Monday, February 14, 2011

Why Do We Celebrate Valentine's Day?

So I had the idea for this post, but after watching this video from my college, I really got to thinking, why do we celebrate Valentine's Day?



Stop and think about it. Singles hate it. Men loathe it. Women expect too much out of it. Companies use it to sell cheap stuff marked up beyond what is reasonable. It has lost any real significance. So why does it exist still?

Money would be the first thing that comes to mind. Yes, retail outlets do mark up candy and trinkets for men to buy women, and women to pour over for about a week until they move on to other things. And yes, it helps companies boost profits after the slump after Christmas, but this is almost too simple an explanation. And it is also true that television companies have started to account for singles in their market on Valentine's Day by gearing programming towards them (how many romantic programs are there on the day as compared to programs showing the hatred of the day?). But if money was the only driving force behind the holiday, and enough people didn't like it and refused to participate, wouldn't the free market cause corporations to decide to cut down on the holiday "delights?"

The next thing to come to mind would be social pressure. Women have certain expectations from men about how they should act on the day, and men feel pressure from nowhere to live up to expectations that may or may not really be there. Singles are expected to feel bad for not being able to participate in the holiday, and, as a semi-new trend, to hate the holiday and bad mouth it. Social pressure is a huge force, and should not be underestimated, but at the same time, what healthy relationship has ever suffered from a bad Valentine's Day? If it was just about pressure, wouldn't it be stressful like Christmas or that significant other's birthday?

The simple answer would be about sex. Women act sexy and get sexy thing for men, and men do cheesy things for women to get laid. The games that are played are a kind of foreplay. The rest of the holiday is just spillover. Sounds nice, but it doesn't really stand up to too much scrutiny.

Maybe it's just about the fun of it all. The cheesiness of it, picking out gifts, the trash talk, the peudo-romantic bullcrap, the time where you can play the role of the story book lovey-dovey couple. I think this is the real heart of the matter. It encompasses all the above explanations. We want to fulfill roles from perceived pressure, retailers provide props for the show, television broadcasters provide ammo for the singles, and by the end of the day most everyone is happy with the show they just put on.

What do you think? Am I crazy? Lame? Blind to the truth? A genius? A real romantic? Leave a comment or contact me to let me know what you think!

12 comments:

Warlaw said...

I agree with your assessment. I personally like to think of it as Single Awareness Day. Gives me a good laugh haha.

LacedNFitted said...

This is a really interesting way to look at it.

Kazon said...

Yes, pretty much so.

PapaJ said...

we won't be rid of valentine's day for a long time. Businesses make too much money off of it and they won't stop marketing it until people stop celebrating it but people celebrate it because it's marketed so well. a vicious cycle

Xilithi said...

Not in a relationship right now and hate it, even when I was, hated it as well.

Forrest Stump said...

I don't celebrate it

Stuff that matters, stuff that don't said...

It'll continue to exist because single people will continue wanting to find someone and think that Valentine's Day is a good opportunity to express their secret feelings for someone. For people in a relationship already I don't see why it should be different to any other day if they express their feelings properly in normal life.

Marvagoat said...

Personally, i think it's about the fun. i never go all out, just get a little cheesy gift or something. i do this on a regular basis, but it's a reminder to remind everyone that you love how you feel, as i don't think of it as a "couple's holiday". even the greeting card companies (even if only in it for the money) make cards for EVERYONE: grandparents/kids, siblings, children, parents, friends. also, if looking at the history of it, it's not romantically linked. geoffrey chaucer (who helped write today's king arthur legends) is the one who made it all "romantical". anyways, don't hate the holiday, have fun with it.

724427 said...

Love of chocolate, I guess.

Lexingtonian said...

Not all men lothe it. Spending some romantic time with your significant other is relaxing.

gman said...

It's funny, because this valentine's day was the first valentines day I have actually celebrated with a girlfriend.

I have to agree with you though, I think valnetines day is way too crass these days.

blaza1 said...

Nice blog! :) Following and supporting, keep it up!