February, along with being the shortest month of the year, is also the month of sex, love and romance. For those of us with a valentine, that is. Historically, Valentine’s Day has been a remembrance of martyr and saint, Valentine of Rome, who clandestinely married couples before being executed for not converting to Roman paganism. What happened? What do heart-shaped candies, oversized teddy bears and expensive jewelry have to do with selflessness in the name of love?
To most people, Valentine’s Day is an outdated holiday, one that emphasizes monogamy and consumerism more than real love and affection. Many people in relationships have been stressing about V-Day, due to the pressure to quantify their love with trinkets and expensive dinners. On the other hand, singles feel the need to drown their loneliness in wine and chocolate, or they purposefully ignore any mention of the holiday out of spite.
Has Valentine’s Day become nothing more than the emblem of holiday-themed consumerism, or is there value in having one day of the year devoted to love? We asked several Cal students for their opinions about February 14th.
“Its basically a capitalistic juxtaposition of sexual favors and consumption. It’s also a stark reminder that other people love each other more than people love you. And I don’t mean people like your mom, who always loves you. You don’t want to have sex with your mom.”
— Oren Berkowitz, Junior, cognitive science
“The only significance Valentine’s Day has ever had to me was when I was in elementary school, when it meant I got to make a lot of fun crafts with doilies and then eat sickening amounts of candy. Since I entered middle school and started being exposed to the sad realities of the world, February 14th has passed by like any other day of the year.”
— Lilah Gonen, Sophomore, forestry
“Valentines day is the most misunderstood holiday of the year. It’s the best excuse to eat chocolate, drink wine, skip class, and be with the people you love the most— whether it’s your boyfriend, your girlfriend, or in my case, my best friends.”
— Chloe Hughes, Sophomore, nutritional science
“I think Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to take chances with your love life. If you’re in a relationship, then its your chance to be a little corny and spoil your significant other in a special, romantic way. If you’re single, it might give you a boost to take a chance and ask out that cute person in your section or take your crush on a real date.”
— Michael Lockwood, Freshman, civil engineering
“I think the holiday is a cute concept, and a lot of people approach it with great intentions. But I’m tired of hearing Kay’s commercials about how the best way to “wow” your wife this season is through a $500 ring. Not only is that gender-normative and sexist, but it perpetuates the idea that love is something to be bought.”
— Sucheta Salgaonkar, Sophomore, political science
“I feel like Valentine’s Day creates all these expectations for people. A lot of people who are single can get bitter with the reminder that they aren’t in love. But if you’re in a relationship then you feel obligated to make the day special and romantic, which can be stressful and scary sometimes.”
— Christopher Wirick, Senior, math and cognitive science