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The Valentine’s dilemma

by | Feb 14, 2024 | Culture, Lifestyle, Opinions | 0 comments

Commercial or cute?

With Feb. 14 inching closer, love is undeniably in the air. The world is littered with red and pink, hearts seem to be on every advertisement, and the flower section at grocery stores are bare. Beneath the surface of this romantic event lies a different story — one of corporate profits and the question of whether or not love should be commodified with a price tag.

Valentine’s Day has morphed from a simple celebration of love into a multi-billion dollar industry, with big corporations capitalizing on consumers’ emotions and influencers boasting online about the sponsored day. From heart-shaped cakes and chocolates to elaborate flower arrangements, the market is flooded with products presented as tokens of love that you NEED to buy in order to show your feelings. It seems like every year, couples find themselves swept up in the commercial frenzy, buying not just physical items, but buying into the idea that material gestures equate to genuine affection.

On a university campus like MacEwan, where finances for students are almost always tied up, the impact of this commercialization is palpable. I spoke to a few couples to get a glimpse into what arrangements have been made, and only one couple had plans for the actual day. I wish I could tell what those plans are, but they were locked up pretty tight under the label of a surprise. 

Another couple’s original plan for a fancy dinner had been disrupted by a midterm over at the University of Alberta, so that dinner has been pushed back to the following weekend. The last couple I talked to opted for a cozy movie night at home paired with ordering in dinner.

With each of the three couples having seemingly different plans, the overarching theme remains the same: celebrate your love in your own special way. Seeing celebrities and public figures online posting these rich, lavish events with hundreds of roses lining their private beach and diamond everything in gift boxes is fun to see, but not real. Too many people get wrapped up in the show online, and that’s exactly what it is: a show. While those couples may love each other, they love showing off, too. Take this day with your loved one and celebrate it as who you are, not who you see on your feed. 

In the midst of the Valentine’s Day frenzy that surrounds mid-February, it’s crucial to emphasize the importance of staying true to the unique dynamics of your own relationship. As online acts flood couples with grand gestures and societal expectations, maintaining authenticity within your love becomes so important. Every relationship is distinct, shaped by individual personalities, experiences, and shared moments between the partners involved. 

For those navigating this Valentine’s Day solo, the commercial attack from corporations can feel relentless. From every single streaming service releasing multiple rom-coms to exclusive couple-oriented promotions and deals, the messaging seems to emphasize that being single on Valentine’s Day is incomplete. The pressure to conform to the set standards of romance and companionship can be very overwhelming which leads singles to feel like they’re not enough. 

Amidst the commercial noise, it’s essential to remember that self-love and self-appreciation are just as valid and deserving of celebration. Whether spending the day alone or enjoying the company of friends and family (maybe with a Galentine’s Day in the works), Valentine’s Day offers an opportunity to define love beyond romantic relationships and take back the narrative from corporations.

Avery Chilton

The Griff


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