Can You Feel the Consumerism Tonight? – OPINION

What’s Not to Love About Valentine’s Day?

SWEET+LOVE+-Students+in+the+Creative+Writing+A-O+made+Valentines+with+conversation+hearts.

Staff

SWEET LOVE -Students in the Creative Writing A-O made Valentines with conversation hearts.

Eleanor McCalla, Editor

Mass-produced cards with little temporary tattoos or heart-shaped lollipops shoved carelessly inside by little fingers. Chalky conversation hearts with no flavor and meaningless words. A bouquet of roses purchased out of societal coercion rather than love. A holiday made to pressure those with romantic relationships and to exclude those without: Valentine’s Day.

With such uncertain origins (see sidebar), Valentine’s Day continues to confuse us to this day. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the contemporary iteration of the holiday is a bizarre money-grab focused on perfect facades rather than on the love it supposedly celebrates.

Aside from the non-romantic history of Valentine’s Day, consider the peculiarity of a  holiday focused on romantic relationships in the first place. It promotes a cookie-cutter view of partnerships. It weighs people with unrealistic expectations. It might even pressure some into unwelcome intimacy. 

Consider the children accidentally conceived by unprepared parents and all of the STIs spread by ill-prepared lovers. That’s not to mention all of those out there who are not in relationships, for whom Valentine’s Day can contribute to depression and feelings of loneliness. For all its stress, it’s no surprise that many people do not view Valentine’s Day in a positive light.

Out of 52 AHS students and teachers who responded to a poll, 58.3% are indifferent to the holiday, and 7.7% hate it. Junior Katie Birge said, “Valentine’s day can come off as a forced ‘show love to your significant other’ day… but if you are just doing it because the holiday is all about doing that, are you really even showing genuine love and appreciation?” 

Similarly, sophomore Mason McFadden said, “People who are single are reminded that they are single [on Valentine’s Day]. It can be a rough time and a bad reminder, especially for those who are recently single — whether a break-up, divorce, [or] loss of a loved one; all these things can make it a horrible day.”

Why would we pick the saddest month of the year to remind a lot of people they are alone?”

— Aviation teacher Bryce Smith

Other respondents had different reasons for disliking the holiday. Aviation and CCEOC teacher Bryce Smith said, “It’s in February, the most depressing month of the year… Why would we pick the saddest month of the year to remind a lot of people they are alone? Put it in April or March when people have a reason to celebrate or at least the ability to go outside without freezing.” 

Sophomore Addie Welsh believes the holiday is negative because of “the amount of one-night stands that occur and accidental pregnancies that [result] in a loveless relationship that happen from this night.”

On top of the holiday’s pressure and negative associations, Valentine’s Day is a major money grab for corporations who, quite frankly, couldn’t care less about love or healthy relationships. According to cnbc.com, Valentine’s Day is the third biggest holiday for spending, with roughly $27.40 billion spent on the holiday in 2020, according to statista.com. “Valentine’s day can make you buy stuff for your significant others, and sometimes just making something [homemade] seems more genuine than buying a box of chocolates,” said Birge. Especially when you’re only buying something because the holiday pressures you to, making a card or note yourself seems like a better option than spending $20 on assorted chocolate in a heart-shaped box, half of which won’t even get eaten.

Valentine’s day can come off as a forced ‘show love to your significant other’ day.”

— Katie Birge

Why must Valentine’s Day exist? Since even dedicated historians do not know for certain who Valentine’s Day celebrates, the mysterious saint hardly generates a reason for the season. The day results in the exclusion of people who are single and stress for those whose relationships don’t meet fairy tale standards. Finally, companies use it as an excuse for excessive profits by marketing love as a tangible product. Essentially, the holiday is about as necessary as those untouched chocolate-covered orange candies left in the assortment box after all of the superior caramel-filled ones have been eaten.

So, next time you walk into Walmart and see the giant hearts rising to the ceiling and the boxes of oversized pink teddy bears, resist the pressure to purchase the pointless paraphernalia. If you truly love your significant other, you shouldn’t need a specific holiday or a pre-printed card stuffed with a temporary tattoo to express that love.