The emancipatory act of utilizing voice to challenge the deficit paradigm of teenage pregnancy:
Brown, Taryrn Tc
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Through an interdisciplinary lens, the purpose of this dissertation was to investigate the impact of stigmatizing discourses on Black teen-mothers’ sense of themselves and how they understand their mothering in the context of social discourses. The persistence of the idea that teen mothers are ruining their life chances along with those for their children are stigmatizing discourses, which ultimately frames the lives of teen mothers as a social problem. The significance of this work emerges through the use of intersectionality as a theoretical framework and a Black feminist epistemology to contribute to the field of Black girlhood studies. Through the use of semi-structured interviews and photo elicitation we gain understanding of the social knowledge that is assessed through honest dialogue, empathetic concern, and indications of a person’s honorable motives. This study explores the ways a small group of teenage mothers in the southern U.S. navigate the discourses of teenage childbearing and motherhood, how they reproduce or challenge these discourses, and how they work to resist the negative stereotyping and stigma they experience. This study seeks to challenge the broad societal perceptions of Black teenage mothers through engaging with participants’ over their ideas of who they are and how they experience motherhood and their educational experiences. Critical reflection was used to juxtapose their stories with possible stereotypes held about them. Access to a group’s wisdom is gained only after its members’ lived experiences have been validated on their own terms (Collins, 2000). The findings of this study are presented in a format that allows each mother to stand alone in narration of her own counter-story of teenage motherhood; beginning with Kiara (Chapter 4), and then introducing Nigerria (Chapter 5), Adrian (Chapter 6) and Anissa (Chapter 7). Chapter 8 provides a discussion and highlights themes that resonated through the analysis process across all of the narratives of this study. This dissertation is ideal for school administrators, teachers, policymakers, and all those who want to find ways to make schools more hospitable places for teen mothers; its strengths are in the lives and narrative experiences of teen mothers, specifically amongst Black adolescent girls.