Valentine’s Day: For the Love of Money

Valentine's Day: For the Love of Money

A.J. Miller, Reporter

“He stepped down, trying not to look long at her, as if she were the sun, yet he saw her, like the sun, even without looking.” – Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Valentine’s Day was this past weekend, and with it came the avalanche of media, commercials or otherwise, telling everyone that the only way to be happy on this day is to shower your Chosen One with gifts of chocolate, money, and rings. This portrayal of love as being nothing more than a motivator to throw gifts your Special One’s way damages the entire concept of love. That’s not to say that love can’t be expressed through gifts, but rather that Valentine’s Day at present, encourages couples to value not their love for each other, but the monetary gifts they give to each other, all while presenting a false vision of love.

Valentine’s Day is marketed relentlessly through all of February, and without fail these adverts center around spending money in some way. While I can understand where these adverts come from (all companies need to make money after all), they have tricked an entire generation into believing that love simply cannot exist unless both parties spend as much money as possible on one another. While there’s nothing wrong with spending money on your beloved, these adverts act as if copious amounts of spending is inherently linked with love. Some of these ads go to the extreme of claiming that buying their product is the only way to prove you ‘truly’ love your soulmate! This, of course, is not true, but raise a child whose only exposure to love is through advertisements on chrome screens and you can see the danger.

Love is much like the quote above, something that you can’t look away from, even if you try. It’s a deep, complex thing that many don’t comprehend the power of. Valentine’s glosses over all complexity and presents love as the most simple thing in the world, where one person loves another and then they’re in love and then it’s perfect forever until the end of eternity. While it’s nice every now and again to escape into a world where that is all that love is, it’s dangerous to dedicate yourself to that illusion, yet many on Valentine’s and the weeks leading up to it do just that. This is dangerous, as it sets false expectations for relationships, and one thing the world can do much better without is more false expectations.

Valentine’s in it’s current state is a crude glorification of money and escapism. While both money and escapism have their places in this world, linking them with love and then glossing over all the complexities of love can lead to nothing but, ironically enough, heartbreak. So how can it be fixed? Well first companies have to treat the day itself as more than another way to milk out a few more dollars, and everyone needs to try to present a meaningful representation of love, not a watered down version that skips all the complexities and fills the gaps with escapism. Do this, and Valentine’s may start meaning something again.