About Alison

A feisty mother earth type, who has an opinion about everything I would like to think I use my "chopsy" attitude to throw some light and perhaps a new slant on current social and cultural issues.

Since I moved to the country for a quiet life I have been lucky enough to create a more healthy more relaxed environment for myself. I love country life, Family, Friends, Horses and Dogs. I also love, photography, writing/chatting and connecting with others.

Please have a look at a collection of my photos blog,


or join in on my chats here or on my otherblog


which follows my efforts to learn to ride and care for horses in my 50s! or just follow me on Twitter and I will follow you back (if you are a real person) on @alisonbarton1. Enjoy and talk to me.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

All that glitters is not beautiful !

I have sat on some thoughts for well over a week and now need to write about them and move on. It started with of all things the Lib Dem conference! I am not a party political animal, but it would be a lie to say I am not political. I do have to admit to being an instinctive reactionary unsophisticated “political being”. I care about protecting the vulnerable, being led with integrity and people being encouraged to reach their potential, by working hard.

I initially wanted to write a response to a fellow Twitter, not feeling I could explain myself in 140 characters. The “discussion” started with the  report that the  Lib Dem conference were seeking to ban” page three” and other “glamour” type material being published, my knee jerk reaction was, along the lines of a question on Twitter of haven’t they more important issues to discuss, like child cruelty, animal cruelty and banking integrity. A fellow Tweep, responded, informing me, it was about, disrespect to women = abuse. Well ok.  Why did the tweet annoy me? To the point that I knew, not to respond while bathed in red mist. I felt I had been misunderstood, not difficult on Twitter, but it was irritating.  I thought I would reply and justify myself in my blog.

I knew a thing or two about Domestic Abuse and related matters and wanted to establish my credentials. Then I held back, I’ve left that life (as a professional you understand) I am not a survivor of abuse. I felt myself being drawn back into it and for what, because my ego had been dented, someone I didn’t know was, advising me, putting me right, I was quite honestly indignant. It’s ridiculous, I am sure we both feel very similarly, about the protection of the vulnerable, it was probably just the restrictions of 140 characters left room for a miscommunication. Can I say now I think I experienced an overreaction. I felt told off about a subject I care about and embarrassed that someone, anyone would think I was insensitive to the issue.

I am trying to avoid justifying myself out of indignation and an “I know better attitude” but my feelings about the “page 3 debate” haven’t changed. In an ideal world perhaps we wouldn’t have bare breasted women in newspapers   page three or otherwise and Sex wouldn’t be used to sell everything from Cars to chocolate. Our children are inundated with sexualised images and behaviour, you only have to watch a performance of Rhianna on X factor, as proof. Little girls and boys see that, as X factor and the like is “family entertainment”. My issue was that the Lib Dem conference chose to debate this page 3 issue not to ban it but to protect children from being exposed to it, in an effort to impact on violence against women.

It seemed a convoluted connection, one which I felt had been hi-jacked to try to achieve something with moral gravitas, simple, job done. The photo of one of the speakers, holding  on high an example of Page 3, seemed exploitative and sensational. Wrong somehow. Displaying something that shouldn’t be displayed to prove the point.

How much more useful would it have been to debate, more pressing matters some spring to mind.
1.Human Trafficking leading to sexual abuse of children and adults and also exploitation of these invisible people  in domestic  and commercial servitude , which could be debated with regard to immigration laws. There are examples of people from “respectable” backgrounds finding this acceptable. http://ceop.police.uk/Documents/ceopdocs/CEOP_Hidden_Children_report_2011.pdf
2.Female genital mutilation (FGM)  a violation of young girls, which affects  children from cultures that would find “page 3” disgusting. A practise though is unfortunately affecting girls and families in the UK.
3.Forced marriages again more likely to be prevalent in cultures who would be shocked by “Page 3” and who’s women dress very conservatively and  involves unrelenting pressures on young girls in the UK. Which often involves sexual violence, abuse and at times murder.
4.The true extent of sexual exploitation of children, through the Internet and the cost of investigating and bringing to justice the many offenders. Presently like emptying the sea with a thimble I fear.
These issues are real and affect women’s safety, our liberal society of allowing “page 3” etc does not I maintain impact on women’s safety and their role in protecting their children. There are many more practices on industrialised scales which expose real women and other vulnerable people to cruel and dangerous lifestyles. These are in the main fed by the financial gains available to the organisers of Human trafficking for sexual exploitation and servitude (slave labour), or maintaining control of cultures and traditions which protect the ways or financial stability of those interested parties. Underneath these are undesirable, perverted, criminals who buy these services to feed their greed and vile addictions. This will not detract from the domestic abuser seeking to control their partner or family member by using violence or other forms of intimidation. The myths and realities of Domestic abuse do need to be examined and support provided to those involved.  I feel talking about page 3 etc was just too easy.
Beauty they say is in the eye of the beholder, when I look at a girl in a pose on page three, which I rarely do, I might say, but when I do, I see a beautiful woman. What do you see when you look in a jewellers shop window, fabulous pretty Jewells and precious metals , or the blood sweat and tears its taken to get it there.

All that Glitters is not beautiful!

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Hi I am really interested in your comments so let me know what you think and I will get back to you if you want me to. Thanks for reading
Alison xx