It’s that time of year again, when overpriced roses and child-labor chocolate take over grocery store displays across the nation. Love is in the air! …or maybe that’s just omicron since apparently we still haven’t gotten rid of COVID. This can be a rough time for people who want to celebrate love but don’t want to give into its commodification. As a true anti-capitalist (unlike all those posers online), I know that you can’t have valid criticisms of any institution you participate in. That’s why I’ve put together a comprehensive guide to a one-hundred-percent-capitalism-free Valentine’s Day. Follow these simple steps, and you’re free to complain about Valentine’s being taken over by corporations as much as you want!
- Stop Consuming Products
Everyone’s always talking about how “consumerist” Valentine’s Day is, so the most obvious step is to simply not consume any Valentine’s Day products. This includes but is not limited to: heart-shaped candy, limited edition Squishmallows, and Valentine’s-themed Netflix romcoms.
But lots of people choose not to celebrate Valentine’s, so that’s not enough to make an impactful statement. Let’s take things a step further. Don’t consume any products on Valentine’s. Literally. Go on a 24-hour hunger strike, from 12AM to 12AM. Be sure to tag all the major corporations when you post about it on Twitter. That’ll show Nestlé!
- Turn Off Your Phone
Modern-day hookup culture is clearly a product of capitalism. An increasingly individualistic and work-centric culture has left Americans with few opportunities to meet and connect with people in real life. People crave connection but are unable to devote the time and energy to foster it naturally. Instead we turn to the instant gratification of Tinder and Twitter and everything in between. If you genuinely want to celebrate love — delete your dating apps! Get off social media! Get out of Jeff Bezos’s metaverse, and take time to connect with the real world.
Obviously we’re still in a pandemic, so it can be hard to meet new people. But you can still find ways to feel more present in real life, such as experiencing nature. Once you’ve logged off, find a place to stay in the middle of nowhere and just be alone with your thoughts for a while. You might be surprised to learn that it’s not so bad after a few hours!
- Accept Being Single
Capitalism has unfortunately shaped our idea of relationships. Not only have we been convinced that being part of a nuclear family is an adequate stand-in for being a part of a community, but that people can’t be happy and successful without settling down and reproducing. Even the legal institution of marriage is a remnant of a time when marriage was primarily a financial agreement.
In order to truly have a capitalism-free Valentine’s, unlearn everything you know about relationships that’s been influenced by capitalism (which is all of it). Culturally ingrained ideals like this can take a long time to deconstruct. You’ll need to detox your brain with a break from both romantic and sexual relationships. If you’re already in a relationship, you should break it off. If you’re already married, call up your lawyer!
- Think About What Love Means To You
Everyone knows organized religion is a tool of the bourgeoisie (that’s what all the cool atheists on Reddit told me at least). Catholicism, as the most organized of all organized religions, must therefore be the most bourgeois. Valentine’s Day originated as a Christian feast to celebrate Saint Valentine, and this connection to a bourgeois institution cannot stand. To have Valentine’s Day truly free of capitalism, you have to get rid of Valentine’s Day itself.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t still have a day to celebrate love! It won’t come with a rich cultural history or traditions formed over centuries, but you get the chance to pick a new name and date for your better, purer day of love. Come up with a name and day that says something about what love means to you. You can think about it during your 24-hour fast after you’ve communed with nature and taken a vow of celibacy.