The Pioneer

Valentine’s Day is overrated

Tawny Pederson,
Contributor

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Not your typical hate from a girl without a date

As a little girl, I always thought, “Why can’t we just have a second Thanksgiving instead of Valentine’s Day?”

Growing up, I was ignorant to the problematically racist background of Thanksgiving and believed that being with family and eating all that good food was the definite meaning. It warmed and captivated my little heart unlike the notorious Valentine’s Day.

I was a nomadic child. I moved from school to school, and every year I always became “the new kid in town.” Being the new face at an unfamiliar school came with hardships each time like: not making friends or getting bullied because I was seen as different. When the time of year came for Valentine’s Day, I was not prepared for the ill-struck celebration of something so vague and meaningless.

Each consecutive year, Feb. 14 was the day I dreaded the most. Exchanging cards for the commencement of fake love everyone had for each other felt extremely forced. For me, I knew no one desired to give me cards. And yet I’m not that bitter person who hates Valentine’s Day because I’m single. My reasons are justified.

Whether or not you celebrate Valentine’s Day is dependent on your age, income and gender. Roughly 50 percent of people don’t even celebrate this holiday and the ones that do spend roughly $131 each year, according to the National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association that represent retailers.

Valentine’s Day is a $17 billion industry with companies, like Hallmark, 1-800-Flowers and Hershey as the biggest winners on this day, according to Fortune. They also reported that 1-800 Flowers hires 6,000 extra workers to help on the days leading up to Valentine’s Day to market and sell a variety of bouquets. Even the United States Postal Service receives an increase of 5 to 7 percent of incoming and outgoing mail throughout Valentine’s Day week.

Revenue aside, I still feel as if it’s something that should not be celebrated annually. It would be more beneficial to the overall growth of our country if everyone invested the proceeds that they spend on Valentine’s Day into something more realistic like homelessness, SPCA, student debt or even our country’s debt.

I always thought when I got a boyfriend, my antagonism for Valentine’s Day would be defeated but sure enough it did not. Last year, I found myself in a relationship where, like many couples, we treated every date we went on like it was Valentine’s Day.

When the 14th rolled around, I insisted that he should not buy me anything and though I told him not to, he got me a card and we just hung out at home like any other regular encounter. In my opinion, Valentine’s Day is a scheme to show women that in order to be loved the man must tend to the idea that women are materialistic, “gold-digging” beings.

This idea is exemplified through the years that it’s the man’s job to make a woman feel loved especially on one specific day by dressing up and taking her out to a dinner and a movie. And no, there is nothing wrong with that but it’s feeding into the misogynistic, gender-role idealistic society we live in.

Many couples in the Hayward area who celebrate the day find themselves downtown, which is a typical hot spot for a date since there’s a florist, theater and eateries all in walking distance.

“There’s an issue with couples coming in and showing a lot of PDA. A lot of single people come in and want to relax, chill and eat their food but they feel uncomfortable with all the PDA going around,” Malcom, The manager at Rockit Char Grill told The Pioneer, “We do some special Valentine’s day things like a themed milkshake or heart shaped burgers and couples will share that and feed each other or even eat it from each others’ mouths.”

This adds on to the many reasons as to why I don’t like this holiday. PDA (Public Displays of Affection) makes me really uncomfortable whether I’m watching it or even taking part in it. I feel like only holding hands and maybe a peck is appropriate while out with your significant other.

Valentine’s Day brings on harm to our earth and is costly to the average American. You do not have to spend money on your friends, family or lover on this day to make them feel special. Little things every once in awhile will make someone feel very good especially if it’s not on a money hungry holiday. So, when I think of Valentine’s Day, I think of any other day.

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California State University East Bay
Valentine’s Day is overrated