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Symbolic Interaction Essay

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A Perspective of Rural vs. Urban Upbringing

A Perspective of Rural vs. Urban Upbringing
Social themes can differ greatly between culture, ways of communication, social status and even geographical locations. Behaviors amongst human beings can be influenced based upon their surroundings, financial statuses and cultural practices. In the movie “BABIES” directed by Thomas Balms (2009), the examination of child upbringing is perceived through the viewer’s eyes, as the program depicts how children develop based on their different social themes and financial classes.
Depending on your geographical location and your financial class, a parent’s view on the “norm” of child upbringing can differ dramatically. This movie introduces a baby girl named Panijeo, and her mother in the village of Opuwo, located in the city Namibia, Africa. In this village where urban resources are nowhere to be found, mothers spend their days with their children making paint, jewelry and cooking. This village lives in huts made of sticks with mud roofs, and men ride donkeys as means of transportation. Panijeo is shown, living in her normal environment, playing with big stones and smashing a chalk-like substance into powder. This is just another way Panijeo is learning to imitate her mother, who also smashes a red chalk like substance to create red skin paint. In a life away from an urban environment, Panijeo is learning through playing, what she will be responsible for when she reaches a mature age.
Panijeo is breastfed, while she straddles her mother’s leg. Flys touch down onto the baby and her mother, while a wild puppy chews on Panijeo’s mother’s toes. This feeding is done while the mother sits on the dusty earth of the village, both Panijeo and mother only wear a “covering” over their lower private parts. In a place of the world where diapers, are a desired commodity, Panijeo has bowel movements onto her mother’s knees, her mother uses an old dried up corn to clean her knee of her daughter’s feces. As months pass by, Panijeo, head is shaved with an old looking, sharp knife. At times Panijeo has to share meal time with her brother, and while her brother gets his mother’s right breast, Panijeo hungrily drinks the milk out of the left breast. In this village, running water appears is nowhere to be found. Panijeo’s mother uses her mouth to lick and suck dirt and debris off of her face to bathe her daughter.
In Namibia, Africa, children are not accustomed to parks or playgrounds instead, children like Panijeo lay, crawl, eat dirt and mud. Although this culture is extremely nurturing, these infants are allowed to gain their independence by developing confidence through exploration. While Panijeo’s mother is doing her daily tasks, Panijeo is strapped and harnessed to her mother’s back. Panijeo’s mother is extremely interactive with her daughter, and even lets her daughter teeth on an old bone, which was found on the ground nearby. The children of this village do not have toy bought toys instead, Panijeo plays with her brothers and Flys inside her families hut. She learns what a pet is by a nearby domesticated dog that licks Panijeo’s face. In return Panijeo copies the dog and licks the dog’s mouth. Although she does not celebrate her birthday with a cake and gifts, she will sit around a large bucket of rice and eat it with the nearby children. As Panijeo learns small lessons in life by her mother, she is taught to carry and balance a small bowl on her head at the same time she learns how to walk. In the technologically deprived and lower class setting, this is how Panijeo will learn how to transport goods once she’s matured enough to assist her mother in daily chores. In slightly more fortune countries it is shown that some child development is somewhat altered by technology and financial class.
In Bayan, Mongolia, infant Bayar lives in a remote country setting. Bayar’s mother gives birth to him in a hospital much like todays. Days after Bayar is born, he is swaddled into a quilt-like blanket and wrapped twice with ribbon. His father arrives to pick up Bayar and his mother on an extended-seated motorcycle, along with his 3 year old brother. With the family mounted, they head for their village, which appears to be some great distance away. In this village only approximately 4 tent-huts are shown and surrounded by cattle and goats. Inside, the ground is layered with decretive rugs. On the ground is where Bayar’s brother will sleep, and the mother and baby will sleep on a wooden tier covered in rugs. Pacifiers do not exist, so the mother lets baby Bayar suck on a piece of, what appears to be animal fat, with a match stick stuck into the middle of it, to prevent the baby from swallowing it. Although clothes for the baby are considered custom, diapers are not. Bayar is shown urinating, pants-less, onto a pile of towels next to him. He is bathed inside of a bucket, located inside of the house. During feeding time, no bottle is present. Bayar’s mother sprays her milk onto his face and rubs it onto his skin to help him understand its feeding time. As for a pet, he has a cat, which has a string tied around its neck. A doctor drives in from town to do a heath and weight check on Bayan. Toys are scarce, so he is allowed to play and eat a roll of toilet paper, while he is tied to bedpost. Being left along so often, slows his development and seems to stand and walk at a slower pace than other infants showed in the program. It appears this family is in the upper-lower class of society, and Bayar shows the effects of this.
In Tokyo, Japan little Mari, is raised in an upper-middle class urban environment. Mother nurses Mari immediately. Mari is fed with a bottle by mother and father and is introduced to other babies early on, within the home environment. Both mother and father carry their daughter while they do their daily tasks. She sits in her car seat while shopping and will sit on her father’s lap while he works from home. Mari is taken to the zoo and crawls early on. She appears to have a wide understanding of her developmental toys and learns how to count very young in age. Since Mari is taught many things early in life it shows in her desire to be independent. She gets frustrated when she can’t put her own bib on at dinner time. Mari is exposed to playgroups, where she learns to interact and sing with other children. Both Mari’s social environment which is contributed by her parent’s higher-middle class lifestyle, has benefited Mari greatly, and shows in her easy transition into becoming a toddler. Living in an urban society can easily be compared to the urban upbringing of an infant in San Francisco, California
Hatti who comes from an upper higher financial class in San Francisco lives begins a life hooked up to hospital monitors and suffers from jaundice. With the help of urban technology, she is treated. She is exposed to a fast paced life, going shopping with mother and drinks from a bottle, wears diapers and is carried by her mother in an expensive baby carrier device. She is surrounded by her extended family and bathes with her parents. She attends doctor visits, is allowed to crawl on floor, and is cleaned of any cat hair she might have picked up from the floor. For recreation Hatti plays in a Jacuzzi with toys or sings in organized playgroups. Hatti’s mother is read to from a wide variety of children books and is taught how “not to hit people”. She is taught how to speak early on. If Hatti was not born into such a financially privileged urban life, she would have not learned the education she has.
Even though these different social classes show different modes of dress, or lack thereof, and teach their children non-verbal ways of speaking through behavior, it is okay to say that even though infants are raised in comparable societies, the overall outcome is not a completely unrecognizable. An interpretation of the child in Africa playing with rocks may appear primal to urban families yet this is a symbol of a parent teaching their children how to function as adults amongst their village. This interpretation can be generalized as a whole with our own society of the United States. From financial lower classes to the upper classes, it is fair to say that in the ways children are to be brought up, is to teach them the basic to intermediate fundamentals of being contributors to tomorrows society.
The analysis shown above clearly shows that, in fact, financial status amongst societies change the way a child can develop into an adult. Living in a rural environment ones proficiency, such as their literacy skill and how one socializes with one another can change by location. Living in an urban environment allows a child to grasp a wide range of education, lifestyle options and introduces them to using technology towards communication. Both social themes have similar and opposites traits, yet it is fair to say that we all begin as moldable creatures, formed by our societies for our society.…...

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