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"But the Emporer Has Nothing at All On!" Despotism and Children's Rights in Question

by Caius Brandao and Marcos Paulo de Melo Ramos
May/June 2009
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/but-the-emporer-has-nothing-at-all-on!-despotism-and-childrens-rights-in-question/5018757/

A long time ago, Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875), in his tale "The Emperor's New Clothes," told us that a child was the only one capable of announcing the absurdity of the vain Emperor's nudity. The emperor believed to be wearing a suit of magic clothes that was visible only to persons of intelligence. While the adults concealed themselves behind established norms and conventions in fear of being exposed, Andersen's child did not hesitate in making herself socially present through the annunciation of what seemed to her intriguing or funny perhaps. The Danish author puts the following words in the mouth of the transgressing child's father: "Listen to the voice of innocence!"

Despite the father's nave but intrepid suggestion in Andersen's tale, it seems to us that nowadays
children's opinions are not taken seriously by adults yet. This article seeks to raise some pending issues about the conception of childhood at our present time. The questions guiding our investigation are:

Why should adults listen to the voices of children? Many times, children are morally and legally seen as 'property' of their parents.
Can this idea of adults 'owning' children place the child's life and optimal development in ...

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