Constructs Of Childhood Analysis

1486 Words6 Pages
Leesa McKenzie 101532630
Constructs of Childhood

How we view children has changed multiple times throughout history and within different cultural contexts, however it’s these constructs that we place on children that directly impacts their developing personalities and sense of self. Reese Sorin and Greta Galloway in ‘Constructs of childhood: Constructs of self’ (2006) argued that there are 10 specific constructs placed on children. These constructs are dependent on the ever evolving social and cultural aspects around us, our own personal beliefs and values and the expectations we as a society place on children. As a future educator, it is important to see through these constructions and understand the implications they may have on children
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Not only does this have a huge ripple effect of children watching TV and being influenced by such advertisements, but it also greatly impacts the way society views and constructs children. The image above, a promotion photo from Lifetime’s Dance Moms, is just one example of the commodification of children on reality television. Through the show the girls are pushed to their physical and mental limits as they are trained by dance coach Abby Lee Miller to become world-class dancers, all the while being filmed to capture every moment of their distress on camera. The final product is simply entertainment to the viewer as they place more importance on the dramatical value of the show, rather than the ethical ramifications of watching children being commodified. This in turn represents the adult’s role as being self-interested, putting little regard on the integrity of the child and more on their own self interests. Dehnart (2012) summarizes that we place social value on pushing children to their limits in the light of a child’s own good or wellbeing. It can also be argued that the children in the image are constructed as victims due to the sexualisation of the children through makeup costume and body language. In some cultural opinions, it is not acceptable to view children in such a manner while in the West it has become more socially acceptable due to the…show more content…
Renior, one of the first impressionist artists to emerge, used bright, vibrant colours and quick brush strokes to portray the natural light, giving the viewer a sense of a romanticised subject captured in a moment of time. In the case of ‘A Girl with a Watering Can’, the girl was constructed as innocent through the bright colours of the foreground, and the porcelain tone of her skin. Renior depicted his subjects, mostly women and children, in an innocent tone in order to sell more paintings, because this technique pleased the viewer and highlighted the subject’s purity. However, in 19th Century France, children were only depicted as innocent through paintings and stories. Realistically, French society during this period placed children into the construct of adults in training as children were taught to ‘care for themselves’ (Grear K 2002). In labouring class families, children were often placed into the work force alongside their parents as child labour was cheap, and before a free education system, children were educated through labour. The adult’s role in this construction was to act as a teacher and mentor, educating the child in the ways of their trade. Because education was not free until later during the 19th century, learning a trade was the only way children learnt to contribute to society and built their individual
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