Valentine’s Day in Nepal: Understanding love in the age of consumerism

love couple love in the age of consumerism
Photo: Budgeron Bach/Pexels

In the age of consumerism, you learn and develop your mindsets, expectations, behaviours, and idealised images of a loving relationship based on external factors. In the context of Nepal also, different social media content, blog posts, TikTok videos, celebrity love lives and more have gripped your attention and we too want such idealised love.

As a result, your preferences, comparisons, and choices in a loving relationship are formed on the basis of the symbolic meaning and suggestions you have derived from these sources.

Similarly, you like to replicate the love lives of different social media influencers. When it comes to choosing gifts for your loved ones, you seek expert advice and adhere to their guidelines in a blog post to provide her with the ultimate experience of your love.

So what other impacts do you see in love in the age of consumerism?

Love in pop culture

Dating dating apps
Photo: Pixabay

In the age of consumerism, being in love also becomes useless when the excitement begins to weaken and the boredom of repetition starts to creep in. At that moment, you can “shake it off,” as Taylor Swift reminded you. Indeed, if you cannot make them stay, you can at least shake them off.

Breakups are no more tragic, brokenhearted, or sad.

This kind of pop culture has sent messages such as not to waste your emotions grieving over people, and save your emotions for someone you will find somewhere else. Now, you are better off apart than together. Breakups are necessary to reignite your passion, reclaim control of your life, reconnect with old friends and more.

Likewise, you believe that exchanging various products developed as gifts and engaging in modern-day love rituals would prolong, strengthen, and enrich your loving relationships.

Modern-day love rituals like rose, chocolate, and teddy days along with candlelight dinners, Valentine’s Day gift packages, diamond rings and bracelets make so much sense because the products and services that are available in the market in the age of consumerism can be used to signify and express a person’s quantum of love. The abstract emotion of love is expressed and symbolised through products and services.

Surely, love has become costly

Photo: Dreamsite

In the age of consumerism, you have learned to seek temporary satisfaction from different products and services that make you happy for a moment. You have all become collectors of fleeting moments of love. Rather than being in love, moments in love have become important, and to capture these moments, you need events, situations, and products to signify and symbolise your love.

Hence, there are restaurants wanting you to fall in love with their cuisine, vacations that can strengthen your love, night-outs, romantic dates, and weekly gifts to movie theatres.

It is the age of consumerism, so different portions of love hang everywhere in the market. If you want to enhance your experience of being in love and make it more satisfying and exciting, you must be able to purchase all these products and services.

Love has surely become costly because the feeling of love is not enough. You need to make other people feel your love by consuming products and services available in the market.

As a result, much of human love and relationship in this age is nurtured by an individual’s consuming capacity and purchasing power rather than by genuine passion, sacrifice, a sense of togetherness, trust, support, and tolerance for each other.

Besides, falling in love in the age of consumerism becomes less exciting, repetitive, and meaningless if you cannot buy your portion of love.

Loving as a reflection of consumer behaviour

Love couple shopping
love in the age of consumerism
A couple shopping together. Photo by Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

In the age of consumerism, your ways of loving also resemble how you would interact with any other consumer product available in the market. Loving someone is just a part of consumer behaviour. Hence, falling in love with someone has become like window shopping, where you look for different categories of image, expectation, satisfaction, and anticipation to fall in love–just like you go through a catalogue to find a suitable product with essential features, functions, qualities, possibilities and benefits.

As with any other consumer product, if it serves your purpose, a relationship may last for years. Otherwise, it will be dumped and replaced. If a loving relationship fails to meet your expectations, there is no point in engaging in the difficult tasks of acceptance, accommodations, and conflict resolution.

After all, in the age of consumerism, from the standpoint of a consumer, a loving relationship is interchangeable. Thus, like any rational consumer, you are free to dispose of the other person when you are confident enough to realise that you can now possess an upgraded model than what you currently have. It is nothing personal. It is just like upgrading your smartphone.

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Ojha is a writer, researcher and educator at different educational institutions.

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