Wednesday, December 19, 2007

UNICEF Photo of the Year 2007

Stephanie Sinclair snapped this photo which is UNICEF's Photo of the Year for 2007. Is this 11 year old girl the 40 year old man's A) daughter B) niece or C) soon to be wife. This is culturally intolerant of me, and I am imposing my own values which have been formed by my Western experiences, but I think an 11 year old girl marrying a 40 year old man is wrong.

Point one, it's not her choice, her family is poor, and needed the money.

Point two, marrying a young daughter away for money is a good way to rid yourself of a burden, as women are treated as second class people.

Point three, I'm guessing, but I would imagine 11 may be physically too young to birth children well.

On point one, I don't think poverty is a good excuse for selling your child away to birth children. Is there any good excuse for doing what is done? UNICEF estimates that there are about 51 million girls aged 15 to 19 who are forced into marriage. I don't care if it's religion, or culture, or economic circumstance. I think this practice is wrong.

On point two, this may be a side effect of culture, that women are viewed as second class, but something must be done to reverse this trend. Will education or economic assistance help? And, who are we to judge? We still question whether a woman can be president of our country, and women still earn 76.3 cents to the dollar for their male counterparts. At least we can put a feather in our cap that we don't arrange marriages for our daughters for a price. I really hope that site is fake.

On point three, girls who are 10 to 14 are five times more likely to die in labor then others. 150,000 teenage girls die due to complications.

Granted, these marriages are illegal in Afghanistan, where these two were married. However, that hasn't stopped the practice. Is it tradition, is it out of necessity? But, I'll stand from my pompous American throne, and condemn the practice of child marriage wrong.


Anna said...

Point four: this is tantamount to sexual abuse of a child.

Most young adult women, and perhaps a majority of 40-yr olds would not fancy having sexual relations with him. For an 11-yr old child it would almost certainly be quite traumatic.

It is hardly surprising that a society that devalues females would be quite content with the marriage. Even Christian fundamentalists would probably be quite content -- after all, they are to be *married*.


Howdy do, Bjorn & Jeannette,

I just thought moi'd make a video comment about your Dec. 5th, Blasphemy, blogging

Stay on groovin' safari,
Tor Hershman