Above photo: The National Retail Federation estimates over $19 billion in total planned spending for Valentine’s Day this year. Courtesy of Chrys Omori
By Jonah Hinebaugh
Typically seen as a way to flaunt your romance, Valentine’s Day is the perfect way to show your significant other your appreciation and love for them.
From chocolates to roses to extravagant dates, one must wonder if the holiday could be any more contrived.
If you love the person you’re with so much or want to make them feel special, why is there a need for a holiday when love can be shown at any time?
If you’re truly enamored with them, you should be fully aware that material items aren’t the way to their heart.
The only reason Valentine’s Day is passed down as some great holiday is so corporations can pad their bottom line with money from those who are forced into this “holiday.”
The commercialized holiday has been elevated by society to the point where there is an obligatory subscription that reinforces the ploy that it is special, ignoring the ulterior motives of the businesses behind it.
According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), Valentine’s Day spending reached a record high $19.7 billion across the U.S. in 2016.
The reported cost averages out to approximately $147 per person.
Spending that much in one day because you’re conditioned to points out the absurd, nonsensical reasoning that results in nothing more than an empty wallet and a nice dinner, if you’re lucky.
While the bourgeois may have no problem flashing their wealth for this holiday, it is important to note how far removed they are from the working class.
Instead of feeding into the extravagance, I want society to empathize with the worker to remind them of the farcical reasoning behind this day.
Furthermore, Valentine’s Day reinforces the idea that the patriarchal society is afflicted with gender norms.
According to the NRF, men consistently spend almost $100 more than women every year between 2007 and 2016.
The expectation that a man is supposed to flex his wealth for his female significant other creates a “damsel in distress” situation, reinforcing the sexist notion that women are unable to support themselves and the man is supposed to be the breadwinner of the household.
The trivialization of women’s ability to thrive on their own terms without the help of a man is a gross misunderstanding. It undermines all the work feminists have done to combat the demeaning and unfair system that has been in place far longer than it should have.
Likewise, the holiday solely marketing toward straight couples alienates the rest of society. Even if Valentine’s Day began to market toward the excluded groups, the attempt at equality would be a shallow one that ties back to greed.
The Valentine’s Day scheme is propaganda set forth to exploit the already disadvantaged working class across the U.S. To imagine it as meaningful in any way is lying to yourself, a sort of complacent ignorance to the toxicity of capitalism that runs rampant through the country.
There is nothing wrong with spoiling a loved one, but to think it is shown through the materialist mindset that Valentine’s Day proposes is a grave misunderstanding. The trend is not by fault of the people, but by the manipulation of corporations who only love the surplus capital they stand to gain from a faux holiday.