Ethnographic Notes – Valentine’s (Feel free to edit and add to this post)

strong>Erik

Valentine’s day is a holiday centered around a cultural belief in something called Love. Love is defined as a strong romantic or sexual attraction to someone. Helen Fisher claims that through her research Love can be found in a small area of the brain that also is related to addiction.

http://www.ted.com/talks/helen_fisher_studies_the_brain_in_love.html

There are many aspects to the holiday that is valentines day. In the US there is an emphasis on men providing gifts for the women in their lives. The stereotypical gifts are jewelry, candy, and flowers. In other countries the emphasis ranges from similar to that in the US and in places like Japan roles are reversed and women give candy to men.

http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2013/02/14/celebrating-valentines-day-in-japan/

There is also a healthy tradition of people who do not have a significant other to spend Valentine’s day with to valentines day ridiculing the holiday. Below is an example of such ridicule.

Also those who are single have a tendency to express their distaste of the holiday through humor. Below is a good example. It is a pun on the idea of Valentine’s day being a date on the calendar and the cultural expectation that a person will have an event that they have arranged with someone they are in Love with on the same day as Valentine’s day. These events are called dates as well.

Some of the humor revolving around valentines day includes criticism of the inconsistencies of the holiday. Like in the video below where they point out that giving people things can be a strange way to express an emotion such as Love. This inconsistency is due to another cultural rule revolving around Love. This rule indicates that Love should be for something other than material things. So it can be considered ironic that to celebrate such a holiday by giving gifts.

http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2011/02/12/sarah-haskins-on-a-heterosexual-gift-giving-imperative/

Michele

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Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14 of each year.  It is a day when people so their love to one another.  Flowers, Candy and cute stuff toys are the most common gifts to give.  Most people either have a romantic dinner prepared at home or go out to a restaurant for dinner for their significant others.  It is the women in United States that receive the flowers, candy and cute stuff toys from men. Men usually always only send these gifts to their significant others and not to friends and family.

teen-girls-valentines-day-gift-tray-cu

Valentine’s Day is also for families and friends to also show their love for one another.  Candy and cards are also common gifts to give.  All friends and family show their love in different ways for that day, but like the romantic couples it is only women who usually receive these gifts and it is usually women who send them to their friends and family.

Although most people show their love for each other every day of the year, it is on Valentine’s day that we all show the love that we have to everyone that we care about.

Emilee:

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St, Valentines day, more commonly known as Valentine’s day, takes place on Earth in many countries including the United states. It is an annual ritual celebrated by many people as a way to express what they call “love” for a significant other. Love is a word that earthlings use to describe an emotion of great fondness that they feel towards family members or other people in their lives. Couples celebrate Valentine’s day by doing things such as dining out as a couple in restaurants. In America, it is common for the male partner to buy his girlfriend or wife flowers, candy, and other gifts to show his affection on Valentine’s day. Although, a researcher at the University of Texas at the Austin College of communication conducted research which showed that women tend to feel more compelled than men to buy gifts for numerous people in their lives. Women will often buy gifts for their mothers or other people they feel great affection for on Valentine's day.
images

The ritual is established in early childhood in places like school (public education system for children) were children exchange cards and candy with both sexes. This could explain the gender neutral attitude that women have towards the holiday later in life. Still, American studies like the National Retail Federation report have shown that men tend to spend more money on Valentine’s gifts than women. This could be due to societal pressures that encourage the ideology that a person’s success can be measured by how much they are able to spend on their loved one on holidays. Some women also put pressure on their partner’s to spend lavishly as either a way to get what they desire or because they believe that the amount spent will provide evidence of their partner’s love.

Works Cited:

“DEPARTMENTS.” Gender Roles Escalating for Women on Valentine’s Day: Women Buy Gifts for Several People, Pets, Self. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 May 2013.

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