Money can buy me love?
Views 16 | Time to read: 3 minutes | Uploaded: 2 - 14 - 2017 | By: Vanessa Acain
Love is a complicated, intricate emotion that is perplexing if not completely impossible to comprehend. In 1964, the Beatles released one of their most celebrated songs titled, “Can’t Buy Me Love.” In an interview, Paul McCartney stated that the lyrics were meant to convey the message that no amount of money nor possessions can act as a substitute for love. However, McCartney later revealed he believed the song should really be titled, “Can Buy Me Love,” admitting money plays a significant role in achieving happiness.
While love is an emotion attributed to the heart, love appears to actually depend on one’s wallet. Theoretically, constant and conscious effort, connection, and chemistry are significant factors in a relationship. According to Westmont psychology professor Andrea Gurney, human beings seek to establish and maintain connections because we are wired to love. However, the distractions of today’s multitasking and mobile world cause unstable relational and emotional dependence.
Love has been redefined, and seems to depend more so on how much money is put into the relationship. Gurney concludes, “We are missing the mark on the very thing we are created for: loving, intimate relationships.” Particularly, Valentine’s Day illustrates how society has commercialized and created unrealistic expectations love.
Valentine’s Day portrays love as a concept measurable in monetary value. Unmet expectations, empty “I love you”s, and stress fill the air on “the most romantic day of the year.” As consumers are rushing, businesses profits spike. The Greeting Card Association recorded that 190 million Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year and florists produce 198 million roses annually for the holiday. Driven by social expectations, the National Retail Survey recorded that the average person spends an estimated $142.31 on Valentine’s Day merchandise. Cumulative spending reaches $19 billion.
When questioned about the feelings Valentine’s Day evoked, 58% percent of Millennials believe the holiday is overrated and 52% are disinterested. However, 56% still say it is worth being celebrated. Scheinbaum’s study revealed that the majority of consumers are participating out of obligation and not devotion due to “reactance.” Reactance is the social psychology theory which occurs when something threatens or eliminate an individual’s behavioral freedoms. When human autonomy is jeopardized, reactances occur to strengthen or even adopt views or attitudes that are contrary to the individual’s original state of mind. In the case of Valentine’s Day, when commercialized companies and mass media compel individuals to do engage in the holiday, consumers believe free will guides their decisions about purchases,when in actuality, freedom of choice was restricted.
As a result, the majority of people on Valentine’s Day are not participating in the act of love itself but rather a forced declaration of love. Valentine’s Day also enforces gender stereotypes which imply that the males should be the active contributor and females the receiver. A study found that men feel a sense of great obligation on Valentine’s Day, purchasing gifts because “your significant other will get pissed off if you don’t.” But according to a study, while 57%of men think they are supposed to plan the day, 68% of women say the couple should come up with something together. Therefore, the countless Valentine’s Day cards, flowers, and other knick-knacks bought on this day are more harmful to consumers and their relationships, yet more beneficial to marketers. Valentine’s Day is a multimillion-dollar industry that profits off of conveying the wrong understanding of love. Today, the holiday thrives as a time to promote manufactured love—filled with trite greeting cards and ubiquitous heart-shaped candies. True love however, cannot be expressed once a year as part of a superficial holiday.