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in my view of the bullet ant story in the BBC programme Extreme Wonders?

(21 Posts)
WhoseBadgerIsThis Wed 05-Aug-15 21:43:16

I'm prepared to be told IABU, so don't hold back.

For those of you who've not seen it, it's about an Amazonian tribe initiation ceremony in which kids (age 9 in this case) get bitten, a lot, by bullet ants. Very painful, can kill apparently. Ceremony is presented by the programme alongside other extreme situations people live in, eg Sherpas in Nepal.

Basically, is it just me thinking the presentation of this ceremony should have been a heck of a lot less "oh, isn't this fascinating" and a heck of a lot more "hold on, this is child abuse". I'm thinking that it's this sort of attitude that has enabled stuff like FGM to go on so long.

So, do I write to the BBC to complain, or get a grip and be more tolerant of other cultures? Tell it to me straight (like I know you will smile )

FarFromAnyRoad Wed 05-Aug-15 21:45:22

I get what you're saying but writing to the BBC? What do you think that's going to achieve? It sure won't stop the practice! Do you think the programme shouldn't have been made?

singmelullabies Wed 05-Aug-15 21:48:09

I agree OP. Couldn't watch it. The word that came to mind for me was torture. Those poor kids.

Husbanddoestheironing Wed 05-Aug-15 21:49:08

Yes I winced at that one, they looked about the age of my eldest DS and all I can say is no way. Probably not appropriate to judge other cultures by our own though, and they did say it was because they would be hunting in the jungle and being exposed to them so needed the conditioning so they can cope. I guess you could argue too much unhealthy food + computer games would look like abuse to them?

IDoAllMyOwnStunts Wed 05-Aug-15 21:49:16

Unless I misunderstood I think the narrator said they had to do that to build immunity to the bites for when they were hunting as adults? No hunting, no food.

I know what you mean though OP. I felt uncomfortable with the whole thing whatever the justification.

FuzzyWizard Wed 05-Aug-15 21:51:46

If it actually builds immunity then I can see that it serves a purpose but it does sound horrific!

WhoseBadgerIsThis Wed 05-Aug-15 21:52:02

I guess that writing to the BBC would raise the issue with them that maybe they should have been thinking a bit more carefully about how they present stuff like this. I don't think the programme shouldn't have been made, but to present the issue with no discussion over whether it was acceptable or not seems to be a bit lax. Imagine if it was a programme presenting FGM as just something that happened and isn't it interesting. I think there would, these days be an outcry, and rightfully so

Doilooklikeatourist Wed 05-Aug-15 21:52:54

They're building up an immunity , so the ant stings don't kill them
It was difficult to watch , but I liked the way they were helped to move to disperse the pain at the end
It's not our way of life , it doesn't mean it's wrong

WhoseBadgerIsThis Wed 05-Aug-15 21:56:30

Good point on the building up of tolerance

BitOfFun Wed 05-Aug-15 21:57:48

I had to switch over for that section. Very upsetting.

Charley50 Wed 05-Aug-15 21:58:43

I saw it. I suppose it's short term pain for long term gain, just like our immunizations or getting fillings are. I wouldn't compare it to FGM in any way.

WhoseBadgerIsThis Wed 05-Aug-15 22:00:18

Ok, looks like IABU. Thanks everyone - BBC saved from getting a letter on this one!

singmelullabies Wed 05-Aug-15 22:00:32

Yes, I hadn't realised that was the purpose of it. DH was watching it and I happened to walk in at that moment. I had thought it was more of a rite of passage ceremony, which just seemed unnecessarily cruel. Still hard to see that poor little lad in such agony though.

lisbapalea Wed 05-Aug-15 22:02:16

We had a similar discussion but then realised there is so much about our culture that they would think is wrong that it's very hard to judge - we don't stay together as multi-generational families / communities and in their opinion maybe we 'abuse' our elders by putting them into care homes, etc...

I don't think it's on a par with fgm as it isn't permanent, but I do agree that in our eyes it looked barbaric.

EddieStobbart Wed 05-Aug-15 22:03:53

I had exactly this rant to DH and said I didn't feel right watching it (though I still did). Even if there is a reason, sitting on my sofa watching a child the same age as my DD being tortured while their whole community watched and some ransoms filmed as I slurped my tea seems really wrong.

EddieStobbart Wed 05-Aug-15 22:05:25

What happens if they are unwilling to do it? Do they have any choice?

Samcro Wed 05-Aug-15 22:06:53

it was horrid, but I am not going to judge them, when i think of the stuff that is done to children all the time in this country

bolleauxnouveau Wed 05-Aug-15 22:10:30

ha - was just saying to dp that we would call that child abuse.

On the other hand those boys live in a really tough environment and they need to be tough to survive. Did they mention what the infant mortality rate was?

We do our children no favours by mollycoddling them but every instinct makes me want to spare them any pain and make their lives easier. It was excruciating to watch, ds1 is the same age.

MedusaIsHavingaBadHairday Wed 05-Aug-15 22:11:53

I thought it was awful to watch... but pefectly logical in their jungle.. like being given a nasty vaccination ..horrid but prevents a worse nasty happening. They weren't doing it to harm them, or even as a rite of passage, but to ensure they woul be ok when hunting as adults.

I imagine they accept it even if unwilling because other wise they would basically unable to hunt and thereby be providers.

Other than the brief pain, I thought their lives looked a lot more enjoyable than our westernised kids!

Skeppers Wed 05-Aug-15 22:17:29

I don't know, I thought it was kind of cool! confused And the info about how certain types of ant bites may be able to prevent cancer and how the tribe live into their 80s was fascinating! Very different way of life, culture, relationship with nature, etc. I don't think it's fair to judge by our standards. Would they see it as abusing the children, or protecting them (as in building up immunisation)?

The young lad who'd done it before didn't hesitate to do it again. I'm going to use those kids as my spirit animals when I go into labour; I can see myself now, dosed up on gas and air, shrieking 'ant gloves!' at the midwife...

WhoseBadgerIsThis Wed 05-Aug-15 22:26:46

Ok, the image of yelling "ant gloves!" at the midwife made me laugh! You know you'll now have to come back on here and report that you did just that! smile

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