Culture Forum

The Changing Face of Valentine's Day: How Millennial values are redefining the landscape of love

Red roses, representing the color of passion. A pink box of chocolate to color code budding love and desire. A diamond necklace in a velvet, heart shaped box. You sit alone on your couch, frustrated that the last three commercials have not been directed at you—you are just trying to watch the game! Unless you are planning on buying yourself roses, chocolate, and diamonds to prepare for the coming holiday, it is immediately clear that these marketing tactics are not at all concerned with your current situation. You are interested in the hockey game, the Margaret Atwood novel on your bedstand, the new Beyoncé song, and that unopened bottle of champagne in your fridge (which you are not waiting for Valentine’s Day to drink). You’re single, and modern marketing just doesn’t care this month.

Approximately 50% of American adults in their 20s are single on Valentine’s Day—a day meant for celebration of personal romantic unions. This marks a major social transformation, considering in 1950 only 22% of this population was single. It also marks a point of reflection: it seems that a holiday that focuses on only half of the “20-somethings” population while silencing the other half by failing to represent these individuals in any way, needs some critical evaluation. Love and intimate relationships are important and desirable events in one’s life, but is this traditional holiday keeping pace with the rapid changes to expressions and conceptions of love occurring in our society?

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