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The Lennox Herald 19 February 2014

What’s love got to do with it..?  We may well ask as red Valentine’s day hearts  festoon our shop fronts and dining a deux dominates the slightly desperate meal-deals on offer in local eateries.  Love did not have much to do with Beyonce’s duet with her rapper husband Jay-Z at the recent Grammy’s as they crooned about a scene of brutal domestic violence by Ike Turner against his then wife in the Tina Turner biopic, “I’m Ike turner, turn up/ baby know I don’t play/now eat cake Anna Mae”. It was not only the gender inequality implicit in Beyonce’s choice of a skimpy outfit worn alongside her fully-suited husband which drew media attention but the sight of married love disappearing down the drain dragging Beyonce’s newly sampled  feminist credentials with it.  Celebrities like Beyonce and Jay-Z really ought not to sexualise and glamorise intimate partner violence.  Are their creative imaginations so depleted that they are not longer inspired by the joys of love and affection? Have we reached the limits of ‘the moon in June’?  Are media assumptions that there is a voracious public appetite for interpersonal violence correct?   Is sex alone, heaven help us, no longer enough to sell things?  While the conflation of sex and violence and the mainstreaming of pornographic imagery in our popular culture proceeds apace, it does not, however, go entirely unchallenged.
The mass media campaign of One Billion Rising against violence against women and girls is one such challenge.  On St. Valentine’s Day, women and men, young and old all over the world will come together to celebrate women, their lives and their achievements. They rise, they sing and they dance with joy; love is definitely all around when they do.  The  Youtube videos are a treat –  a powerful antidote to the twerking brigade (http://www.onebillionrising.org).
Valentine’s name is derived from the Latin word valens meaning strong, worthy, powerful. He was martyred, say some, for marrying Christian couples at a dangerous time for the new faith during Roman times.  He promoted love and affection in a climate of cruelty and oppression for those who shared his beliefs and way of living.    Just in time for Valentine’s Day 2014, love was definitely in the air around the Scottish Parliament on February  4 2014 when the Marriage and Civil Partnership Bill was finally and  overwhelmingly voted into law.   The love that dared not speak its name publicly until 1980 in Scotland (yes –  1980!) can now also be celebrated in full legal marriage.   St. Valentine may have approved.  Love?  I hear it’s all you need…xx

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