Valentine’s Day: buy something for your significant other to show them how much you love them. But is Valentine’s Day really about love? Or is it just a ploy created by companies to make people spend money?
At first, Valentine’s Day was a festival held to celebrate fertility and the coming of spring. Over time, it morphed into the holiday that we have now. While it has strayed from its original intentions, Valentine’s Day is still a nationally celebrated holiday, with over 55 percent of Americans estimated to celebrate it. The perpetuation of the holiday can be attributed to the valentines and gifts bought during the season, but are these Valentine’s day sales actually a product of appreciation for loved ones?
Not necessarily. According to a study by the National Retail Federation, most people take part in Valentine’s Day because they feel an obligation to, and not because they want to. Societal pressure and marketing from companies can make people feel as if they have to participate. This pressure is also what results in men spending, on average, $184.93 more than women.
“Valentine’s Day can be stressful for a lot of people,” said junior Nestor Rivera. “Companies just market to people to make you feel like you have to spend a lot of money.”
Valentine’s Day, although a good concept, is more about businesses’ love of money than any actual love. Marketing is used to make people want expensive gifts and things of monetary value. Even children are advertised to, with kids being encouraged to buy valentines for their classmates. It is estimated that Valentine’s Day brings in upwards of 20 billion dollars in sales annually. This marketing of love perpetuates the idea that love can be expressed through gifts, and that if someone doesn’t spend money on an expensive gift, that their love is not legitimate.
“People spend way too much money for the wrong reasons, they focus too much on the attention and not on love,” said sophomore Delaney Dalton.
Many people feel pressured during Valentine’s Day to get a gift for their significant other. Finding a good gift can be very stressful, especially to those who are not very financially stable.
Valentine’s Day should be celebrated genuinely. Instead of measuring love with gifts on one particular day, people should choose to celebrate in a way that is meaningful to themselves, not in the way that is marketed to them. Celebrating love shouldn’t be confined to one gift-filled day. Valentine’s Day isn’t really about love, it’s about consumerism.