Katie Jordan '24
I hate Valentine’s Day. A bold statement, I know, but I’ve disliked the holiday for years. Too much pink and red, frilly hearts and chocolates filling up the holiday aisle of every store. The real reason I hate Valentine’s Day is not because I dislike the color pink, but because I feel that it is an empty holiday. Holidays are supposed to be a celebratory occasion to spend with family and friends, but Valentine’s Day is characterized by a fixation on the romantic aspect of love and the assumption that love is coupled with material gifts.
One could argue that Valentine's Day is essentially a holiday about romantic love, but in recent years people have changed the nature of the celebration of the holiday by sending valentines to friends instead of just romantic partners on “Galentine's Day.” With these changed ideas around Valentine's Day, it's crazy to think that there is still such a focus on romantic love surrounding the holiday. By narrowing a holiday that could have such a broad scope to something so specific, it leaves many people out of the joy that could be associated with it. In this way, we consider the holiday useless if we do not have a romantic partner, when the holiday could be about appreciating your friends and family or doing something you love.
Another issue I have with Valentine's Day is that it capitalizes such a special thing to so many people. Love is an abstract concept that is meaningful to many, so to center the whole holiday around merchandise just seems wrong. Although all major holidays in the U.S. are focused on the transactional or material exchange of goods (Christmas and birthdays are about giving and receiving gifts, and Halloween is about giving and receiving candy) this idea is so wrong for Valentine's Day as it is supposed to be about a profound emotion, not a box of chocolates. This material emphasis of Valentine's Day is also detrimental as it puts pressure on people to do something material for a loved one instead of just showing them that you love them through an act of kindness. This obsession with the material aspect of love deemphasizes the actual emotion which is what the holiday is supposed to be about, making the holiday meaningless.
I hate Valentine's Day not because I hate love, but because I hate the material goods and services that are associated with love that are perpetuated by the holiday, and I dislike the fixation on romantic love that this holiday emphasizes. In my opinion, the best way to celebrate Valentine’s Day is to take time for yourself and tell those you are close to that you love and appreciate them.