Is Valentine’s Day a commercialized hoax? Or is it a day full of real love? Where do you stand?

Are you going to read a romance novel today? Do you ever read romance novels? And will your stance on Valentine’s Day determine whether or not you will read a romance novel, or watch a rom-com, or do anything else romantic, today?

Valentine’s Day

Personally, I think Valentine’s Day can be a commercialized nightmare of loneliness, or a day to celebrate love, depending on who you are and your general disposition, as well as your current life circumstances. Truly, the holiday spurs one of those is-the-glass-half-full-or-half-empty types of debate, to which there is no real answer. The answer can be whatever you want it to be, and there is ample justification for both sides, depending on what you’re looking for, and your current perspective.

But I say, if you want to buy yourself roses, then do it. If you want to eat a box of chocolates while you watch or read Pride and Prejudice for the millionth time, then do that. You shouldn’t, however, rain on others’ love parades. That I can’t abide. Love is love. And the world needs more of it right now, regardless of whether you’re bitter or not.

So what if this is the only day someone’s significant other is romantic toward them? Let them be. So what if this is one of the only days of the year that we see the word “love” everywhere? Is that really so bad? Sure it could be better. What couldn’t be?

Just remember that there are other ways to show love and affection that have nothing to do with buying things. So if the pressure to buy something is what makes you ornery on a day like today, perhaps it’s your perspective that’s tainted and a bit negative. Instead, use your imagination and come up with something that expresses how you feel about someone you care about in an authentic way. No one ever hated receiving an authentic or sincere love letter, for example. Or if you’re bitter about a recent breakup or never seem to have a paramour, enjoy the time to yourself instead and look inward instead of outward, to discover more about who and what is meaningful to you, instead of everything and everyone you’re bitter about.

Romance Novels

In recent years I’ve learned that romance novels aren’t always full of fluff after I let myself start to read them without judgment. As many of us know, romance novels are often full of repressed desires and longings. And that is nothing to laugh at or mock.

It should be no surprise then that romance novels are mostly read and written by women, who too often have repressed desires and longings. And I think that while we enjoy our romance novels or films today, on the day of love, we should also consider why that is. Why is it that women are the main audience for romance novels and Valentine’s Day? Surely men have romantic desires and tendencies, too… no? So why is it that romance novels are often discarded and not taken seriously in our society, especially by men and those in academia? We should consider this and what it means.

Should romance novels not be considered among those novels that tell us a lot about our society and its dynamics and mechanisms? And might we not glean the same type of understanding from a day like Valentine’s Day, which is typically intended for and marketed for women and more “feminine” inclinations?

Today on Valentine’s Day, I want more people to make the day about what it should be about, as they see fit— a celebration of love in all its forms and complexities. And start to consider how it can be a holiday that isn’t market-driven but tailored to all individuals, not just women.

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