Opinion—Don’t let Valentine’s Day get you down

no+thanks

Sam Rush/NW

Katarina Rothhorn

Ever since elementary school, most of us have been handing out little slips of paper and candy on Feb. 14 with little thought to what they mean. Looking back on it, they didn’t actually mean much. Romcoms make Valentine’s Day out to be a meaningful and romantic day when in reality it just feels like an excuse for stores to stock up on heart-shaped candy and stuffed animals. What started out as a romantic holiday has turned into a month-long advertisement for increased consumerism and cheesy sentiments. 

Disclaimer: this pessimistic view that Valentine’s Day is a waste of time and money comes from a single person. I don’t have any issue with those who are in relationships, I just currently don’t see the appeal in having a romantic connection at this point in my life. And honestly, that might be why I have such a difficult time acknowledging any redeeming aspects of Valentine’s Day.

Despite my skepticism regarding what Valentine’s Day celebrations have become, I created some playlists for the occasion. If you are looking for a feel-good singles soundtrack for your Singles Awareness Day, check out our Singles Awareness Day playlist on Spotify. We also have a Valentine’s Day Anthems playlist to set a romantic backdrop for your holiday.

The problem I see is, capitalism and consumerism use Valentine’s Day to portray being single as something to be ashamed of. Advertisements and product placements push (mostly heterosexual) relationships as the ideal and purposefully try to make those who are single feel bad about themselves on Valentine’s Day. After all, it is difficult to make money from a holiday centered around romantic relationships if people aren’t in them.

The discounted chocolate the day after might be worth it, though. Technically, the day after Valentine’s Day is considered Singles Awareness Day, according to the National Day Calendar website. But for me, this “holiday” holds even less merit than Valentine’s Day does. I am not so insecure on my own that I need a day to acknowledge the fact that I am single, however, I do recognize it as a great excuse to treat myself. And if I ignore all of the red advertisements that start on Feb. 1, taking care of myself (and others) kind of feels like the point of both days. 

I have no problem with the inherent idea of Valentine’s Day; I think it is a great time for people to put extra effort into their relationships and even go out and find romance if that is something they are looking for. I only take issue with the way the holiday has been used to promote the idea that people who are not in romantic relationships are somehow inferior or are ‘missing out’ on Valentine’s Day through the use of ridiculous advertisements. 

Valentine’s Day at its core is a celebration of human connection, not the crazy number of roses that are going to be for sale this weekend in the dead of winter. Especially during this pandemic when everyone feels more high-strung than usual, we should be taking the time to show those around us that we care about them this Sunday.

Even though capitalism has managed to turn Valentine’s Day into the backdrop of every cliché rom-com, we can still use this time to spread more love when we need it the most: the middle of winter and a busy semester. At the very least, we can take advantage of those discounted chocolates and give someone a call this weekend to remind them we care.

Editor’s Note: The North Wind is committed to offering a free and open public forum of ideas, publishing a wide range of viewpoints to accurately represent the NMU student body. This is a staff column, written by an employee of the North Wind. As such, it expresses the personal opinions of the individual writer, and does not necessarily reflect the position of the North Wind Editorial Board.