Subtle disgust for Valentine’s Day
Letter to the Editor | Friday, February 15, 2019
Travis Scott filled an entire living room with thousands of roses for his girlfriend, Kylie Jenner. A man proposed with six rings so his now-fiancee could chose which one she liked best. My old friend’s boyfriend bought her a diamond ring as a “promise ring” when they were 17, and unfortunately, that promise only lasted until a couple of months later. All of these interactions were posted on social media for the world to see, and almost all of the comments about them consisted of “I wish someone would do that for me” and “relationship goals.” Valentine’s Day has become society’s day of who can buy the bigger, better gift, and how many “likes” can my gift get on social media. My feelings of angst about Valentine’s Day result not because I’m usually a part of the singles population during this time of year, but because of how we as a society have commercialized the meaning behind Valentine’s Day and have turned the meaning of love into a competition.
Social media has brainwashed young people into thinking that a healthy relationship consists of your partner buying elaborate, expensive gifts for you to express their gratitude. Because social media does not show every aspect of a person’s life or their relationships, people insinuate that the few minutes documented on their timelines are all the relationship consists of. Furthermore, Valentine’s Day has become an event to prove your worth to your partner, instead of a day to express how important your partner is in your life. We have created this concept in our society that if your partner does not provide you a gift of equal extravagance of those on your timeline, they do not truly love you. This ruins the definition of what a healthy relationship is, whether it is romantic or platonic. Truly loving, healthy relationships are based on the personal feelings and experiences shared between two people, not what strangers on the internet do to show their affection in their relationship.
Just like every other holiday, Valentine’s Day has been completely commercialized, feeding into the notion that this holiday is about how much money you can spend on someone, not how much you care about them. Unbeknownst to most, Feb. 14 is the feast day of three St. Valentines. One was a priest and physician, the second a Bishop and the third followed the work of God in Africa. All were martyrs for their faith and everlasting love of God. The first two were beaten and beheaded, and the third’s cause of death is unknown. However, the concept of exchanging valentines and gift-giving was a secular idea created during the Middle Ages, not to celebrate the lives of these saints. While other religious holidays, like Easter and Christmas, at least started with religious practices, we’ve claimed a religious feast day to justify our profits on a holiday that has become a competition debating what form of romance is best.
In grade school, Valentine’s Day used to be a day when all students would receive valentines from their classmates or teachers. Every kid received a piece of candy or a note, and every kid understood the message that they were cared for and loved, even if it was on a prewritten note from the supermarket. This holiday wasn’t about who received better candy, and no one created the idea that if you received more valentines, you were loved more. Like this, I think Valentine’s Day should be about expressing your gratitude for the people you care for the most in your life and the people that care the most about you. It should not be a competition of who’s getting what, because this defeats the purpose of the reason you’re in the relationship in the first place. If we as a society could bring this meaning of Valentine’s Day back to the forefront of our thoughts, everyone would be able to participate and the focus wouldn’t be on what we receive, but who we receive it from and why and how much that matters to us.
If the person you care the most about is your significant other, and if you want to get them something nice for Valentine’s Day, that’s wonderful, and I’m truly happy for you both. I would ask that you make sure the reason you are purchasing the gift is because you want to express how much you actually care about that person, not because you want to prove a point or were pressured by your significant other into competing in society’s constructed game of “whose gift is better?”
The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.