By Caitlin Bieganski, opinion editor
Cheesy poetic cards, expensive rose bouquets, over-sized stuffed bears, and heart shaped boxes of chocolates; once devoted to love and fertility, St. Valentine’s Day is now defined by mass-produced, costly, material goods.
When February rolls around, couples worldwide begin scrambling to prove their love. Not with heartfelt sentiments and handwritten letters, but with overly priced products that corporations have brainwashed us to believe are the true symbols of devotion.
With an average annual cost of around $13 billion, the holiday has become one of the most emotionally driven marketing scams of all time. This year, spending is predicted to reach nearly $19 billion. Time and time again, guys and girls are duped into feeling obligated to spend money on their significant others.
“They [gifts] are not really a must, but I still think it’s pretty important,” said sophomore Quaid Ross, who plans on buying his girlfriend Julia Sada a gift for the holiday. “It’s usually just chocolate or something, but it makes her happy,” Ross said; however, the purchase of Valentine’s gifts certainly does not justify your love. If you know a Valentine’s gift will please your beloved don’t fall victim to the glamorized mercantile creation that has been set up by large card and candy companies. These businesses create clever ad campaigns designed to take advantage of and exploit your desire to make that special person happy.
For example, Hallmark’s “Put your heart on paper” campaign consists of seven YouTube videos featuring diverse couples and contains enough emotional appeal to make even the toughest guy go out and buy one of their cards. But if you really want to show you care, if you really want to surprise your significant other, break out a pack of colored pencils and some cardstock and make them something unique and special. Or, if you’re lacking in artistic ability, settle for a home cooked meal by candle light.
Furthermore, remember that you don’t need a specified day to tell you when and how to show your feelings for your partner. Love is something more than candy, cards, and flowers. It is a concept that should be felt and expressed all 365 days a year.