Guatemalan Mother and Child

Guatemalan mother and child480
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3 Essays

  1. Patricia A. Roos | Rutgers University says:

    Women everywhere work to support their families. This is all the more visible in developing societies, for it is in such societies that women's work is absolutely central to the everyday well-being and survival of their families. As is true elsewhere, the types of work they do is sex-segregated. While men often range farther from home, as fishermen, hunters, or migrants to distant cities, women's work is typically an extension of the home and their domestic responsibilities. They cook food, raise chickens, grow vegetables, or weave or sew garments to sell in local markets. In the markets, women can combine their family and work lives, selling their wares at the same time they are watching their children. Indeed, along with their mothers, children are often producers and sellers of the family's food and household wares, enlistees in the family's struggle to survive.

  2. Nail Farkhatdinov | State University-Higher School of Economics, Moscow says:

    The role of colors in culture is rather specific. On the one hand, people do not think much about colors in their everyday life. On the other hand, they pay great attention to them when choosing such goods as clothes and home furnishings. When a stranger visits an alien culture s/he understands that his/her color perception is rather different from the perception of those native to the culture. Natives pay attention to some colors and ignore others. Color perception becomes a part of tradition. These photos depict the variety of colors used by Guatemalans.

    Putting these photos together we can notice that sets of colors used in decorating clothes, buses, and buildings are rather similar, with the palettes of colors being extremely varied.. There are enormous gradations of red, blue, yellow on the clothes, the buildings, and to a lesser extent, the buses.

    These photos illustrate a link between traditional culture and globalization of cultures. We can see people in traditional clothes, but a similar color spectrum decorates the buses. Although vehicles are artifacts of modern civilization, the traditions of the Guatemalans transform them and they are assimilated in the structure of traditions. Buses decorated in this way, far from arousing discomfort in traditional people, become a part of their national culture thanks to this transformation.

  3. Solais01 says:

    From this image alone, I see issues with ideologies, social class, and sexism.That being said, through the use of the marxist/conflict theory(critical race theory), which say that social interactions are associated with power, and the semiology method, which “offers a very full box of analytical tools for taking an image apart and tracing how it works in relation to broader systems of meaning” (Rose 106), I will elaborate on how this image illustrates that in times of socioeconomic shocks parents turn to child labor for help around the house (Vasquez and Bohara 2010).

    Although others may think that this is just an image of a mother and daughter running errands somewhere in Guatemala, there’s always more to this than meets our eyes. Evidently, both are dressed in fairly traditional attire, similar hairstyles, both are carrying things, and even have similar facial expressions. It appears that this could be a regular day for them, but what else is this trying to tell us? Because “our world is organized around practices of looking” and “the power of images is derived both from the shared meaning they generate across locations and the particular meanings they hold in a given place or culture” (Sturken and Cartwright 13), I will use the signs in the image and symbolism to understand, describe, and define the world as I see it (Sturken and Cartwright 18).

    The amount of power that an image alone possess is incredible. There are multiple perspectives to look at a image from. Sturken and Cartwright mention that “visual culture is not simply about images. It’s also about practices we engage in relative to seeing, and about the ways the world is visually organized in relationship to power” (p. 22). This image makes me wonder if this was taken in a specific area to portray their social class. When we look at their hair, it looks messy. Could it be because they were hot and exhausted from running errands or the lack of time and resources to maintain their hair? Additionally, observing the background, the concrete looks worn out and what seems to be a man in old casual clothes, is resting. Something as small as one's appearance and location/background can tell us much more than the image itself.

    After analyzing this image, I perceive sexism. The woman and her daughter fulfill the traditional stereotype of doing the housework, while men relax like the man, I assume, in the background. Also, why is the child carrying something almost their own size instead of attending school? Traditionally child labor has been considered a household response to income poverty (Amin, Quayes and Rives 2004; Jensen and Nielsen 1997; Ray 2002)(As cited in Vasquez and Bohara 2010). Also, boys are more probable to attend school than girls; however, boys are most likely sent to the labor market(Vasquez and Bohara 2010). In some areas, to become a “woman”, young girls will learn to work like their mother.

    Ultimately, this leaves me curious as to why some societies put education aside while prioritizing labor knowing that it will keep them in that continuous cycle. I know because I can relate to this. Growing up in Chicago, things weren’t always pretty; some sacrifices had to be made. As a first generation college student, I hope to break that cycle in my family.

    There is definitely more to the image than what we are able to see. Embedded in the image, issues are present in regards to ideologies, social class, and sexism. Social interactions are, indeed, associated with power. Being able to take an image apart and tracing how it works in relation to broader systems of meaning allows me to reach the conclusion that in times of socioeconomic shocks parents turn to child labor for help around the house (Vasquez and Bohara 2010).

    Rose, G. 2016.Visual Methodologies:An Introduction to Researching with Visual
    Methods, 4th ed.Sage.
    Sturken, M & Lisa C. 2018. Practices of Looking:An Introduction to Visual
    Culture, 3rd ed.Oxford.
    Vásquez, W. & Bohara, A. (2010). HOUSEHOLD SHOCKS, CHILD LABOR, AND CHILD
    SCHOOLING:Evidence from Guatemala. Latin American Research Review, 45(3),