Culture Critique: 21st Century Love

Two weeks ago to date we experienced Valentine’s Day: when every Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat feed becomes flooded with pictures of today’s framed ideal of love. Why do we scroll through consistent photos of pink dresses, ties and wine glasses?

Every girl loves Valentine’s Day as much as the next— well, the single ones don’t, but that’s besides the point—and these constant images of what love SHOULD be are more than just photos on a screen.

They are influential. Men feel as though they need to buy expensive gifts for their significant other, or else they won’t ‘one-up’ the feed of relationships his girlfriend or wife are seeing. This is created through our media, since images of any single person’s life is available at an instant.

Platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter produce a plethora of materials framing a so-called ‘perfect’ love life. Snapchat produces open access to articles of love telling you stories of ‘10 Ways to Know Your Boyfriend is Cheating’ or ‘This is How You Know He’s the One’— not exactly, but you get what I mean. 

Instagram produced ads for lingerie in ‘preparation’ for Valentine’s Day. Pop-culture has created this image of a day that costs money and must be lavish, but also that everyone needs to know just how lavish it was. Why has no one stepped back and thought, “Why am I putting a picture of my boyfriend on my Snapchat story? What am I proving and to who?” 

I’m sure everyone is as guilty in doing that as I am, but really step out of the box and look at this with me.

Where did Valentine’s Day come from? According to the BBC, Valentine’s Day got its name from an undercover matchmaker in third century Rome who arranged marriages after “Emperor Claudius II banned marriages because he thought married men were bad soldiers.”

St. Valentine was soon discovered and thrown in jail where he fell in love, sending the jailer’s daughter a letter saying “from your Valentine” on Feb. 14— the day of his execution.

This was an act of pure love, no photos taken or dinner and gifts bought. St. Valentine exhibited the exact point of Valentine’s Day— love.

Instead of the media framing love as an expensive day, they should be framing it as a day of appreciation. A day to express our gratitude for the people who make us, well, us. We need to realize how we’ve morphed Valentine’s Day into a commercialized nightmare.

Anyway, I will stop babbling, I just hope that everyone will take a step back and view the larger scope. If you are loved in any way, you have every right to be happy on Valentine’s Day. 

For the record girls, try to cut the boys some slack next Valentine’s Day, and instead, appreciate all the love surrounding you.

About Susanna Granieri 76 Articles
Susanna Granieri is a fourth-year journalism and digital media production major. This is her fifth semester with The Oracle. Previously, she worked as an Arts & Entertainment Copy Editor and Sports Editor. She is passionate about journalism and being a watchdog for our local issues and news in the Village of New Paltz. She has also written for the Legislative Gazette, the Southern Ulster Times and Being Patient. She will continue her journalism career in the fall of 2021 at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.