The ways we love | Eurozine

Despite the unknown origins of Valentine’s Day celebrations, historical tradition looks nothing like today’s commodity extravaganza, and we can blame the Hallmark company for that. In 1913, it pioneered the commercialisation of Valentine’s Day with its Valentine’s cards industry, which was later followed by the chocolate, flower, and jewellery industries in the mid-80s. 

While some local variations persist, globalised cultural exports have impacted how Valentine’s Day is celebrated today. It is argued that our perspective on romantic relationships is changing due to this phenomenon and that the ways we express love across cultures fade in favour of Western and patriarchal ‘norms’. 

With digitalisation, dating has begun to take a different shape, and young people are opening up to ideas of fluidity, non-restrictive commitments, and open communication. 

But while some struggle to reform relationships to be more equal and inclusive, some are very upset about it; blaming these changing standards for their loneliness. 

Lovelessness and growing resentment have produced a toxic online culture based on misogyny, where feminists are perceived as being the ultimate problem. We talk love, incels, and why this couldn’t be any more wrong with today’s guests.

Faris Cuchi Gezahgen is an intersectional LGBTQIA* activist, performance artist, and Ethiopian Queer knowledge and culture producer. They are the co-founder of House of Guramayle and the vice-chair of Afro Rainbow Austria; the first organisation established by and for African LGBTQI+ communities in Austria. 

Carin Franzen has been a professor of Comparative Literature at the Department of Culture and Aesthetics at Stockholm University since 2020. In her research, she investigates the history of subjectivity in premodern as well as modern and contemporary European literature and deals with formations of subjectivity. She has published on mediaeval and early modern female writers’ appropriations of subject positions in the tradition of courtly love. 

Leah Jule Ritterfeld is a PhD student in Philosophy at the University of Vienna, doing her research on  Love-less Lives, Isolated Minds: The Epistemic Fallout of Incels. She works on radicalisation, resentment and love from an epistemic perspective.

We meet with them at the Erste Foundation Library in Vienna. 

Creative team

Réka Kinga Papp, editor-in-chief
Merve Akyel, art director
Szilvia Pintér, producer
Zsófia Gabriella Papp, executive producer
Salma Shaka, writer-editor
Priyanka Hutschenreiter, project assistant


Hermann Riessner  managing director
Judit Csikós  project manager
Csilla Nagyné Kardos, office administration


Senad Hergić producer

Leah Hochedlinger  video recording

Marlena Stolze  video recording

Clemens Schmiedbauer video recording

Richard Brusek sound recording

Video Crew Budapest

Nóra Ruszkai, sound engineering
Gergely Áron Pápai, photography
László Halász, photography


Nóra Ruszkai, lead video editor
István Nagy, video editor
Milán Golovics, conversation editor


Victor Maria Lima, animation
Cornelia Frischauf, theme music

Captions and subtitles

Julia Sobota  closed captions, Polish and French subtitles; language versions management
Farah Ayyash  Arabic subtitles
Mia Belén Soriano  Spanish subtitles
Marta Ferdebar  Croatian subtitles
Lídia Nádori  German subtitles
Katalin Szlukovényi  Hungarian subtitles
Daniela Univazo  German subtitles
Olena Yermakova  Ukrainian subtitles
Aida Yermekbayeva  Russian subtitles
Mars Zaslavsky  Italian subtitles

Hosted by the Erste Foundation Library in Vienna.


Valentine’s Day: How Did It Start and Become Popular in the U.S.? by Amber C. Snider, Teen Vogue.

Is Valentine’s Day Just a Capitalist Holiday? By Grace Proctor, Exepose. 

Valentine’s Day: A Global Perspective by Markus Giesler, Huffpost.

Love (and business) unlimited: Valentine’s Day has gone global by Chris Jackson, Ipsos. 

Gen Z-ers and Love: Flutter, Then Land by Hermine Donceel & Dino Subašić, Euranet Plus News Agency.


Related reads

Iris Murdoch and the Epistemic Significance of Love by Cathy Mason 

The Reasons of Love by Harry Frankfurt. 

Cold Intimacies: The Making of Emotional Capitalism by Eva Illouz. 


This talk show is a Display Europe production: a ground-breaking media platform anchored in public values.

This programme is co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union and the European Cultural Foundation.

Importantly, the views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors and speakers only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor the EACEA can be held responsible for them.

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