this issue?

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