Romanticizing Consumerism: The Dirty Truth About the Supposed Day of Love

Romanticizing Consumerism: The Dirty Truth About the Supposed Day of Love

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Valentine’s Day is like cilantro- you’re either loading copious amounts of it on all of your meals or shying away in disgust at the soap-tasting herb. Either way, everyone has a strong opinion.  


Whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day by going out for a romantic dinner with your beau or eating boxes of self-pity chocolates in front of your TV, this day is full of connotations and stereotypes. But why is there such a divide between those who anticipate celebrating their relationships and those who loathe the very idea of this day?


Thousands of years ago, back in third-century Europe, Valentine’s Day was a series of parties to encourage dating and fertility. From February 13-15, people would attend countless festivities- usually stark naked- to develop new relationships and celebrate the ones they already had. Men would hit on women by literally hitting them with the hide of their most recent kill, and the Romans would play their own version of “7 minutes in heaven”. 


However, since these days of frivolous parties, Valentine’s Day has only become another cliché. 


Nowadays, this supposed day of love is less about romance and relationships and instead promotes materialism and consumerism. While it’s fair to say that about nearly every twenty-first-century holiday, Valentine’s Day, in particular, stands out.


In 2021, over 20 billion dollars was spent on flowers, chocolates, jewelry, and other gifts for this specific holiday, resulting in around 200$ the average American spent on their special someone. This price point is absurd, especially when you consider that only half that amount is spent on anniversary gifts and an average of 25$ of birthday presents. Yes, Valentine’s Day only comes around once a year, but so does every other day- why break the bank for this one? 


The answer, unfortunately, is simple. Pressure.


Even though social media is around 365 days a year to critique our lives, it seems to haunt everyone on this particular February day. Couples feel pressure to spend money they don’t have on gifts, say those three words looming over their heads, and have extravagant dates fit for a Rom-Com. Singles are shamed into awkward dates to pretend they “found the one” or are found buying themselves roses and celebrating “SAD- Singles Awareness Day.” 


Articles like Huffpost’s “5 Rules to Creating the Best Valentine’s Day” that encourage consumerism and materialism make couples feel exploited and singles feel lonely. So how could a day made for celebrating your loved ones turn into a day that makes over half of the population feel worse about themself? 


Even though this day could single-handedly fuel the economy for a year and allows over 6 million couples to get married on this day of love, Valentine’s Day has too many cons to ignore. This special occasion that provides more stress than bliss, more guilt than excitement, and more pain than gain should not be celebrated. 


As a modern society, we should take the time to tell our partners we love them every single day. We should appreciate rather than shame the free time that so many singles have. We should go back to the original lightheartedness of Valentine’s day, celebrating new relationships and the prosperity of the future.