In the wise words of rapper Abra Cadabra, “F*** Valentines.”
No, really. What is the point of celebrating love on a single day every year, when it should be something that is celebrated all year round?
It is just a normal day, except it’s now tied to intricate marketing schemes and extreme expectations.
Now I’m not going to tell you to boycott the holiday all together, but whether you are single or in a relationship, I bet we can all agree that Valentine’s Day is pretty much pointless.
For one, the reason why it is celebrated is so ambiguous.
Was it because of a priest named St. Valentines who continued to perform marriages for young lovers against the wishes of the Roman Emperor Claudius II, later leading to St. Valentine’s death? Or perhaps it is a Christian adaptation of the Pagan fertility festival called Lupercalia, which took place in mid-February?
At this point in time, its origins are unknown. But if one thing is for sure, Valentine’s Day today means something entirely different than it did before, or what it was intended for.
It is no longer about sacrifice, love, and creation.
Instead, it is a marketing ploy, enticing young lovers to show their appreciation through monetary gifts such as cheap heart shaped candies, and small stuffed animals holding little hearts between their hands.
It is just another way capitalism has found a way to penetrate our lives.
To keep it plain and simple: Valentine’s day is a scam. It is the commodification of love.
Why are billion-dollar corporations telling us how to treat our significant others? Since when did love have to be expressed in this demeaning way with an associated price-tag?
It should instead be about making sure your partner knows that they are loved and cared about all year round. In fact, this goes for all types of relationships, not just romantic.
If it’s someone you love, they deserve to know it and feel it no matter what day it is.
Instead of spending money on ridiculously expensive flowers and other mundane gifts, consider perhaps spending time with that special someone and creating everlasting memories. Do anything but give in to the tireless marketing employed by rich corporations.
Valentine’s Day is a fictitious holiday created to entice people into spending money on their significant others, and something that often goes untalked about is that it also leads to extreme expectations that are harmful if unmet.
Think about it this way: you are in a happy, fulfilling relationship with your partner, and the dreaded month of February rolls around.
You scour social media and see other peoples’ celebrations plastered all over the platform. Everything from flowers, to chocolates, to hotel rooms, and you think to yourself, “Damn, why can’t that be me?"
Now, don’t forget you are in a happy relationship with your partner, but yet -- you start to compare yourself to the people and relationships you see online.
Why hasn’t my partner purchased me flowers? Where is my card? What about my surprise?
And just like that, a relationship that was otherwise happy, has plummeted into an unjustified loop of dissatisfaction.
So let me ask you this, what is the real purpose behind Valentine’s Day?
Because to me, it is about spending money and seeking the approval of others. It’s definitely not about showing appreciation and love to the people we care about.
Perhaps things were different years ago when Valentine’s Day was first deemed a holiday. Perhaps at that time, it was a bit less mechanical and commodified.
I remember celebrating Valentine’s Day in elementary school, giving every single person in my class a little card to take home.
That was the spirit back then, it was of giving, showing others you care, and wanting to make the people we appreciate feel special.
Nowadays, this holiday arguably creates more distance between couples rather than bringing them together, and it dismisses all other types of love -- which too deserve to be celebrated all year round.
With all of that being said, if you do have plans this holiday, don’t cancel them, (and if you do -- don’t mention this article. The last thing I’d want to receive on Valentine’s Day is hate mail), just think about how you can bring more love and less frivolous spending and expectations into Valentine’s Day, and every other day for that matter.
About the author: Manisha is a freelance writer with experience on both radio and television, who is also the former titleholder of Miss Fiji Canada 2017. She is an artist, poet, and an SFU alumnus with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications. Manisha is the creator of the platform Bula Mental Health which is dedicated to bridging the gap between history, current events, and overall well-being. Check her out on Instagram: @exclusivelymanisha