Valentine’s Day: a capitalist excuse or a rosy day for love?

It is that time of year again. The stores are filled with red roses and heart boxes of mostly mediocre chocolates. You probably either love it or hate it, and you guessed it, it’s Valentine’s Day. If you are in a relationship, you are likely asked what plans you have for the special holiday. If you are not being asked about your plans, you are either making plans with friends or maybe avoiding the topic altogether. Quite possibly the best option out of all of these: you are in a situationship and have no idea what’s going to happen. Will they, won’t they? Depending on your situation, this holiday may be a time to celebrate love or it might be a nuisance. 

Gabby Chiodo, a SLU junior, spoke on the holiday as a primarily capitalist construct. 

Valentine’s Day is simply a “capitalist ploy,” said Chiodo. 

This year, consumers spent an estimated $26 billion on Valentine’s Day. So much for money cannot buy you love…

However, others have quite an appreciation for the side effects of the capitalization of this holiday. Makenzie Bauer, also a junior, spoke on the compelling consumer gain after the holiday.  

The holiday is the “perfect excuse for discount chocolate three days later,” Bauer said. Kaley Schrameyer, a junior, continued on the shameless consumption of sweets. “Hey, at least I won’t be judged for buying excessive amounts of chocolate,” Schrameyer said.

So, maybe Valentine’s day is not such a controversial and mediocre holiday? Who does not love lots of chocolate at a quality price?

The holiday is not only about red roses and heart boxes but about the intersection of love and romance. An intersection some think should be separated. 

Erin Conley, also a SLU junior, spoke on the effects of romance on love, particularly around the holiday.  “Love should not be gatekept by romance,” she said. 

Valentine’s Day tends to combine the concepts of love and romance, but should the two really go together? Love can and should be celebrated outside of the bounds and opinions of those who view the holiday as only a celebration of romantic relationships. Instead, the holiday can be considered a celebration of love in every aspect of life.  

College students are entering a time in their lives where friends become family, a companionate love that should and could be celebrated with roses and chocolates. Just as one might tell a romantic partner how much they appreciate their love and presence, friends should always tell each other the same. Whether people have a planned Galentine’s celebration (or other less gendered gatherings) or not, now is as good a time as any to tell friends and family that they are loved for many reasons. 

Since it is Valentine’s Day, might as well be corny and acknowledge the best type of love: self love. It’s preached all day long, but how often is it really lived out? Valentine’s Day is not only a celebration of love between people, friends and family but of self-love too. Advocated as part of our daily routine, the day dedicated to love should include the love we give and have towards ourselves.

Sydney Gallagher, a junior, spoke on the greatness of celebrating Valentine’s Day alone. 

“Valentine’s Day is more fun when you’re single,” said Gallagher.  

While it may be important to celebrate a partner, friend or yourself it is impossible to do so without recognizing the social constraints that come with this holiday. For days, weeks or even months there can be a looming wonder of what to do on this February day. 

Is it really worth the capitalization and traditional romance? The industry has become aware of the whole “loving yourself trend,” and several options popped up this year for those choosing themselves first on Cupid’s day. 

Local salons and spas offered special deals to “treat yourself” instead of just the typical couple’s massage special deal. A local art gallery, Luminary, provided an art healing event centered on self-compassion. With local abstract contemporary artist, Lu Ray, participants engaged in mindful artmaking by collaging. 

It’s time to reimagine this holiday as more than the traditional romantic relationship, but a celebration of love for all, whether it be spent alone, with a partner, with a friend, in a situation in between or days after with half-priced chocolate. Doing what you truly love and how you truly love it is what this holiday should and could be about. Whether it is buying yourself some flowers or balloons, treating yourself or someone else, telling someone you love and appreciate them, you can make the most of this wonderful day!