Red teddy bears for Dh69 in a store Image Credit: Gulf News archives

What you need to know:

  • Social media puts pressure on people to post pictures and spend money on Valentine's Day. 
  • UAE residents discussed how the day of love has changed with the existence social media

Dubai: Valentine’s Day is a day of love, and most people find it special because it’s a day to tell loved ones how much they mean to you. However, on social media, it appears to be just another opportunity for users to post pictures of their dates, fancy presents and proposals, with the sole objective to gain more likes and followers (in most cases).

Has social media hurt Valentine’s Day in a way? Does it put more pressure on those in relationships and those who are not?

Since most people say that it is “all for the ‘gram”, ultimately it ends up creating unrealistic expectations, which can pressurise people to publicise their relationship. Well, it then raises the question - is ‘#love’ all that matters now?

Posting pressure

When 24-year-old Filipino Jason Torion was in a relationship, he felt pressured to share pictures and stories on Valentine’s Day.

He told Gulf News: “My then partner wanted me to. She wanted me to publicise it.” He added that most times, he gave in.

“Once, we went out on a dinner date and took a casual walk. We took a few pictures, and I didn’t necessarily feel the need to post them on social media because I’m not that kind of person. However, my partner would want to have an image of us posted somewhere online for Valentine’s Day. I did it, without thinking much about it.”

...my partner would want to have an image of us posted somewhere online for Valentine’s Day. I did it, without thinking much about it.”

- Jason Torion

Egyptian national Farah Abdou was born on Valentine’s Day, so the significance of it means much more to her. She however feels like the hype has lately gotten out of hand.

“I do see my friends pressured into posting pictures on social media to show the world what they’ve been doing. I think it has become a competition. It no longer is as simple as ‘buy someone a rose or a bouquet of flowers’.”

Abdou said that the concept has become much more expensive. “It has gone to an extent which is crazy. It now is ‘buy her a diamond bracelet, get her a car’!”

It has gone to an extent which is crazy. It now is ‘buy her a diamond bracelet, get her a car’!

- Farah Abdou

She said that people need to celebrate their loved ones every day, not limit it to just one day.

For Shrutika Mathur, being married for six years has changed her perspective of Valentine’s Day and believes that people eventually grow out of the hype. She told Gulf News: “I got married to someone I have known for 10 years. It was a long distance relationship, which is why I thought our first Valentine’s Day, post marriage, should be special.”

She added that once people get more mature, they realise that love goes beyond chocolates and roses. “The only time I posted pictures of our celebration was on our first Valentine’s Day, after getting married. I suppose a lot of people asked me about it and created a hype, which made me feel like my husband and I must do something. At that time I wanted to tell the world how we celebrated.”

The only time I posted pictures of our celebration was on our first Valentine’s Day, after getting married

- Shrutika Mathur

While some people feel pressured, others do not mind posting pictures and think it is something that goes with the occasion. For cinematographer Raunak Ajwani, social media has never defined or influenced his actions. The Dubai resident said: “I was in a serious relationship when I was at university and I did post pictures when we celebrated the day together. But we were not being pressured into it. My partner and I mostly did it because we thought it was cute.”

High expectations

While social media is a great platform to share moments and experiences, most of the time it is curated. People like to only showcase aspects of their life that they would want to convey as part of their social image. In a way, this creates a standard for how things should be. And, whether we like it or not, it does affect us in some way.

Abdou, who is single and has never been in a relationship, admits that social media tends to create an unrealistic expectation of things because people are going more “insane” with their antics.

She said: “It was never that hyped before… it was never about a ‘Valentine’s Getaway Trip’ and these huge extravagant gifts, because this is what I am seeing everywhere. It has become more popular than Christmas.”

She added that her friends in long distance relationships feel bad when they have nothing to post about, on the day.

While Ajwani has not felt pressured by social media, in a way it had at one point made him feel like he was missing out on being with someone because of social media’s Valentine’s Day hype.

He said: “I have distanced myself from many online platforms so maybe I feel a little disconnected because of that. In the past I have felt compelled to find a date for the day but it has not been the case in a long time.”

Torion believes that social media has moulded people to make them seek validation and this becomes a vicious cycle. But he believes that it is important for each to be their own person.