Tuesday, February 16, 2010
This Sunday many couples went out in order to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is intended as a way for couples to express their love and affection for each other, but in reality, why exactly does society need such a day in order to do so?
Ever since the independence of the United States in 1776, its residents have found many causes to praise each other. The country has changed rapidly in the past two-and-a-half centuries in all categories, from social norms to economic expansion. However, the things that do not change along with time are feelings. Despite scientific advancement, love is still painfully difficult to describe, even to people who claim to experience it every day. Yet there is one thing that nearly anyone can agree on: love is generally a wonderful feeling that many long for.
These days, people are so focused on the busy trappings of American life that they forget to be thankful for what they have. The national holiday of Thanksgiving allows leeway on this: people are given the opportunity to thank each other once a year in front of a lavish feast and enjoy each others’ company. The same can be said about Valentine’s Day. Couples take each other out on particularly nice dates, usually accompanied by diabetes-inducing chocolates and roses that will wither away if not tended to for a certain period of time.
It would seem that these days, people do not have the time to thank and love each other on a daily basis, but that simply isn’t true. Many people would agree that small gestures are best. A couple need not go out to dinner every day and spend ridiculous amounts of money on each other; a kiss on the cheek and a heartfelt conversation can go a long way in helping couples realize the value of their relationship.
On another note, Valentine’s Day is inherently gynocentric and homophobic: the colors of the holiday are catered towards female taste, and men are expected to shower their female significant other with teddy bears and food. For a holiday that stresses expression of affection in a society that is beginning to gradually stress the importance of gender equality, there seems to be far too much focus on one side of the relationship. Why must the woman allow herself to be swept off of her feet by a man? Why can’t a couple enjoy a dinner in which they both have an equal part?
Valentine’s Day is the one time of the year in which couples are essentially given a chance to gloat about their relationship statuses. This is highly unfair and causes animosity among some singles – as evidenced by the nickname “Singles Awareness Day.” Both sides are slightly at fault here. Singles who have not already should realize that having a significant other is not essential in shaping their happiness. Meanwhile, couples should understand that some people have not developed this mindset, and that the couple’s happiness may not be shared by their friends.
Even though the necessity of Valentine’s Day escapes me, I am not completely anti-Valentine’s Day. I am in a relationship and celebrated it Sunday. However, these plans were not exclusively because of Valentine’s Day; we felt that we wanted to go out to a nice restaurant, and our schedules only allowed for a dinner on that day. I have respect for couples who indulge in Valentine’s Day and still frequently find appreciation for each other, but also understand that there are other times in which I can better appreciate my significant other. Valentine’s Day creates obligations for couples – obligations that are completely unnecessary. If a couple cannot show an appreciation and affection for each other on a recurring basis, then perhaps they should not be together to begin with.