Valentine’s Day isn’t the only time for love
Valeria Velazquez // Contributor
Every year since I was 11, I would hope for a boy to show up on my doorstep on Feb. 14. I would imagine this boy carrying a bouquet of roses, a box of chocolates, and, if possible, have a Mariachi band serenading me in the background. After a song or two he would declare his eternal and unconditional love to me and we would live happily-ever-after. Eventually, I realized that was never going to happen to me—or to anyone for that matter. Not only because no 11-year-old kid can actually afford all of this, but because as I grew older, I realized that this is not the only way to show love.
Love comes in different forms, can be shown in many different ways and shouldn’t have any rules or restrictions. When Feb. 14 approaches, we can see that there are some rules still imposed on us as to how a relationship should be conducted. If we go to a mall or high street like Granville or Robson, we can observe the storefronts full of objects displayed for consumption on this special day. Lingerie, chocolates, fragrances; most of which are for men to buy and women to consume. Men are seen as the ones who should protect and provide for the woman so that the woman can show her appreciation. Expensive dinners and exuberant material gifts are given and then they expect to be rewarded with a kiss, an acceptance of a proposal or even sex. Objects are not just objects, they are turned into symbols of what and how our behaviours and actions should be.
The approach taken on Valentine’s Day in this capitalist system is also very narrow. There is very little representation of the LGBTQ+ community. Everything or most of the things we see going around are designed for a heteronormative society. Couples are not always formed by a man and a woman and we can see how on Feb. 14, the people who do not fit the norm are excluded. This is supposed to be a celebration of love—of all types of love—yet things as simple as Valentine’s cards struggle to feel inclusive. The pronouns, labels and the images on most of them are programmed to fit heterosexual relationships. Recently Hallmark released a series of cards representing same-sex couples. They are one of the first big brands to take that step towards inclusiveness, and although there was some controversy, it was considered a very important step for the LGBTQ+ community.
I personally don’t see a point for the existence of this festivity. It seems like it only serves for unnecessary consumerism, gender roles reinforcement and heteronormativity. Besides, it also sets a date to show love to your special people when you don’t actually need a specific day to do that. Love is to be shown to whoever, however and whenever we want. There shouldn’t be any barriers set to it, so we can start taking steps towards breaking those barriers and making Valentine’s Day be the Love Without Rules Day.