Is Valentine’s Day outdated? | ActionAid UK

A new poll shows more than half of UK adults won’t be celebrating Valentine’s Day this year. Is Valentine's Day on the way out?

Our Valentine's Day poll revealed that attitudes to women's independence may be changing
Our Valentine's Day poll revealed that attitudes to women's independence may be changing

A new survey reveals more than half (55%) of UK adults won’t be celebrating Valentine’s Day this year. When asked which words they associate with the day, 69% said ‘over commercialised’ and 21% said ‘outdated’.

Just 6% of adults said they found Valentine’s Day exciting, and less than one in five (19%) find it fun. Meanwhile a small number (5%) find the day ‘sexist’.1

This year, it seems a romantic night out won’t be on the cards for many: just 25% said they’d spend Valentine’s Day this year going out on a date with a partner if they were celebrating, while 11% would rather spend time relaxing alone.  

But does this sound the death knell for Valentine’s Day? And what does it say about our changing attitudes in 2020?

Traditional gift-giving no longer a draw

If gift-giving is anything go by, it doesn’t look good for Valentine’s Day: the time of the traditional romantic offering seems to be over.

Only 8% of women said they’d like to receive lingerie on Valentine’s Day, less than a third (30%) would like chocolate, while some (6%) would prefer a donation to a women’s rights charity. 

Almost a quarter (24%) of women would prefer no gift at all, rising to 31% of all adults. 

More women than men say they are ‘self-partnered’

Actor and women’s rights activist Emma Watson recently told British Vogue: 

I’m very happy being single. I call it being self-partnered.”

Our poll revealed many single women in the UK are more than happy to take her lead: 56% said they’d consider themselves self-partnered (‘empowered and happy to be single and content with their own company’).

Far fewer men (38%) said the same

But the feeling of contentment with being single seemed to rise with age: 69% of single adults over the age of 55 said they’d consider themselves self-partnered.

Do women feel comfortable being alone?

Would you take yourself out for dinner alone? Would you feel comfortable taking a solo trip to the cinema… or even on holiday?

Results show that, while we might tend to prefer a little company, many British women don’t flinch at the idea of going solo. 

52% of women said they’d feel comfortable going to the cinema alone, while 39% would take a holiday in their own company, and 35% would enjoy dinner for one at a restaurant.  

Nearly two thirds (65%) of women said they’d feel comfortable visiting an art gallery or exhibition alone — slightly more than men, at 60%.    

 

Women are standing up to say #MyBodyIsMine 

This Valentine’s Day, we’re celebrating the power and independence of women around the world who are standing up to say #MyBodyIsMine

Around the world, too many women and girls are seen and treated as less than men — and too few women are able to stand up and proudly celebrate their rights. 

It’s time for that to change. 

That’s why our #MyBodyIsMine campaign demands that women and girls around the world have the right to be free from violence, to control their own bodies, and to determine their own futures. Will you join us?

Find out more and get involved

 

  • 1. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,034 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 28th — 29th January 2020. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+)

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