Você está na página 1de 8

Vance 1 Ariella Marissa Arditti Vance Dr. Innes Mitchell COMM 3333.01 Sep. 30.

2013 Robbing Children Section One: Introduction As technology allows the world to be increasingly more globalized, various ideologies upheld around the globe have found themselves as both a source of conversation and debate by people chiming in who have varying senses of morality based on their own values and surrounding culture. One such ideology is the old world tradition of child marriage. I chose to examine an article entitled Early marriage robs children of their opportunities by Graa Machel and Desmond Tutu, in which they cover many of the basics of child marriage, what sort of residual and immediate effects happen as a result of it, as well as positive leeways in the fight against what they see as an outdated tradition of child marriage. I believe this artifact is important to analyze, especially with respect to the ideological criticism, because it covers the darker side of a long held tradition that, though is finally being discussed openly, is still practiced in many parts of the world. Debate about whether or not it should be left alone because it is part of a tradition or the belief that all it does is harm children and their future is still a current issue that has yet to find any sort of resolve. The importance of this particular article and the tradition it covers leads me to this research question: How does Graa Machel and Desmond Tutus article critiquing child marriage function to defend an ideology of Western culture, values, and globalization? Section Two: Context

Vance 2 In several parts of the world, including India, Ethiopia, Africa, and the Middle East, a large percentage of underage girls are forced into marriage with a much older man against their will (Fisher). Some of these girls are as young as five years old and these men that they marry can be as young as twenty or as old as ninety. The parents of these girls are usually living in extreme poverty, with multiple children with mouths to feed, little land to live upon, and crammed into very small living quarters. These little girls, many of whom have not even reached puberty with their bodies still in early developmental stages do not have a choice in the matter at all. Their future husbands offer the family of these girls a price for their daughters hand in marriage. Perhaps it could be a meager sum of money or perhaps livestock. In many cases, the family accepts, and with that decision, it brings huge devastation for these girls. In that moment of acceptance, these young, beautiful, and intelligent girls are stripped of their future. All their dreams, all their aspirations- they are gone. Their only role now is to be a wife to their husband. Graa Machel and Desmond Tutus opinion article, Early marriage robs children of their opportunities, is posted on The Washington Posts online opinion section and is written in a very global voice, signifying that though this practice may not be a reality in Western culture, the custom is still widely practiced and does have an effect on the rest of the world. The article opens up with a startling statistic that states that 69 percent of girls in Bihar, a northeastern state in India, are married before they turn 18 years old. If the percentage was not high enough to be startling, the fact that it is so high in a country where the law forbids child marriage, should be. Automatically, the interest of the reader is peaked, and the authors have the article segmented into three separate parts. The first is merely an introduction, including the statistic, and the reason why a vast majority of people in areas that still practice child marriage, are accepting of it. It is tradition; something that has been, currently is, and will always be, molded into the

Vance 3 culture. The two authors quickly make sure to denounce the tradition, and also point out that young people themselves are not in favor of the tradition either. The second section of the opinion piece is a call to action. They ask the readers if we are truly doing enough to stop the practice and salvage the futures of these girls that are subjected to the damaging tradition. This is the section that outlines what detrimental effects early marriage have on these young girls that are only barely starting to develop physically, emotionally, and psychologically. The authors then outline how the effects of these girls lives after marriage negatively impact the rest of the worlds efforts in creating global equality, health, and education for all people. The end of this section details a few of the positive efforts that have already started to tackle the tradition in various parts of the world. The final section of this article follows up the call to action, commending and honoring organizations and governments that have already passed legislation to ban the practice or those that have taken action against it. This section specifically calls out the United States, asking for more support and action for the cause. It once again reiterates why this particular cause is so fundamentally needed across the globe and that the United States can really help to further abolish child marriage, hopefully restoring dignity to girls everywhere. Overall, the article is very well written, concise, and to the point. It presents a global problem and offers a solution, one that all people can take part in. This article was written just a little over a year ago, so the problem is still alive and relevant today. Just recently, a story of a young Yemen girl surfaced who only at the age of eight died due to internal bleeding caused by having sex with her husband of an arraigned marriage who was in his 40s (Al Jazeera and wire services). The issue of child marriage is gaining momentum in that slowly but surely, it is gaining a bigger audience, especially since making

Vance 4 more of an impact in Western culture. More and more people are hearing of this custom and making their own opinion on it due to more news reports about it in mainstream media outlets. However, since the tradition is not practiced in any Western culture, real support for the cause has been slow to grow. Most everyone agrees that child marriage is unfair and degrading, but it is not a problem that they face on a regular basis, or even hear about regularly. The authors of this article are both highly influential and respected people in their own right. Graa Machel is a Mozambican politician, author, and humanitarian. She is also the third wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela and widow of Mozambican president Samora Machel (Graa Simbine Machel). Desmond Mpilo Tutu is a South African social rights activist and retired Anglican bishop who is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and Presidential Medal of Freedom (Desmond Tutu biography). The audience is mostly directed at the United States government because these authors both believe that they have the power to really make a difference in fighting for the cause. In general, however, the article is also presented to those that actively participate in Western culture, believe in it, and are also interested in humanitarianism and especially womens rights. There are little rhetorical barriers faced by the authors, as the article is well written and explains what child marriage is, what it does to those affected, and how one can challenge the status quo. Section Three: Description of Method of Ideological Criticism The method for Ideological Criticism is first set in motion by identifying the presented elements, the rhetorical strategies, and the suggested elements found in the artifact. After that is complete, one must formulate an ideology and identify the functions served by it. The goal of Ideological Criticism is meant to discover various beliefs, assumptions and values held by a person or group of people that are present in a certain artifact. If there is a pattern of these values,

