The Valentine’s Day Problem
Around the world, February 14th is designated for sweethearts to demonstrate their love and affection for each other. Even though Valentine’s Day has just recently passed in this new year, I want to explain the reasons why this special holiday has essentially tainted the idea of love.
Valentine’s Day is too commercialized
The way Valentine’s Day is celebrated defeats the purpose of the origin of the holiday. Valentine’s Day commemorates St. Valentine, a Roman pope who was executed because he officiated marriages when marriage was banned by Emperor Claudius II. St. Valentine fell in love with the jailer’s (a person in charge of a jail or of the prisoners in it.) daughter and was executed on February 14th. On this day he sent a letter to the daughter signed “from your Valentine”. In my understanding of the history of the holiday, it is made to celebrate true love, but nowadays with excessive advertisement, we are pressured to buy so many things: flowers, chocolate, jewelry… The way the holiday is portrayed in movies, TV shows or commercials makes it a day about spending money rather than authentically expressing your love, however you see fit.
Gives false expectations about partnership
As kids, we have expectations about how we are going to spend Valentine’s Day with our significant other once we grow up. But, when you are grown up, your expectations can be crushed, especially if you are single and “have no one” to spend Valentine’s Day with. It gives a sense of failure, and makes you feel bad or “wrong”, when this is not the case. It is perfectly acceptable to be single, and the societal pressures of Valentine’s Day should not make you feel inadequate for having your own company!
Gives the wrong idea of what love is and should look like
If we follow the capitalist logic of Valentine’s Day, the only way to show that you really love your significant other is to give them something conventionally special on that day. If there is no grand gesture, it’s as though you do not love your significant other. It makes us forget that love is not only between you and your significant other, it can also be celebrated with your family, friends…
I hope that eventually Valentine’s Day will go back to the meaning of love and focus less on spending!