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Don’t tell me who I am : narratives of young women who are mothers Wener, Abby Ryann

Abstract

This exploratory feminist research project presents how ten young women who are mothers narrate their identities and their experiences, as well as articulate the differing ways each woman navigates through hegemonic discourses that seek to restrict and define her into a reductive and singular identity as a 'teen mom'. The purpose of this thesis is to come away from the limiting and pervasive labels and stigmas that are attached to young women who are mothers. The ten participants (four women of colour, one woman of Jewish ethnicity, and five women who described themselves as white) were recruited and the research was carried out at a Vancouver-based program, which provides predominately low-income women who are mothers educational upgrading and employment skills. I adopted the pastiche (Ely, Vinz, Downing, Anzul, 2001) method of narrative — a multi-genre approach where each of the women created visual, written, and oral narratives. Within the narratives the themes of body/ appearance, exclusion, and stigmatization arose. Woven throughout each of the chapters is an articulation of how each of the women in various and unique ways actively negotiated themselves and their experiences, revealing themselves to be complex, dynamic, and multi-faceted young women.

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