Changing the Variety of Valentine’s Day


Kav Lakshmi, Online Editor

If you walk into a store at this time of year, it is a fact that you are bound to be bombarded with products advertising Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day is a holiday that originated in Ancient Rome, when two men by the name of Valentine were murdered, and then martyred by the Catholic Church through the creation of St. Valentine’s Day.

Yet, over time, Valentine’s Day has developed into a capitalist holiday that commercializes love in a heteronormative lens.

What does this mean?

Valentine’s Day manages to both exploit love and center itself in a lens that only caters to heterosexual romantic love, ignoring every other genre of love.

In a sense, this problem merely arises as product of the society it is derived from, but this does not excuse the issues associated with the holiday.

Our society has an obsession with romantic love. While celebrating romantic love is important, understandable and even necessary to an extent, there are points when this obsession goes too far. The issue arises when romantic love is portrayed as superior to other categories of love: familial love, platonic love, self-love.

Similarly and unfortunately, society is also deeply rooted in heteronormativity. The world we live in implies that love between a man and woman is the only acceptable form of love, dismissing an entire community of people.

Consider the typical Hollywood romantic comedies: 10 Things I Hate About You, Waitress, Sixteen Candles, Clueless, 27 Dresses etc.

Though these movies are marketed as romantic and the viewer expects romance, the romance does not need to consistently be heterosexual and said romance can be celebrated without downplaying the validity of other types of love.

Valentine’s Day is a product of these toxic societal beliefs, but it is also a holiday that promotes these problematic messages to the public.

In theory, there is nothing wrong with celebrating love. Love is central to our journey as human beings, it is vital to our growth and development.

But Valentine’s Day is no longer a celebration of love — it is the commercialization and exploitation of the form of love that our society believes is the most sellable.

In a society that already dedicates so much time and energy to only one section of our world, why do we need an entire day to emphasize the ostracization of an entire community of people?