Photo by Jamie Street/Unsplash
The day of love, that is how 14 February has been positioned in the world. Some embrace the day with enthusiasm and some with cynicism, some are overwhelmed with feelings of loneliness, and some consider it overhyped. We unveil the complexity behind this day, and reveal 20 reasons why the day does not have the same appeal for everyone.
Photo by Robby McCullough/Unsplash
It Wasn’t Supposed to be About Love
That’s true. Valentine’s Day was not supposed to be a day about love. Saint Valentine was a priest in Rome where he was captured and tortured, and decapitated by Romans on 14 February 269 AD. Does this look like a day to celebrate love? 14 February is the day of martyrdom. Something must have got lost in translation because here we are, making someone martyrdom a joyous occasion.
Photo by Nathan Walker/Unsplash
The routine is the same for the last few decades. It is roses, candlelit dinners, and chocolates – that is how the day is packaged and sold to couples all over. Over time it has become boring and repetitive. There is no creativity anymore. Everyone is expected to celebrate love the same way.
Photo by Christian Erfurt/Unsplash
Forced to Feel
Are we supposed to feel love just on this day? What about the other days? Valentine’s Day feels overrated because we are trying to manufacture romantic feelings on a certain day. It feels insincere, pretentious, and forced. Genuine feelings should not depend on a certain day of the year.
Photo by Ivan Aleksic/Unsplash
Well, Valentine’s Day is apparently a day to celebrate couples in love. What about people who are not in any romantic relationship? It could make them feel left out or left with feelings of inadequacy because they do not have anyone to celebrate this day with. Sure, you can say that its alternative, Galentine Day, is there. Is that supposed to be a consolation prize?
Photo by Daria Volkova/Unsplash
Love is Expensive
Valentine’s Day was a $25.9 billion dollar business in 2023! It is one of the highest commercialized businesses. The day has become less about love and more about being motivated to spend money on extravagant gestures than about expressing love in all its genuineness. Expensive gifts do not equal true love.
Photo by Erik Mclean/Unsplash
A 2023 mental health survey by BetterHealth found that 47% of Americans are stressed about their love lives. Valentine’s Day adds on to that stress with the expectation of creating the perfect romantic experience with their partner. It leads to unfulfilled expectations and disappointment that can have a ripple effect in their future.
Photo by rc.xyz NFT gallery/Unsplash
Commodities are priced at least 5x their usual price in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day. Everything becomes damn expensive. Even a simple rose can cost around $2 per stem! Add chocolates and an expensive dinner, and you are out a few hundred dollars within a few hours.
Photo by Carly Rae Hobbins</Unsplash
While not exactly a lie, what you see on social media platforms is not exactly the truth either. Images of couples in a seemingly picture perfect relationship sows seeds of discontentment. It can impact your existing relationship because your mind starts to draw unhealthy comparisons.
Photo by Nik/Unsplash
Valentine’s Day sees a sharp rise in wastage accumulation. Municipal solid waste studies say that Valentine’s Day week leads to the rise of single-use product wastage, like flower and chocolate wrapping papers and discarding of gift wrapping boxes. 36 million single-use heart-shaped boxes were bought in 2023. Imagine the wastage!
Photo by Kevin Lehtla/Unsplash
This is a big argument against Valentine’s Day; you cannot ignore it. People often talk about how globally commercialized days are appropriating indigenous traditions, and replacing it with something meaningless. Newer generations cannot connect to their roots because indigenous traditions are neglected.
Photo by Clay Banks/Unsplash
Notice the marketing messages around you during Valentine’s Day week. Many of them use marketing strategies to induce guilt in people to make them buy gifts to “prove” their love. Is this really necessary? Are we saying that you are worthy of love only if you have the money to buy expensive gifts? Think.
Photo by Markus Winkler/Unsplash
Reinforcing Gender Stereotypes
Valentine’s Day is one of those days where gender stereotypes are reinforced on a mass scale. It upholds the stereotype that men are supposed to express romanticism and women are supposed to be receptive to the romantic expression of love. The pressure is on one gender to “prove” their love.
Photo by Everton Vila/Unsplash
Disregarding Everyday Romance
Is the expression of love and romance limited to one day of the year? Think. The emphasis of engaging in one grand romantic gesture makes people overlook other acts of love on other days. Love is to be appreciated and celebrated throughout the year. It is the little acts of kindness, care, and gratitude that makes a relationship worthy.
Photo by Djim Loic/Unsplash
Pressure to Find Partner
It is easy to get caught up in the moment and allow the pressure to find love overtake you. It is common knowledge that many people enter into relationships before Valentine’s Day and separate within a few weeks. Such fleeting relationships never served anybody. In fact, it can increase feelings of sadness, inadequacy, and depression.
Photo by Claudia Wolff/Unsplash
Valentine’s Day makes a big deal about love! It is a painful reminder to people of the love they have lost due to a breakup, divorce, or the death of a loved one. People grieve and can take a long time to heal. Valentine’s Day can come across as an insensitive day that mocks people who have lost their love.
Photo by Shelby Deeter/Unsplash
Genuineness is Missing
A friend I know gifted an expensive phone to her husband. That’s great, you would say, I did too, until I came to know that she bought the phone on credit because she gave in to the pressure of impressing her husband as they were newly married. Now, does the gift come across as genuine? I don’t think so. What is the point in fabricating romance?
Photo by James A. Molnar/Unsplash
Valentine’s Day is usually showcased to be a day about love for couples, for heterosexual couples. It effectively neglects the love of LGBTQ+ individuals, much like how singles are neglected. Love should not be exclusive to people. Everyone can and does deserve love.
Photo by Francisco Moreno/Unsplash
Valentine’s Day is also a day that can cause people in relationships to become more anxious, agitated, and stressed because they are going through a rough patch. It can exacerbate existing problems in the relationship like comparing themselves to seemingly other happy couples.
Photo by Louis Hansel/Unsplash
Food is a huge part of Valentine’s Day. Almost every small or big dining option would be full with reservations. Long waiting time is common. While this is really good for business, can we be really sure that this rush of people does not lead them to compromise on the quality of food? No matter how well prepared they are, anything can go wrong anytime.
Photo by Clint Maliq/Pexels
Valentine’s Day is not a global event, no matter how it is positioned in many geographical regions. It does not have the same significance or adoption in all cultures. Valentine’s Day is not meaningful to everyone, which is unlike how big brands make it out to be.