Vance 5 beliefs, and assumptions, one can then determine the way the rhetor(s) perceive certain aspects of the world. The goal these authors had was to showcase and persuade the audience that child brides are harmful to not only the children themselves, but the world in general. The marriages are linked to global concerns like food security and maternal health. The world would be better off by allowing these girls, who all have dreams and aspirations, to be allowed to continue their fight for those dreams, and make a difference in the world. If they are left to be wives for the rest of their life, they will not amount to anything else. These children are robbed of the chance to experience life the way they want to. The authors are also trying to convince the world, and most notably, the United States, to get more involved in the issue because they have more worldly power to actually stop the practice. I dissected the article into three parts and searched for key words, repetition, and the central ideas before applying my analysis of the ideological criticism. Section 4: Analysis of Ideology Western Values Freedom of choice New values Womens rights & equality Educational opportunities Empowerment Children & women Meant to be heard Morally right Protect the young/innocent Old World Tradition Imprisonment without choice Old values Mens rights & patriarchal hierarchy Duties of a wife Servitude Children & women Meant to be seen Morally wrong Children as means to an end, financial burden

Vance 6 This particular article is denouncing the practice of child marriage and includes hints of various ideologies that are present in the table above. The most prevalent ideology behind the article is one of a Western belief system to protect the innocent and the young, the one that cannot fight for themselves, and also a out with the old, in with the new mentality that means forgoing practicing a tradition just because it is a tradition and has been a part of the local culture for so long. This article also includes a feminist ideology, as abolishing the practice would promote equality for woman across the board in education, prosperity, and freedom to decide what is right for their own lives. Women are not a commodity. They are far more valuable. The authors also want to protect the innocent and the young; the girls that cannot stand up for themselves or are laughed at when they tell a judge they want a divorce. All of these ideologies are present in the text and are cohesive to the main idea that the practice should no longer be allowed to exist as is the sentiment of the Human Rights Watch Womens Rights Director Liesl Gerntholtz, "Thousands of Yemeni girls have their childhood stolen and their futures destroyed because they are forced to marry too young (Jamjoom, Mohammed, and Hakim Almasmari). The authors of the article are credible and their writing is straightforward and if information is given, there are links to back-up the claim or statement. The effects of child brides are severe. These girls are more susceptible to living a life of poverty, crammed into small living quarters, no educational opportunities, poor health, and brutal abuse. For some, marriage is the same as death, as Nada al-Ahdal, a young runaway from Yemen expressed in her viral YouTube video. The article encourages those that do not necessarily encounter the problem regularly, to do something for the cause. Those that are forced to marry at such a young age and create global concerns are a threat to the freedoms and values of the West.

Vance 7 The audience is encouraged to react and do something to overcome this tradition to further the values that the West and other budding powerful countries are concerned about. What is compelling about this particular article is that it covers a problem, but offers a definite solution. The writing is positive and fairly light for such a dark subject. But those that are reading this, the intended audience, are likely intelligent, well-read, have heard or know about the subject already, and perhaps are at least middle-class individuals with a little expendable income per month, as this is an opinion piece from The Washington Post. Section 5: Conclusion I found that the plights of these girls who are forced into marriage at a young age do have a link to global concerns as the article claimed. The millions of little girls who are subjected to this practice every year are those that are forced to perpetuate those concerns. Both Machel and Tutu are skilled writers who are able to speak on the matter with certainty. They offer both insight and a solution to this worldly problem. My analysis helped to determine that the authors were mostly speaking to the West, and that these problems are a threat to values of the West. The idea of cherishing the young, caring for them, protecting the innocent and weak, these are all values of the West. Furthering education and health, aspiring and dreaming, these are all values of the West, as well. All of these elements are present in the artifact. This artifact is indeed upholding Western culture, and the idea that one day, those values will, and should be for these girls, spread across the globe. Without looking at this artifact through the lens of an ideological criticism analysis, I would not have noticed that these authors, both from Africa, would be perpetuating the ideals of the West. I would not have read it in their words or what they claimed should be valued. Without it, I would not have made the connection and fully understood their motives embedded in their rhetoric.

Vance 8 Work Cited 11 Year Old Yemeni Girl Nada Al Ahdal Flees Home to Avoid Forced Marriage I'd Rather Kill Myself. Youtube, 2013. Web. 7 Dec 2013. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nzm_rEawbo> Al Jazeera and wire services, "Yemen investigates reported 8-year-old child bride death." Al Jazeera America 13 Sep 2013, Online n. pag. Web. 9 Dec. 2013. <2.http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/9/13/yemeninvestigatesreported8yearoldchildbridedeath.html>. "Desmond Tutu biography." Biography.com. Biography . Web. 7 Dec 2013. <http://www.biography.com/people/desmond-tutu-9512516>. Fisher, Max. "Girls are the worlds forgotten population: Nine facts about child brides." Washington Post Worldviews 01 Aug 2013, n. pag. Web. 7 Dec. 2013. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/08/01/girls-are-the-worldsforgotten-population-nine-facts-about-child-brides/>. "Graa Simbine Machel." sahistory.org.za. South African History Online. Web. 7 Dec 2013. <http://www.sahistory.org.za/people/machel-g>. Jamjoom, Mohammed, and Hakim Almasmari. "Yemen minister on child marriage: Enough is enough." CNN [Sanaa, Yemen] 16 Sep 2013, Online n. pag. Web. 7 Dec. 2013. <http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/15/world/meast/yemen-child-bride/index.html>. Machel, Graa, and Desmond Tutu. "Early marriage robs children of their opportunities." Washington Post Opinions 31 Jul 2012, n. pag. Web. 7 Dec. 2013. <http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-07-31/opinions/35488070_1_child-marriagechild-brides-teenage-girl>.