Social Commentary

Child’s Future for Sale!

We have all been there.

Sitting on the internet scrolling pointlessly through a bombardment of images, bland and anti-climactic.

Then you see it  –

your breathe momentarily stolen by an image that resonates so deeply.

It has the potential to alter your life – enlighten a passionate flame which sends you across the world in a search for what this image means to you. A catalyst for shaping life meaning. This image is now equally a part of you, as it is to the domain you found it on. An intimate connection forged.

This is my image


Now, you may look at this image and question it’s significance. You may recognise the same value I that do, or be indifferent.

Here lies the beauty of interpretation, through the inextricable relationship of denotation and connotation.

This image provokes me, as visually it depicts a minor of a darker complexion slouched over a sewing machine working on garments. This is significant as it highlights the social commentary made by the Red Cross, by connoting significant amounts of children within poverty stricken areas are exploited within the workforce.

Sweat glistens off the young man, contrasted with his dirt stained clothing. The juxtaposition between the child’s quality of attire and that on which he works, comments on the glorification of consumerism within the western world and the reality of our possessions often being developed in sweatshops. He leans on the sewing machines pedal to support his petite frame, as the chair he is assigned is far too tall. This connotes that the working environment was developed for adults and that he has been forced to take on adult responsibilities at a young age.

A lack of workplace safety precautions is evident within his wearing of thongs within the working environment.

Most notably, there is a price tag draped around the child which is red and the same size as the boys torso, thus the focal point of the image.The tag is red, stating SALE marked at $64.99. This is a clear comment about the exploitation of children and the ideals of childhood, by engaging in child labour and/or selling children as slaves, thus commodifying a childhood. A dog like chain holds the sign to the child’s body, representing the burden placed on his innocence and his inability of escaping this cycle of poverty. This highlights the ever-presence of child slavery and the reduced cost associated with ‘purchasing’ a minor for their services, due to their age, lack of skill and typically, families poverty.

This is the significance of my image.

Yet, you may determine that the message sent by the Red Cross differs completely. This is due to differing life experiences, ideologies, values, background knowledge, interpretation of colours and styles and the recognition of image organisation.

Other interpretations and underlying ideologies represented within this image, could include:

1. The discussion of Consumerism and the unethical use of children in making profits.

2. Child Slavery and the effects it has on a child’s future.

3. International Workplace Health and Safety practices and regulations.

4. Lack of enforceability of International guidelines, such as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

5. Commenting on the competitive age of pricing and the effects online shopping and the changing market could have on producers to cut costs.

6. Perhaps this is a figurative, not literal representation of people being slaves to consumerism.

What I see, is the selling of a child’s future –

What do you see?

One comment

  1. Hey,
    I really enjoyed reading this post. I love how you directly engage the reader by asking questions that force them to think of how they perceive the image and the ideas and issues you discuss. I completely agree with your opinion on the issue of child exploitation in the workforce in today’s society. It’s really strange and horrible to know that we are in a country where our rights are protected quite well yet not too far away there are people and children suffering from exploitation and slavery. I think you analyzed the image really well particularly focusing on what the image is commenting on. Makes me wonder why do I deserve this treatment but they don’t? I think you write beautifully and your blogging is great also your level of vocabulary amazes me, you really engaged me in this piece!
    Good job!


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