• Fri. Mar 1st, 2024

It’s time to change how we think about Valentine’s Day

ByKaty Minko

Feb 14, 2018

Our final edition as Editors in Chief has come, and it couldn’t have fallen on a better day. Over the last few months we’ve put our hearts and souls into the newspaper, and even though we will enjoy our new-found free time, it’s a sad feeling to know The Student will no longer be our own. We’ve really grown to love the paper and everyone involved, and while it’s not the kind of discombobulating romantic love Valentine’s Day commodifies, it still deserves to be celebrated.

Nearly 2,500 years ago, Plato conceptualised two types of love: Vulgar Eros, the carnal kind born of Cupid’s arrow which often leads of heartbreak, and Divine Eros – a love that transcends sexual attraction, which we now refer to as Platonic love.

Plato championed this form of love, which in this post-Weinstein era we should perhaps be paying a little more credence. For too long, the heteronormative, gender-polarising holiday of St Valentine has been about the romance and chivalry of a time when conjugal rights and the patriarchy were an all too real problem for women.

Talk of abolishing all of the outdated connotations of Valentine’s Day has been going on for years, but especially after the media explosion around sexual assault in Hollywood, ironically the source of rom-com blockbusters which paint boy-meets-girl as an innocent and universally joyful experience. Could it be that we’re finally at a place where we can reinvent the holiday?

Perhaps instead of preserving the ritual of spending Valentine’s Day with your significant other, saturating it with often premature amounts of lovey gushiness, we should be celebrating the longstanding love which we have for our friends and family. Valentine’s Day can even be damaging to budding relationships with the immense emotional pressure that the holiday comes with.

While recent years have seen the rise in popularity of alternative holidays such as Galentine’s and Palentine’s, maybe we should be taking this a step further. So often they’re dismissed by those in relationships, considered a consolation prize for those who are less lucky in love. But how often do you get the chance you tell your friends just how much you care about them? Couples have all the time in the world to go on date nights and confess their undying love for each other with love letters and bouquets of roses. So why not give the florist a break this year and instead use the day to show the people in your life who support you the most just how much you love them?

How often do you get the chance to devote a whole day to spending quality time with your friends, those who have supported you through everything – probably including more than one bad relationship?

Bring your best pal some daffodils or take them out for brunch – you have the rest of the year to devote your undivided attention to your significant other, but for this one day you can give it to somebody else. Write a heartfelt letter to your pal, quote some Sylvia Plath, have a movie marathon and celebrate them for all the times they’ve picked you up from a low. You might even have a little cry, but that’s okay. If there’s one part of the tradition we should be embracing, it’s the unashamed and unlimited sharing of emotion which becomes socially acceptable for this one day of the year.

Valentine’s Day needs a revamp: the modern world and its obsession with the perfect romantic relationship puts enough pressure on couples as it is, and often puts celebrating your friendships on the backburner.

In the wise words of Kylie Jenner, 2016 was the year for ‘realising things’ – well, 2018 is the year we take that bulletproof philosophy one step further, and realise that in the vast majority of cases it’s our friends who have shown us the unconditional love which Hollywood usually reserve for the gorgeous cis hetero couple.

I’m not saying you should totally turn your back on your partner – so long as you’re not the types for PDA, you could even bring them along. All I’m saying is, there’s more than one kind of love, and it’s important not to forget about the people who made you who you the person you are today – now that’s something to celebrate.

Image: picjumbo.com

By Katy Minko

Katy is a former Editor in Chief, before which she was Features Editor. She is a 3rd year MA English Literature student.

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