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Is The Day Of Love Living Up To Its Name?

Are you a Valentine’s lover or a hater? Couple or singleton? Expecting the postbox blocked with cards or rather set fire to Hallmark? I’ve just written an article about the increasingly ‘love it or hate it’ topic of Valentine’s Day for The News Hub. Click here, or on the link below to make up your mind about whether Valentine’s Day is a day of joyous romance or a commercial thump in the heart.

Valentine’s Day

valentines_day_wallpaper_by_exclusiveyash-d4ph6yg-2

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6 thoughts on “Valentine’s Day – To Love It Or Hate It?

  1. Similarly, I appreciate your writing but disagree. Your anti-Valentines sentiment seems to be solely predicated on the nefarious marketing. I hope in that case you are intellectually consistent and similarly hate Christmas (how dare they target nuclear families), children’s toys for the ad’s heteronormativity (action figures for boys, dolls are for girls), almost all music videos, and, well, basically everything because marketing is desperate to capture the largest consumer market. Should coupled people feel bad because all pubs/clubs advertise to singles? If anyone is looking to advertising to define their happiness, they’re going to need a better therapist.
    To blame a holiday for the ads is like blaming McDonald’s for not being skinny (do they ever feature a fat person?).
    Also, in a post supposedly defending women, it seemed disingenuous and condescending to paint women as being more “susceptible” to the marketing’s cunning attempts to define their self-worth.

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    • Thanks for the feedback. You are right that my gripe is predominantly with marketing, which in my opinion is pervasive to the point of saturation – making it an unavoidable by product of any holiday, not just Valentine’s day. If you go back one or two blogs you’ll also see that I am ‘intellectually consistent’ and that I’ve also critiqued the unethical manipulation of collective grief and nostalgia in Christmas advertising and marketing. In most respects, I would agree that the holidays are symptomatic of the problem, rather than the problem itself, and of course you are quite correct that the vast majority of marketing is cynical and manipulative.

      I find Valentine’s an interesting (slight) exception because whereas Christmas has become inclusive to the point that – as you pointed out in another comment – almost anyone can celebrate it (mainly due to its disassociation from its Christian origins and mass commercialisation). I lived in the Middle East for six years, and Christmas was celebrated there – at least at the level of collective celebration and gift giving – even amongst the Muslim and Hindu communities. I would also argue that your argument about Christmas is slightly disingenuous, as we are long past the days of marketing being targeted solely at nuclear families – with entire segments of shopping channels being devoted to gender-specific, relationship-specific, age-specific gifts, and mainstream advertising clearly broadening their field by targeting societal sub-groups ranging from couples to pets. I also do share a deep-rooted disappointment in the arbitrary assignment of gender roles via the toy industry, and believe that this is just one of many extraneous forces that contributes towards the transmission of limiting gender norms that I can say from first hand experience in the teaching profession are extremely damaging and marginalising to anybody who fails to conform to them.

      As for McDonalds, their constant depiction of skinny models in their adverts is an eschewing of their corporate responsibility (that they obviously don’t give a shit about), as is their perpetual use as sponsors for events such as the olympics and world cup, where I’m pretty sure none of the athletes rely on their malnutritious detritus for their peak physical conditions. And I also happen to think that McDonalds, or any other advertiser, does have a responsibility to be honest about the nutritional content of their products – and whilst they are not the cause of obesity and diabetes, they are certainly catalysts in the process, and they actively choose to ignore the reality of regular consumption of their products.You’re totally right – we will never see a fat guy chowing down on a burger in a McDonald’s ad – anymore than we’ll see an obese diabetic injecting insulin in a soft drinks ad.

      Women are more susceptible to marketing not because of any constitutional or biological failure on their part, but because they are systematically targeted by so many external influences in an attempt to attenuate their self-confidence and self-worth. Compare the front of a copy of a magazine like Cosmopolitan with the front of a ‘Men’s Lifestyle’ magazine like GQ or Esquire, and you’ll see that women are bombarded with messages that they need to change the way they look, they need to be sexier, they need to be better in bed, they need to lose weight, they need to talk differently – whilst the men’s magazines serve women up for objectification. This is why women are more susceptible, not because of a lack of strength, but because they are the victims of a society that despite gigantic strides, still contains residual forms of gender-based oppression and discrimination within it – pushing women to feel bad about themselves, and men to treat women like commodities.

      Thank you very much for your comments, they made me think a bit harder about the beliefs underpinning my writing and also think about my ideas from a different standpoint. I hope you head back soon.

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