Chocolates, candies, jewelry, flowers and stuffed bears – all of these things are Valentine’s Day essentials, but they also share another major commonality: they are all marketed towards women.
Though the national day of love has couples everywhere starry-eyed and weak-kneed, it seems the art of gift giving has only one intended recipient. Advertisements on television, on the radio, and online all boast the perfect gift for a wife or girlfriend.
Love and romanticism is a two-way street – so why don’t we recognize that on the one holiday that champions both?
One possibility could be that there is a double standard concerning gender and relationships. Singleness is more of a woman’s disease, whereas men are taught to take pride in their days as a bachelor.
Everyone notices that girl needlessly lugging that giant teddy bear…. She’s a peacock showing off her look-how-loved-I-am feathers.
It is not uncommon to see women go on faux dates with one another in lieu of a significant other. There tends to be a general hunger that clings closely to the packs of women filling up Olive Garden every February fourteenth. The same is not often seen with men.
All of these perpetuate a relatively old fashioned notion that a woman is to be defined by her relationship and a man is to be defined by his ability to provide. It models the theme that a man must be a predator, hunting, and a woman must be prey to be sought after. This is magnified under the scope of Valentines Day.
It has been stressed to such an extent that it’s even become competitive amongst some women. Any avid social media user knows to be prepared for the incessant, news-feed filling posts showing off all the poorly written haikus and last-minute-Walgreens roses their friends have racked up.
Everyone notices that girl (it’s almost always a girl) needlessly lugging that giant teddy bear and heart shaped balloon all across campus. She’s a peacock showing off her look-how-loved-I-am feathers.
But recent studies are suggesting that we are moving away from this commercial view of the holiday. A national survey for WP Diamonds, conducted by Impulse research shows that only 14 percent of people report wanting extravagant gifts for Valentines Day, and the majority, 46 percent, say that they want a romantic evening.
This may go to show that people also tend to harbor kind words and intimate moments to tweet or Instagram to our followers.
It’s not atypical human behavior to gloat – it can actually show a healthy amount of pride. But when that braggartism is based on ideals from the same system that believes a woman is a prize to be won, then it may be time to rethink our impulse to share.
Valentine’s Day has become so centered on pleasing those of the female persuasion that women who want to buy presents for the men in their life often encounter much difficulty. After all, guys don’t tend to look so great in Kay Jewelry.
But the fact that men’s gifts are a niche market doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve them. Anything can be romantic with the right amount sentimentalism. And who doesn’t like chocolate?
What’s an editorial?
The views expressed in this piece are the collective opinions of the GlimmerGlass Staff. The content was collected and written by the GlimmerGlass’ executive editor.