Born into Brothels a Documentary by Zana Briski

1192 Words5 Pages
“I am not a social worker. I am not a teacher, even. That is my fear, you know, that I really can’t do anything. Helping them to get and education is not going to do anything, but without help they are doomed (Born into Brothels, 2004).” Zana Briski made this statement in her documentary Born into Brothels, referring to the children of sex workers in Sonagachi. This statement exemplifies child saving, a dominant theme in children’s discourse, that portrays children as vulnerable, innocent, and in need of “saving” from poverty and immorality according to a view of a universal childhood (Wells, 2009, pg.28). Child saving efforts remove children from their homes and families and place them in new homes or schools to discursively separate them from their parents (Wells, 2009, pg.28). Therefore, they would have the opportunity to be successful. Saving children based on the western conception of childhood has proved to be ineffective and culturally inappropriate when applied to international circumstances. By examining Zana Briski’s method of saving the children in Sonagachi and reviewing the criticisms of the film, it can be determined that her method of saving the children was unnecessary and contributes to the dominance of western political discourse based on the concept of a universal childhood and what western culture considers to be the “best interests” of the child. This essay will address Briski’s method of saving the children in Sonagachi, explore alternative options to child saving through structural reformation and rights based approaches, and examine how the use of images to save children and the globalization of childhood create political problems on an international scale. Briski’s method is ineffective in that she focuse... ... middle of paper ... ...ng on structural issues would be a better approach to assisting other cultures rather than forcing them to conform to the idea of a universal childhood. Works Cited Jeffrey, C.. "Geographies of children and youth II: Global youth agency." Progress in Human Geography 36.2 (2012): 245-253. Print. Liebel, Manfred. "Working Children as Social Subjects: The Contribution of Working Children's Organizations to Social Transformations." Childhood 10.3 (2003): 265-285. Print. Wells, Karen C.. "Policy and practice." Childhood in a global perspective. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2009. 28-31. Print. Wells, Karen C.. "Children and youth at war." Childhood in a global perspective. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2009. 152. Print. Wells, Karen C.. "rescuing children and children's rights." Childhood in a global perspective. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2009. 168-169. Print.
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