February 14th, the “day of love,” or so they say. People are expected to spoil their significant other in a way to show their love. The cliche is going out to dinner and getting them chocolate and flowers. But, it is 2021. Not only is there a pandemic still going on but this holiday is so outdated.
It Is Full of Stereotypes
The holiday is based on heteronormal stereotypes. The man is supposed to ask the woman to be his valentine and along with this, he is expected to pay for dinner and the whole night. I remember in middle school, the student council was selling carnations and it was targeted towards the boys. It was assumed if a boy had a crush on a girl, he would buy her a flower. There were no girls who bought other girls flowers and no boys who bought other boys flowers.
Even at a young age, this holiday is pushed on us. Catie Pusateri, a junior Kent State student, recalls a memory from elementary school, “I remember it was always the little boys had to get valentines or Valentine’s Day gifts for the girls and that’s just how it was. Nobody had to, but it was expected that the boys would get a candy or a flower or something for the little girls.”
Valentine’s Day Is Overly Sexualized
Movies that are released around Valentine’s Day are usually not Valentine’s Day movies. In the trilogy To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, the movies were released days before Valentine’s Day and are promoted as Valentine’s Day movies. However, the movies are not based around the day and are just a cheesy romantic comedies.
The reason the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy was released around Valentine’s Day and not Christmas is the stigma with those holidays. Christmas movies, especially Hallmark, are lovey-dovey romantic comedies where the boy gets the girl or the boy falls for the girl or something of that nature. But with Valentine’s Day, the stigma is mainly sexual. This is why the Fifty Shades of Grey movies were released around this day. It was a sexual movie to go watch with your significant other. The holiday is sexualized more than it should be.
Platonic Love is Mostly Ignored
Because of the sexualization, it is not the norm to celebrate with your friends. The holiday Galentine’s Day was created by Leslie Knope, a fictional character on Parks and Recreation, to celebrate the joy of female friendship with close friends and co-workers. The idea is a great one but the reason for it is not. The norm for Valentine’s Day is romantic love only.
Platonic love should be normalized on Valentine’s Day for those who are single or are not with their partner. Whether people in relationships mean to do it or not, they make those who are single feel lonely. “Valentine’s Day has become exclusively a day for showing only romantic love and it really makes anyone who is single feel so alone and almost worthless,” Pusateri said.
Now I am not saying this holiday is horrible, I am just saying it is a little outdated. Nathan Sabo, my boyfriend, shares his thoughts about this day: “Part of me thinks it’s cool, part of me thinks why do you need a certain day to love someone? You shouldn’t need a reminder to love someone.” Love should not need a specific day to be shown or for you to appreciate someone.
So, no matter what you do on February 14th this year, just make sure you enjoy what you are doing. This could be hanging with a significant other, going out with friends, matching a movie or even reading your favorite fanfic about your favorite celebrity/ship. Whatever you do, treat yourself before the week ahead, since it is a Sunday this year. Also most importantly, do not forget to love yourself.