An anti-capitalist guide to Valentine’s Day

Photo created on Over. Photo courtesy Noella Williams

Once Christmas passes, you begin to notice an increasing amount of pink and red merchandise filling the aisles at retailers and online businesses. In other words, Valentine’s Day has arrived.

Although it’s tough to entirely avoid a traditional holiday, the world could potentially be better off without it. Vox did a study on the environmental impact of Valentine’s Day roses, and it’s recommended to purchase flowers from a local florist.

“When we talk about flowers and sustainability, the biggest issue is how flowers get from their point of origin to retailers across the country,” Vox reported. “These flights have important consequences for the rest of the planet. Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, comprising 28 percent of the country’s total emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.”

Along with avoiding large flower businesses, you can reduce your Cupid-influenced carbon footprintby purchasing chocolate crafted with organic ingredients. Palm oil, which is found in most chocolates, is harmful, due to its cultivation methods that lead to deforestation and the destruction of animal habitats. You can find ethically sourced chocolate for your Valentine, here.

It’s clear that capitalism has completely infiltrated most holidays. The first thought for celebrating a holiday– like Valentine’s Day– is something along the lines of, “What can I purchase my partner for this holiday?” Money has arguably influenced the significance of gift-giving, since everyone’s budget is not entirely fit for an expensive romantic gesture. If you have the talent, handmade, well-planned gifts are usually top-tier, compared to something materialistic. Not saying that you should settle for gifting macaroni art and construction paper cards, but free, heartwarming gifts like a curated music playlist or handwritten love note exist.

I adore love and the conversations surrounding love, but it’s obvious that Valentine’s Day is very heteronormative. In the attempt to be seen as diverse and inclusive, many brands are beginning to feature non-white, heterosexual couples. It’s seldom that conversations around the lovey-dovey day discuss queer relationships and asexual/aromantic people. Money-hungry corporations reinforce gender norms with straight, cisgender couples on cards, clothing and other items.

Celebrating romance can go beyond one day. Extend your love past your romantic interest and share it with friends, family and even that one business that you frequently order takeout from. Reach out to your single loved ones that often feel alienated by this holiday. Let’s openly discuss the notion that commercializing something associated with love is the key to subconsciously encouraging the ability to buy love. If you choose to celebrate the holiday, try to support small owned businesses as you’re playing Cupid.