Valentine’s Day attaches strings and materialism to an important emotion

Image via Thinkstock
Image via Thinkstock

Why this holiday manipulates us all

By Cazzy Lewchuk, Staff Writer

Whether perpetually single or happily married, each of us has our own thoughts on Valentine’s Day. It’s one of the most divisive, anticipated, and busy days on the calendar. Restaurant reservations fill up early and retailers push chocolates and gifts for weeks in advance. Valentine’s Day is, apparently, a time to celebrate and cherish the love we have with fancy dinners and jewellery.

This is where the problem lies. Valentine’s Day—or rather the businesses who profit off of it—manipulates and guilts us every year. If you’re in a romantic situation, you are pressured to get expensive gifts and plan a romantic day for your beloved. If you’re single, it’s an unpleasant, in-your-face reminder. This isn’t a one-day thing, either; decorations and ads for the holiday go on for weeks before the big day.

Showing people that you care about and love them is important. But this expression should not be in the form of a heart-shaped box of candy or an expensive dinner at a revolving restaurant. It’s something that should be shown all the time in less extravagant and more meaningful gestures. It’s about saying the words “I love you” instead of giving them a sparkly locket. It’s about telling those you love what they mean to you with truthful expression instead of dressing them up and taking them out to say it.

It’s also the one time of year when singles are shamed—or at least reminded—of their non-involvement. Jokes, questions, and perhaps long-winded emotional Facebook posts are rampant this time of year. In literally any other month, romance isn’t seen as a serious issue. Romance is something personal and unique to everyone, and one’s status is generally kept to themselves. But in February, conversations about Valentine’s Day plans, frank discussions of love and romance, and one’s loneliness get brought up unnecessarily. For some, it can be a very sensitive issue.

Ultimately, Valentine’s Day is a nice holiday invented by companies to sell more chocolate and $8 cards with sentimental messages. Socially, it’s a lot of pressure. It takes a very complex and personal issue—love—and reduces it to money and possessions. Couples get put under pressure simply to assert their love for each other. Singles are told that romance is the key to happiness and that we all need a special someone. There is no other holiday based solely on one’s personal emotions. Why is this one so important?