Valentine's Day Haters: I'm Not a Brainwashed Moron for Sincerely Loving the Holiday

What women really think about news, politics, and culture.
Feb. 14 2014 1:49 PM

Leave Cupid Alone, You Snobs

I'm not a brainwashed moron for sincerely loving Valentine's Day.

It's become fashionable to sneer at Valentine's Day and to mock those who celebrate it. So fashionable, in fact, that in 2011 Torie Bosch felt compelled to defend the day of romance. In honor of the holiday, the article is reprinted below.

469002943-valentines-day-chocolate-treats-are-displayed-at-the-le
Who doesn't love a little something on Valentine's Day?

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

I'm almost afraid to say it: I have plans for Valentine's Day.

And I don't mean ironic, anti-Valentine's Day plans that attempt to reclaim the holiday for feminism, for singletons, for the smart and skeptical and disaffected. My longtime boyfriend and I have sincere, romantic plans. If I'm lucky, there may even be chocolate and flowers involved.

Torie Bosch Torie Bosch

Torie Bosch is the editor of Future Tense, a project of Slate, the New America Foundation, and Arizona State that looks at the implications of new technologies. 

Advertisement

Among my friends and colleagues, admitting to enjoying Valentine's Day is about as socially acceptable as including "obey" in your wedding vows: Both seem to demonstrate subscription to outdated, narrow-minded views of romance. For the quintessential example of this anti-Valentines sentiment, I turn to 30 Rock's Liz Lemon, who said in a 2010 episode, "Valentine's Day is a sham created by card companies to reinforce and exploit gender stereotypes." The anti-Valentine's Day crowd is so enormous—look at the movies, the books, and, most of all, the trend pieces and angry tweets—that feeling smug about seeing through the holiday is now akin to feeling superior about buying organic. And a strain of hypocrisy runs through anti-Valentine's Day sentiment as well, in the form of the many profit-seeking ventures that capitalize on the Cupid hatred.

My objection isn't so much about the single folks who find Valentine's Day alienating, a reminder that they don't have a partner. If you're single and unhappy about that, of course it's somewhat upsetting to see so many celebrations of romantic love. Instead, I'm talking about the couples who say they are "above" Valentine's Day. You know what I'm talking about: those who sniff, "We think our love should be celebrated every day" or "I don't need Hallmark to remind me that I love my wife." They make a big deal out of not making a big deal out of Valentine's Day.

In my experience, these Valentine's Day opponents mostly see the holiday as something for the masses, a fake celebration crammed down our national throat. Their pride comes from their ability to resist marketing, and they wear their objections as an emblem of their savvy. A 2008 blog post on the site Credit.com goes through retail estimates of how much the "average consumer" will spend on Valentine's Day, then says, "But then we're not average consumers, right?" The anti-Valentine's Day couple likes to remind you that they are not average consumers. Part of the Valentine's Day hatred is not so much about actually disliking the holiday's crass consumerism—there's no rule that you have to overspend or buy a premade card—than fitting in with a culture of other smart, savvy, pop-culture-and-processed-food haters.

One of the biggest objections to Valentine's Day is that it's widely believed to be a recent invention of the greeting-card industry, with Hallmark taking the brunt of this anti-middlebrow wrath. The accusation is so pervasive that the company has posted on its Web site an article called "Just a Hallmark Holiday? Think Again!"

TODAY IN SLATE

The Slatest

Ben Bradlee Dead at 93

The legendary Washington Post editor presided over the paper’s Watergate coverage.

The Congressional Republican Digging Through Scientists’ Grant Proposals

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Whole Foods Is Desperate for Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again

The XX Factor

I’m 25. I Have $250.03.

My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I’m 25. I Have $250.03. My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.
Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Free Speech

Walmart Is Crushing the Rest of Corporate America in Adopting Solar Power

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 3:13 PM Why Countries Make Human Rights Pledges They Have No Intention of Honoring
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 9:42 PM The All The President’s Men Scene That Perfectly Captured Ben Bradlee’s Genius
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 21 2014 5:38 PM Justified Paranoia Citizenfour offers a look into the mind of Edward Snowden.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.