Many consider love a terrifying thing; so why would we decide to create an entire holiday centered around it? It’s because love isn’t what is actually scary. What is scary is losing that love or finding out that love was never really present in the relationship. The vulnerable nature of love is seen as weak and feminine causing so many people to push it aside. This is why Valentine’s Day has lost its touch with most people.
I understand why the holiday gets its hate; sometimes we’re heartbroken and create a personal vendetta against all things romantic. I had a period in my life where I hated it too, but what happened to the cute little cards we would exchange in school or the overload of chocolate we’d eat every year? The aspects of consumerism are part of the fun! Plus, companies are going to make money off of every major holiday so Valentine’s Day shouldn’t get more hate for it than others. There is nothing wrong with struggling during this time, love is hard to come by, but don’t just hate Valentine’s Day because it’s Valentine’s Day. If anything, this day can be used to show love to those that feel lost when it comes to relationships. Whether you see no point in spending all this money for one day or if the holiday seems too “fabricated” rather than natural, there is still a lot to enjoy. In reality, the main reason why so many people hate the holiday is because of how feminine it is. And, unfortunately, anything attributed to femininity is still frowned upon.
There’s a “double-whammy” that allows for the holiday to be discredited: not only it is attached to femininity, which is not inherently the issue, but femininity is also seen as lesser than masculinity. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this day going hand-in-hand with feminine values, but there is something wrong with it being hated because of its feminine values. So much gets ignored because it’s considered “girly”: rom-coms, makeup, dolls, the color pink, etc. Although we’ve started to rid ourselves of gender norms, there are still a lot of bad habits that we slip into. Valentine’s Day is seen as a very heteronormative holiday; it’s assumed that a boyfriend should dread the time and effort that is needed to please their “high-maintenance” girlfriend, ultimately disappointing her. Not only does this narrative impose toxic gender roles, but it also diminishes the value of femininity creating partners that have lost their romantic side. This also causes many people to take on a “pick me” attitude in order to reassure their partners that they don’t need anything because they’re different from others. The crazy thing is, they could both enjoy Valentine’s Day if they put their masculinity aside and embrace how nice celebrating love can feel.
Of course, Valentine’s Day tends to be centered around romantic relationships, but all over the world cultures celebrate more than just romance; they celebrate any relationship that has positively affected their lives. Whether we look to Denmark where friends create handmade cards for each other or Estonia where a festival is catered to honor friendship, we can see that there is more to love than what we see here in the states. This holiday doesn’t need to only highlight all the couples that annoyingly post on social media about how “perfect” they are for a single day, but it can be about showing and receiving love from different (and even unexpected) places. Valentine’s Day is not meant to be the only day when we show affection, but it is the day when affection is supposed to be emphasized. Love has extended past the need for a relationship to be between a man and a woman. In order for Valentine’s Day to be properly celebrated, it must be inclusive. People of all gender identities and sexual orientations should be able to enjoy and experience love just as much as the next person. This is what Valentine’s Day can be all about if we decide to embrace it.
It’s not enough for people to simply not hate the holiday, people should be excited to celebrate it! We all know it’s a cheesy holiday with presents and chocolate but those things are great anyways so why not enjoy it? Valentine’s Day can be a chance for people to understand love languages and how to best meet those needs. A better understanding of how people express their affection can be extremely beneficial and make life more enjoyable. It’s an opportunity for love to be practiced and intentional; you shouldn’t half-ass Valentine’s Day, that takes away the importance of it. There are benefits to everyone getting in touch with their feminine side, not just those that present themselves as such most times. Femininity is beautiful and should be encouraged for everyone. Instead of feeling ashamed for finding joy in areas of life that are loving, gentle, and kind, like Valentine’s Day, feel pride in accepting a part of you that many have yet to embrace about themselves.