Don’t cave to commercial pressure on Valentine’s Day

by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña, Mundo Azteca Editor

In Spanish, Valentine’s Day is known as El día del amor y la amistad, which translates to “friendship and love day.”

Growing up, that meant friends and family would tell each other how much they appreciated one another and sometimes exchange little gifts.

Love was celebrated among all, not just people who were in romantic relationships. But Valentine’s Day had a different meaning.

Today, Valentine’s Day is aimed at couples and makes some people feel lonely if they don’t have someone special.

San Diego State’s bookstore sells sponges shaped as men called “Grow a Boyfriend” that grow when placed in water.

Why would anyone want to grow a little red spongy boyfriend?

“First of all it’s a bit creepy to say let me grow a little red man in water,” English senior Jasmin Polloni said. “Second of all, why are you assuming I need a boyfriend? What if I want to get myself some chocolates or some flowers, but now I feel pressure to buy this little red man?”

Polloni said that the way Valentine’s Day is portrayed on television and in stores is all about buying things for a significant other.

“It’s about getting your significant other this and that,” Polloni said. “It makes single people feel inadequate.”

Music education junior Marissa Aguirre said she believes that Valentine’s Day is commercially aimed at women.

“Some women might dislike Valentine’s Day because they might feel they don’t have someone special to spend it with,” Aguirre said. “Some men might feel relieved because they won’t have to spend money.”

According to the National Retail Federation, U.S. consumers spent a total of $19.7 billion in 2016 for Valentine’s Day and are expected to spend $18.2 billion this year.

“People should be showing their love for one another each and everyday,” psychology senior John Almario said. “One shouldn’t wait for that special day of the year to go big.”

Why let society make you feel lonely or inadequate simply because stores want to sell more?


Instead, think about celebrating Galentine’s Day on Feb. 13 to bring more attention to the importance of friendships.

“Galentine’s day makes women feel empowered through their friendships with other women,” Aguirre said. “It helps turn a holiday that makes some people feel lonely into one that’s inclusive.”

Want to take it a step further?

Don’t go out with your significant other and spend time with your friends, or instead of buying someone a gift, treat yourself or a friend.

“If you choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day, good for you. If you choose to not celebrate that’s good too,” Polloni said. “Valentine’s Day is about love. What’s better than loving yourself, and not needing a little red man?”

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