|In email from Modcloth|
|from Banana Republic|
Galentine's Day was born in a script for the 22nd episode of Parks and Recreation that first aired on NBC on February 11, 2010. In the episode named for the newly invented holiday, the holiday is presented not to supplant Valentine's Day but to offer a supplement to it. It sets aside February 13th as the day to celebrate women's friendship,with gifts and gatherings.
As someone who has never watched the program, I had not heard of Galentine's Day until a couple of years ago when businesses started to latch on to the day as cause for marketing clothes, cosmetics, brunches, etc. In fact, this year, I already received emails from the likes of Target, ModCloth, Gap brands and Olay with messages like the ones I copied here.
Clearly, marketers know an opportunity when they see it (even if some publications on marketing have failed to take note) and by 2019 Galentine's Day is a marketing holiday in its own right. Granted, Galentine's Day has not yet made it to the status of being counted among the holidays covered by National Retail Foundation (NRF). However, the force behind the Galentine's Day movement is a factor in the revision of Valentine's Day itself.
The Evolution of Valentine's Day
A 2013 article entitled "The Reconceptualization of Valentine’s Day in the United States: Valentine’s Day as a Phenomenon of Popular Culture"argues that the holiday was reborn in the US in 1840s, largely due to the rise of marketing, which extended the celebration through the promotion of gifts and cards: " Even though the holiday historically involved primarily young men and women, the range of individuals included in the celebration of Valentine’s Day was expanded in the United States to any and all ages through aggressive marketing techniques directed at both the young and old, consequently increasing the amount of Valentine’s Day consumers."
Certainly, there is no let up of marketing around such a lucrative holiday. This year, the NRF estimates a record-breaking $20.7 billion will be spent on Valentine's Day, and that's even in the case of just 51 percent of people saying this will be celebrating it. That's because those who are spending are spending more, and not just on the red roses and romantic dinners. Cards and gifts for friends and indulgences one buys for oneself are propping up those spending amounts. As the NRF itself observes, the spending patterns for Valentine's Day have changed over the past decade.
The Galentine's Day Factor and Modern Princesses
The change noted by NRF fits well with the timing of the rising influence of the Galentin'se Day Phenomenon over that same period of time. Even for those who do not set aside February 13th as the day to mark the value of female friendships, the attention it -- among other key relationships outside romantic ones -- deserve has taken over a greater share of Valentine's Day itself. For an easily accessible barometer of pop culture, we'll look at the evolution of Disney movie plots.
The cultural shift in celebrating various loves in life can even be seen in Disney movies of this period. While the classic princess stories, starting with the 1937 Snow White, had always culminated in finding her prince, that has also evolved. Let's look at 2010: in Tangled, Rapunzel does meet a man she falls for her, he is not a prince, and they do not even commit to marry by the end of the film. So there is some deviation from the classic romantic plot there. By 2012, there is no romantic interest interest offered at all for the heroine of Brave who is motivated by her love for her family. But the really big change arrives the following year in Frozen in which the trappings of romantic love are presented only to be rejected, and the transformative power of true love is shown to be the bond of sisters.
True love, no longer the province of a princess bride now can be taken to apply to friends and family, and so Valentine's Day itself is being redefined as a holiday of love that is not bounded by romantic tropes. Of course, marketing will take advantage, and we even have sellers who can take advantage of those whose spending is devoted to "anti-Valentine's Day" gifts.