“My Whole World”: Teen Moms Navigating Identity and Social Discourse Public

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/honors_college_theses/zw12z7215

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  • Social discourse presents teenage childbearing as a “serious problem” that results in significant harm and expense to teenage mothers, their children, and society. Although the discourse of teenage childbearing has been multiple, overlapping, and contested, it has resulted in negative stereotyping and stigmatization of teenage mothers. Much of these stereotypes are based on teenage mothers’ “failure” to perform adolescence and motherhood according to societal norms. I perform an exploratory rhetorical analysis on seventeen vlogs (video blog entries) of teen moms who describe their experiences of teenage motherhood. Result: The vloggers in my sample simultaneously (re)produce and (re)negotiate discourses of adolescence and motherhood in order to navigate their identities as teenage mothers in the context of the discourse of teenage childbearing. Additionally, they use Internet communication to share their narratives, together claiming the authority and strength to define their subjectivity and create a new discourse of teenage motherhood.
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